In which biscotti photography eludes me

Over the weekend I tackled a new type of recipe for me: biscotti. I usually make drop cookies or cakes, and thought biscotti were interesting but too dainty for my kitchen. For I admit it – I am a messy baker, one that trashes kitchen space with abandon until I’m finished working. I will avoid cleaning until the last minute with the excitement of a three year old being told they must eat their spinach. So, they weren’t on my to-do list.

I decided to try biscotti at last, in all honesty, out of being stuck on what to write about for the blog. I wanted to make cookies, but we were out of lemons and cream cheese, and I wasn’t in the mood to make any of the old standards or things that required only egg whites or yolks. So, I found a recipe for chocolate biscotti from Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy by the awesome Alice Medrich and went to work.

And they were glorious.

The dough was easy to work with, more milk chocolate mousse than cookie dough. I had trouble forming it into a proper log shape, as I had forgotten to moisten my fingers first, but the loaf sliced neatly after the first baking. I snuck a nibble off the edges, and they tasted great. (The guys far preferred the biscotti at this point.) After the second baking, they were crispy, cocoa-infused treats, even with my manhandling. I was so excited to photograph them! But… they didn’t want to photograph. At all.

And it was awful. Out of 100+ shots, maybe three were okay. I could practically hear Matt Armendariz gently laughing at me from the sidelines. (Matt seems way too nice to actually poke fun at my failures, but my demons decided on his visage for the day.)

To be fair, it was nearly 5 p.m. when I started taking pictures and the light in my apartment is awful. And my flash is worse. (Yes, I need to invest in a better flash, but that has to wait for another day.)

Looking over the shots, the main issue is the biscotti themselves – they’re brown. And dull-colored, with nothing in them besides cocoa. So, there’s simply no contrast. I lack a macro lens, so getting a decent texture shot without flash wasn’t going to happen. Maybe if I make them again I can plan ahead and make them along with vanilla biscotti, if only to create some form of contrast. But I rarely plan out my baking to that level, so I doubt it.

The moral is that I absolutely intend to make these again, and I’ll probably even try photographing them again. I just hope my pictures don’t deter you from trying this recipe out, because they are definitely tasty little cookies.

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