Wasabi Soy Almond Biscotti

So with fall here, the kids and I took out our “Things we are going to do this summer” lists (aka – bucket lists) to see if we accomplished everything we had set out to do on that cold winter day when we wrote them.

zola summer

We were able to accomplish every on our daughter’s list and more. Notice the last one….make biscotti. I love her! Our son however had grander visions and we were not able to knock everything off his list. For example, go surfing in Hawaii and stand on the Great Wall of China, were two we didn’t quite get to this summer and we’ll have to save for another time.

So I figured it was time to tackle a biscotti recipe that had been on my list and I planned to try long ago, but never quite got around to it. In fact I had planned to do it so long ago that the ingredients I bought were actually expired, but I made them anyway. Pleeeeaase, I know you’ve all eaten expired food at some point. Yet the expiration dates weren’t what freaked my family out…it was the actual ingredients.

I was told, “don’t do it!” I was advised against it in the strongest of language. I was told I was crazy. But I went against my better judgment and gave it a try…Wasabi Soy Almond Biscotti. Now I know what you are thinking…and you are right. They weren’t fabulous…or even close to fabulous for that matter.

After a few blind taste tests, because no one would really try them if I told them what was in it, I got some colorful feedback. So, I am not including the recipe here, but keeping it my list of ones to tweek. I am not giving up!

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Manchego Biscotti

manchego 5

I’ve often said I could live on bread and cheese alone. Cheese plates, pizza, grilled cheese sandwiches, and french onion soup would top my list.

This summer a friend brought us a chunk of manchego cheese. We feel in love with it. Manchego cheese is from Spain and has a uniquely colored and patterned rind.

manchego 1

While in Philadelphia this summer, we visited DiBruno’s House of Cheese in the Italian market on 9th street. The Cheesemonger was incredibly generous and let the kids and I try a variety of cheeses, some the kids enjoyed and others they did not. When he asked what we liked and I mentioned the kid’s affection for what we call in our house, “the flat white cheese” (aka, provolone), he offered up a sample. When the kids made that face that let me know they don’t like what they’ve just eaten and are looking for my approval to spit it out, I quickly nodded my head no. We obviously aren’t buying the good stuff. We left with some homemade pepperoni (which is the best I’ve ever had, seriously), a copy of Di Bruno Bros. House of Cheese: A Guide to Wedges, Recipes, and Pairings (I’ve decided I need to learn more, which of course leads to more tastings), and a chunk of manchego.

We’ve actually bought manchego about half a dozen times, with the intent of trying it in biscotti. But we’ve eaten it every time and it never lasted long enough for us to experiment. In fact, that little chunk of goodness our friend brought this summer prompted me to add a food related item to my bucket list: buy an entire wheel of cheese! You know, the big kind that you usually see on display that you have to tap to see if it is for real or fake? Call me crazy. 

We sliced these biscotti super thin and baked them longer, so they resembled crackers or crisps. The savory manchego cheese and just a hint of sweetness are perfect for dunking in your favorite dip, topping with chicken salad, or using as croutons in soup.

We also used them to make a brushetta appetizer. We layered Manchego Biscotti with roasted garlic, which we smeared across the top before added a few slices of carmelized onion. We then added some oven roasted tomato and drizzled it with rosemary infused olive oil. We topped it all with a slice of manchego cheese and popped it under the broiler for 5-7 minutes. Goodness all around!

manchego app

Photo credit: Most photos taken for this blog entry were styled, photographed, and edited by our daughter.

Manchego Biscotti

YIELD: approximately two dozen

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup finely grated manchego cheese, plus 1/2 cup for the top of the logs

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoons double-acting baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 egg and 2 egg whites (keep the yolks to brush over the top of the logs)

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1.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and place the rack in the middle of the oven.

2.  In a large flat-bottomed bowl, mix the flour and manchego cheese by hand to coat the cheese and keep it from sticking together.  Whisk in the sugar, baking powder, and salt.

3.  In a smaller bowl, whisk together the eggs and egg whites.

4.  With a rubber spatula, stir the egg mixture into the flour mixture until the dough just starts to come together.  Dust your hands with flour and knead the dough in the bowl until all the ingredients are incorporated and the dough is tacky.

5.  Separate the dough in half.  Form three logs, approximately 3 inches wide and 1 inch high on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Leave several inches between the logs, the dough will spread as it bakes.

6. Whisk the two egg yolks and brush liberally over the top of each log. Sprinkle with additional grated manchego cheese.

7.  Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 35 minutes, or until the tops begin to crack or split.  Transfer logs to a wire cooling rack to cool completely.

8.  Transfer biscotti logs to a cutting board.  Slice the biscotti on a diagonal and place cut side down on the same parchment lined baking sheet.  Bake for an additional 30 minutes, turning the biscotti once halfway through. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.

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What to do with the ends #86: Feed them to your camel, if you’ve got one.

