Sunday, May 1, 2011

Mixing it up - King Arthur Flour Biscotti

I'm a big fan of King Arthur Flour's online catalog. There are always new gadget and pans, and a huge selection of flours and add-in for all kinds of baking.

Besides products, though, the service is really good. The few times I've had questions or problems, they've handled it promptly, and with a smile. It's a great company to work with.

Needless to say, I'm on the mailing list for their paper catalogs, and I'm on the email list as well. I'm on a LOT of food-related email lists, but many of them are useless.

The King Arthur Flour email list, though, is constantly offering specials. Sometimes it's free shipping and sometimes it's free products with a purchase.

Sometimes I'll wait for a good special to come around when I order, and sometimes I take advantage of whatever is being offered.

Not too long ago, the free item with a purchase was Chocolate Chocolate Chip Biscotti Mix.

Needless to say, I've got plenty of biscotti recipes, so I don't really need a mix. Which is why I didn't get around to making this until now.

It was a chilly day, I wanted to put something sweet into the oven, but I had a dozen other things to do. I figured it was time for me to pull out the mix and give it a try.

Like many King Arthur Flour mixes, this one didn't have high altitude instruction on the box. I know they're starting to put high altitude instruction online, but I was halfway through the process before I thought about it, so I made the recipe with the standard instructions.

This mix requires two eggs, three tablespoons of vegetable oil, and one tablespoon of water, so not only was it simple, but the ingredient list was minimal. The instructions were clear as well.

It all went pretty well, except that even after I baked the biscotti log longer than the instructions required, it was a little soft inside. The instructions said that it would still have some give when pressed, but mine was a little less done than it should have been at that point.

No big deal, because the cookies get baked again after the log is sliced, so I added a little extra time at that step. But because the log was soft and moist, it didn't cut as smoothly as normal, so the slices were a little ragged.

Otherwise, though, they were a success. Since these were just for us to eat, the presentation wasn't a big deal. And I'm sure they'd be perfect at lower altitude.

Taste-wise, they're not overly sweet which is great, and they have good chocolate flavor. They're a very dark brown, much darker than the photo on the box, which looked more like latte than chocolate.

The darkness is probably because of the black cocoa, which isn't something you'll find in most baking mixes. There were tiny chocolate chips as well, but they're not very noticeable in the finished cookies.

For a box mix, these were pretty good. I'd make them again if I had them on hand.


KAF Customer Service said...

Thank you for giving our products a try, Donna. Our Traveling Baking Demos were just in Colorado and talking about high altitude baking! Located in Vermont, we do not have much experience with this! There was some testing going on while in CO with our mixes. Susan Reid did not test any of our biscotti mixes but did test 8 others. The results will be rolled out in the near future so our high altitude customers can begin enjoy our mixes. Swapping out all the large eggs or at least some of them for extra large eggs was a common theme in her testing. Increasing the liquid by 1-2 T. or as much as 4 T. was needed the higher you are. Adding flour and sometimes more cocoa reducing bake times are also variables. We have a great Table on our site for Adjustments for High Altitude Baking (not for our mixes, just general baking). Check it out if you have not already!

Enjoy! Elisabeth

Anonymous said...

You've got it right, Donna. The KAF products are great, for sure, but their secret weapon is their people. Got a question, talk to a baker who has been there and done it! More serious? they will often investigate and experiment in their own test kitchens (or homes) to find the answers. Wile buying flour by mail is not always a great idea, they are **very helpful** in finding regional distributors and retailers. Yup, some flours can be difficult to find in teh West. That said, they ARE available. The KAF Baker's catalog is fun and often has some great ideas. They may be a bit over priced in some areas, but they can *usually* ship the goods on demand. Did I mention that they are *Very Nice People?* The folks who run their Baker's Hotline truly LOVE what they do. Spme of them had to try 3 or 4 times, before t he g ot a part time gig. Good post and KAF is worthy of our attention. -C.

Anonymous said...

FYI: No matter what hat I wear when posting a comment, I have to hit "Post Comment" through Three cycles before I get a positive response. Just FYI. -C.

Petronela said...

They seem irresistible. Congratulations, you have a lot of inspiration :)

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