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Saturday, December 08, 2007

Product Review-Nonni's Gingerbread Biscotti

My kids and I absolutely love it with coffee, cocoa or tea...we love having a cookie that is made specifically dipping. We are however fussy...we want a cookie that can be dipped for a 1second count and come up nice and soft.

We have found some that need to be dipped as long as 5 seconds-that's an eternity in the cookie world-and we've even found some that in less than a second it is falling apart in your cup and leaving sludge in the bottom...yuk!

Now you have to understand that any cookie you dip into a liquid will leave some sort of residue, its just the nature of the beast...what I'm talking about here is having a glop of it fall off the cookie...or even worse, have the cookie break in half and you pull up the stub of the cookie...that is just sad.

If you don't know about biscotti now is a great time to go over a primer....just a quick over-view. First the cookie is made into a large loaf and cooked just long enough to firm it up; the loaf is then removed from the heat, allowed to cool slightly then cut again (generally at an angle) in slices like a loaf of bread; these slices are then place upon a cookie sheet and the cookies are cooked again at a low enough heat not so much to cook them as to dry them out. Once cooled the cookies should be firm but dry...nothing you would eat on its own...the cookies are made for dipping...literally.

Okay that said....

Nonni's Biscotti, Gingerbread Macadamia flavored cookies.
Found them at Sam's Club, $9.95/26 cookies (not cheap, but they are only out for a limited time), they come in a plastic container with a screw top lid.

Nutritional Info:
Serving Size: 1 cookie
Calories: 170//40 calories from Fat
total fat 4.5 gr....0 trans fat, 2.5gr saturated fat
14g of sugar
Protien 2gr
Calcium 2%
Iron 4%
(see its healthy!)

Okay single word: YUM

These are delicious! They are a light orangy tan color and look like they would taste more like pumpkin bread than gingerbread (which I always associate with a deep brown color); they have a fair amount of macadamia mixed within the cookie, though none on top; the bottom edge of the cookie is graced with a nice coating of white ganache-type frosting...its not gooey like regular frosting but not too firm like chocolate...although I wish it had been a little thicker, you can see the bottom of the cookie peeking thru but that's getting a tad too knit-picky.

Each cookie comes individually wrapped...very nice for putting into a lunch or keep the frosting from gooping up the others if they get warm in the summer...I find having them wrapped is really helpful with kids--they always have to look at each one to find the one that looks the most delicious to them. Also, being wrapped you don't have to worry about that stray cough or sneeze contaminating them all.

Each cookie is very uniform in size, as one would expect from mass produced items, each measuring 7" long and about 1" high and about 3/4" thick.

I would have enjoyed a bit more snap to the gingerbread, perhaps the addition of a bit of white pepper would have helped or maybe a tad more clove. The frosting was almost too sweet for the cookie itself and tended to over power and hide the taste at the ends where the cookies isn't quite as thick. Towards the center of the cookie once it reaches the uniformed thickness the frosting isn't quite so overpowering and the cookie taste starts to shine.

I did the one second dip test: dip the cookie in the warm liquid, count (one thousand-one) and take out the cookie, hold the cookie point side down over the cup to allow extra drippings to leave on their own for five seconds (no shaking or tapping allowed), then move the cookie into a horizontal position for 2 seconds before consuming.

This cookie did very well, although it dripped a little more liquid than I would have hoped. It soaked in just enough liquid to soften the cookie without becoming too fact it was easy to find the drink-line on the cookie (biscotti are made for double dipping, triple and quad dipping even!). The cookie still has that cookie feel in the mouth without getting doughy or bready from the liquid...also as you hold it there is actually very little absborbage within the cookie above the dipline. If you have ever dipped a cookie and had the inside get soggy outside of the dipline you will know what I mean-its kind of like biting into a bruised orange-but that is not an issue here.

Overall taste: 8 out of 10
dipping ability: 9 out of 10
value: 4 out of 10 (if it hadn't been for the holiday season I would never have paid so much)
chances I will buy again: 6 out of 10...mostly due to price and seasonality of the product.

Biscotti Etiquette

Okay I should say that I have seen several faux pas when people eat biscotti. So here is a little etiquette lesson.

It is okay to re-dip a biscotti after you take a bite...however if you are at a formal occasion, or one where you are in public you may wish to avoid this by breaking your biscotti into more managable bite sized pieces before you begin to dip.

Do not dip your fingers in your drink while dipping your cookie....and for goodness sake, if your liquid is low in your cup and you can't easily get to it with your cookie do not, repeat do NOT put your fist in your cup trying to get that last little bit. Don't tip your cup to reach the liquid either, that is just as bad. Small cookie or cookie piece, small cup....don't try to dip a small cookie in a large travel sized mug....that's too much like a Chihuahua going after a German just doesn't fit. And it isn't pretty!

Do not hold a cookie in one hand and drink out of your cup with the other....put the damn cookie down...if you are on the road and don't have a plate to put your cookie on---what the hell are you doing dipping a cookie while driving? WATCH THE ROAD!!!!

One dunk per cookie or cookie part at a time; don't plunge your cookie. I can not tell you how many times I have seen people pop their cookie up & down in their cup like it was a fishing bobber. reason to make waves and it will not make the liquid soak in faster.

Let the cookie drain. Don't shake your cookie, you will get a plop; don't try to hurry the cookie up to your mouth before the liquid drips off--you won't make it. It is best just to let the cookie hang over the top of the cup for a few seconds while you casually continue your conversation. Don't worry that the liquid will cool is so concentrated in there - it would probably burn your mouth if you pop it in right away anyways.

Don't hold the cookie high above the cup. When holding the cookie to drain you should hold it just barely above the drink level yet high enough so that your fingers are above the lip of the cup. This way if the cookie does plop there isn't quite the mess to it; the more distance between the cookie and the liquid level the larger the splash area.

Always take a drink from your cup before you begin to dip. This will reduce the surface tension of the liquid and lower the level in the cup so that you are less likely to spill over the edge--unless you are a clutz.

Practice at home before you go into public. Watching a newbie try to eat an item is painful and eating etiquette just is not taught any more. Save yourself embarrassment--because, yes, someone is looking...and it might be ME!

I'm so evil. LOL.

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