 

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Apple Crisp Biscotti

Apple Crisp Biscotti 6

The fall is by far our favorite time of year. Jeans and sweatshirts, football, and of course apples.

This year we AGAIN missed the honeycrisp apples at the farm. But we did get there in time to pick over 20 pounds of gala apples, which are super sweet and apparently the second most popular apple in the US behind red delicious.

So what’s a family to do with all those apples? Apple crisp is always a favorite in our house, since I don’t do pies. Our all-time favorite crisp is actually the Apple Pear Crisp in the Scotto Sunday Suppers and Other Fabulous Feasts: Creative Entertaining for Every Occasion.

Apple butter is also always on the top of our list. We fill the crock pit to the stop with peeled and roughly chopped apples and then coat them with a mixture of brown sugar, granulated sugar, cinnamon, freshly grated nutmeg, and ground cloves. We let it cook on low for about 8 hours before we take the emulsion blender to it. At that point we leave the lid off and turn it to high for about 2 hours, stirring it occasionally. When it reaches a thick consistency and sticks to the back of a spoon, we turn the crock pot off and let it cool completely before storing it. We use apple butter on pancakes and spoon a dollop into yogurt with some granola.

Every year I tell myself I need to figure out what to do with all the apple peels and every year I simply toss them. (I can hear your collective gasp!) So this year I was determined not to waste them. I shredded some in the food processor and stored them in the freezer to use in muffins. I decided to make apple chips with the rest.

And with so many apple chips, it seemed only logical that we should try some in biscotti! These Apple Crisp Biscotti have everything we love in our fruit crisps, minus the stick of butter.

Apple Chips

apple peels from about 25 apples

½ cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

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1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees and line a pan with parchment paper.

2. Mix sugar and cinnamon together in a medium bowl. Add the apple peels and toss well.

3. Spread a single layer onto the parchment lined pan and bake for 2 ½ hours, stirring occasionally.

4. Let cool completely before storing.

Apple Crisp Biscotti

YIELD: approximately two dozen

2 ½ cups all-purpose flour

1 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon double-acting baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 ½ tablespoons cinnamon

1 egg and 3 egg whites (keep the yolks to brush on the logs)

1 tablespoon almond extract

½ cup apple chips, crushed

1/4 cup brown sugar

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1.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and place the rack in the middle of the oven.

2.  In a large flat-bottomed bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon.

3.  In a smaller bowl, whisk together the eggs, egg whites, and almond extract.

4.  With a rubber spatula, stir the egg mixture into the flour mixture until the dough just starts to come together.  Dust your hands with flour and knead the dough in the bowl until all the ingredients are incorporated and the dough is tacky.

5.  Add the crushed apple chips. Knead the dough until incorporated, about 10 – 20 times.

6.  Separate the dough in half.  Form two logs, approximately 3 inches wide and 1 inch high on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Leave several inches between the logs, the dough will spread as it bakes.

7. Whisk the remaining three egg yolks and liberally brush the top of each log. Press brown sugar onto the top of the logs.

8.  Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 30 minutes, or until the tops begin to crack or split.  Transfer logs to a wire cooling rack to cool completely.

9.  Transfer biscotti logs to a cutting board.  Slice the biscotti on a diagonal and place cut side down on the same parchment lined baking sheet.  Bake for an additional 20 minutes, turning the biscotti once halfway through. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.

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What to do with the ends #85: Use the ends to scrap the thick, gooey, sticky, almost crusty, apple butter from the sides of the crock pot when you make your next batch of apple butter.

 

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Rosemary Raisin Biscotti

rosemary raisin 4

We own very few pieces of furniture that can’t be turned into a fort in a matter of minutes with the help of a few sheets, blankets, and pillows.

Bedroom furniture finds its way into the sunroom to create a secret reading nook where no one will surely look. Dining room chairs are in the living room, where if you prop the extra pillows up just right, you can create the perfect fort for a game of UNO. The ottoman becomes a boat when you add a sail wrapped around two chairs and connect it with the bench from the foyer, which becomes the gangplank for pirates who willingly plunge themselves into the dark sea below. Two kitchen chairs and a fitted sheet are just what you need to set up an animal hospital for the doctors that perform tail straightening procedures on monkeys, save the limbs of dogs with broken bones, and conduct the risky removal of animal appendixes.

While forts are cool, they require plenty of additional supplies to make them functional. I’ve been told flashlights, books, stuffed animals, rulers, hair brushes, toilet paper, band aids (which don’t always come off stuffed animal fur!), and snacks are required to really trick out a fort.

Our ability to create specialized and massive forts may only be surpassed by our ability to find a way to sneak raisins into anything we can. We use raisins in muesli, zucchini bread, granola, muffins, salads, tagine, couscous, and plenty of other dishes. My father-in-law even puts raisins in his stuffed spinach pizza, something his mother used to do for him when he was a kid.

