I had a nibble of a maple donut at work the other day which made me think, maple is probably the most underrated of the fall flavors. It’s a flavor I’ve really grown to appreciate the past few years. This time of year people will not stop talking about pumpkin spice this and that, but maple is a classic flavor. My favorite pumpkin pie to bake is a maple pumpkin pie. I love maple yogurt, which I eat all year round. I really do enjoy the pumpkin stuff, but maple is pretty awesome, too.
Amish friendship bread and starters have been making the rounds at work. The regular friendship bread is good, but I wanted to see what else you could do with a starter. I did some investigative googling and came across the Friendship Bread Kitchen. Looking to satisfy my craving for all things maple, I found the recipe for maple pecan biscotti on the site. When I was ready to bake it, the Friendship Bread Kitchen website happened to be down for a while and I found the blog of the person who had submitted the recipe, Blogger, Extraordinaire, and used that mainly as my reference.
Of course I had to put my own spin on the recipe, so I decided to add dried cranberries. I was worried they wouldn’t complement the flavors of the biscotti, but they really do. I originally made one loaf with cranberries and one loaf without them to test the flavor, but it was so good I say add ’em to both loaves. The loaf without cranberries yielded a beautifully shaped and just absurdly photogenic biscotti. I didn’t add the cranberries to the other loaf at the right step, so those biscotti looked a little lumpy, but I believe they were the best tasting ones.
It’s amazing what you can do with the baggie of friendship bread starter. The biscotti were out of this world- they were seriously like nothing I’ve ever tasted before. I will never be tempted to grab a biscotti from Starbucks again. I brought them to work and they were a hit- some people even asked for the recipe. For many recipes, I don’t measure everything, I do a lot of eyeballing and modification of the original recipe and this was one of those instances. While “go with your gut” isn’t the best advice when sharing a recipe, I tried to be as specific as I could here since sometimes my directions aren’t always so clear.
Though the biscotti was one of the most labor intensive baked goods I’ve ever made, they are worth the effort. If you happen to find yourself with a starter in hand, or want to start your own friendship bread
chain circle, I highly recommend you make these biscotti. They’re such a delicious treat, perfect for the fall, or anytime really.
- 1 cup Amish Friendship Starter (I used the day 10 mixture)
- ½ cup butter, melted
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup maple syrup (I used Grade A)
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon imitation maple flavor or maple extract (I used the imitation stuff)
- 3 cups of flour + 1 to 1½ cup flour for kneading
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- dash of salt
- 2 cups pecans, coarsely chopped and toasted
- 1 cup dried cranberries
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick spray. In a large bowl using a hand or stand mixer, cream the friendship bread starter, sugar, syrup, and melted butter. Add the egg and extracts, then mix. In a separate bowl, whisk together the 3 cups of flour, baking powder, and and salt. Carefully add about ¼ of the flour mixture to the starter batter and mix. Alternate these actions until all flour mix has been added. Then, stir in ¾ cup of the pecans and the dried cranberries.
Divide the dough in half, forming two balls of dough. I found that the dough was still pretty sticky so knead in a few tablespoons of flour at a time (though no more than about 1 to 1 ½ cups) until the dough is smooth enough to be shaped. On the prepared baking sheet, roll each ball into loaves that are the shaped like logs, about 10-12 inches long. Gently press down onto them until they are about 3 inches wide. Bake the biscotti loaves for 20-25 minutes. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and let cool for 10 to 15 minutes. Slice approximately ½” pieces. Then bake the slices with the cut side down for 15-20 minutes, until slightly golden and crisp. Allow to cool completely.
Maple Glaze with Toasted Pecans
- 2-3 tablespoon reduced fat cream cheese (room temperature)
- 1 ½ tablespoon melted butter
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
- 1 teaspoon imitation maple flavor or maple extract
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1 to 1 ½ cup of confectioners sugar
- 1 tablespoon of milk
Whisk together all ingredients except the confectioners sugar. Then add confectioners sugar, a tablespoon at a time, until it is the desired consistency. Drizzle on cooled biscotti and top with remaining toasted pecans.
P.S.: For a less rich glaze, you can omit the cream cheese and reduce the amount of butter to ½ tablespoon.