We’ve recently noticed quite a few products that combine rosemary and raisin and thought we would give Rosemary Raisin Biscotti a try. Trader Joe’s sells Rosemary and Raisin Crisps, which are perfect for dipping in chicken salad or topping with goat cheese. Leslie Stowe also sells a rosemary and raisin crisp that incorporates pecans. I’ve also come across recipes for Rosemary Raisin Almond Bread and Pan di Ramerino that I am looking forward to making.

My husband believes these Rosemary Raisin Biscotti may be the best bisoctti we’ve ever made…and he’s tried his fair share. We use less egg and more egg whites in this recipe which makes a crunchy, yet cookie-like texture, perfect to eat by themselves or with a mug of your favorite tea.

Rosemary Raisin Biscotti

YIELD: approximately two dozen

2 ½ cups all-purpose flour

1 cup granulated sugar, plus more for topping

2 teaspoons double-acting baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons dried rosemary (cut and sifted)

1 egg and 3 egg whites (save the yolks for the egg wash)

1 cup raisins

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1.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and place the rack in the middle of the oven.

2.  In a large flat bottomed bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and rosemary.

3.  In a smaller bowl, whisk together the eggs and egg whites.

4.  With a rubber spatula, stir the egg mixture into the flour mixture until the dough just starts to come together.  Dust your hands with flour and knead the dough in the bowl until all the ingredients are incorporated and the dough is tacky.

5.  Add the raisins. Knead the dough until incorporated, about 10 – 20 times.

6.  Separate the dough in half.  Form two logs, approximately 3 inches wide and 1 inch high on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Leave several inches between the logs, the dough will spread as it bakes.

7. Whisks together the three remaining egg yolks and brush the tops of each log. Sprinkle liberally with sugar.

8.  Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 30 minutes, or until the tops begin to crack or split.  Transfer logs to a wire cooling rack to cool completely.

9.  Transfer biscotti logs to a cutting board.  Slice the biscotti on a diagonal and place cut side down on the same parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for an additional 20 minutes, turning the biscotti once halfway through. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.

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What to do with the ends #84: Hang the ends by strings from the ceiling of your next fort and practice eating them without your hands.

 

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Nutty Bitters Biscotti

Bitters 3

Cravings: eager desire or yearning.

We all have them, food addictions or cravings.

Some cravings are constant. For example, I can’t see tiramisu without my mouth-watering and I can think of nothing else until I have some. So why torment myself? And I crave my coffee in the morning. Without it, I’m useless.

Some cravings come and go. Like a favorite dish at a restaurant or ice cream during the warm summer months. Maybe it’s some weird food during a pregnancy or perhaps it’s the undeniable urge for salty snacks.

Maybe it’s not what you eat but when you eat. Maybe late-night food cravings drive you to pillage through the cupboards while everyone else is asleep.

Right now we are addicted to Spiced Bitter Bar Nuts, from Bitters: A Spirited History of a Classic Cure-all.

These nuts are amazing, best served warm, and the entire four cups never last more than two days in our house. I fear we may all actually turn into nuts at the rate we are shoveling these into our mouths, just like Burger Boy who will only eat burgers, eventually turns into a burger, and is chased all over town by people who want to eat him. I wonder who would want to eat us if we turned into nuts? We have plenty of squirrels in the backyard…I think that is a children’s book just waiting to be written.

While these nuts taste good on their own, we thought they might taste just as good in biscotti spiced with some additional Bitters and rosemary. We were right!

Spiced Bitter Bar Nuts

4 cups unsalted and raw nuts, pistachios, pecans, almonds, and walnuts

1/4 cup light brown sugar

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh rosemary (We used dried rosemary, cut and sifted.)

1 teaspoons cayenne pepper (We used only half this amount to keep it tolerable for the kids.)

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 tablespoon honey

1 tablespoon Angostura bitters

1 tablespoon coarse sea salt

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1. Preheat the oven to 350.

2. Spread the nuts out on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for 10 minutes (shake the nuts around on the pan halfway through.)

3. Combine the brown sugar, butter, rosemary, cayenne, cinnamon, honey and bitters in a large bowl.

4. Add the nuts to the bowl and mix thoroughly so they’re nicely coated.

5. Add the salt and mix again.

Bitters collage 2

Nutty Bitters Biscotti

YIELD: approximately two dozen

2 ½ cups all-purpose flour

1/4 cup finely ground cornmeal

1 cup granulated sugar

1  ½ teaspoons double-acting baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 ½ tablespoons dried rosemary, cut and sifted

2 eggs and 2 egg whites

1 tablespoon Bitters

1 teaspoon Spiced Bitter Bar Nuts

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1.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and place the rack in the middle of the oven.

2.  In a large flat-bottomed bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, salt, and rosemary.

3.  In a smaller bowl, whisk together the eggs, egg whites, and Bitters.

4.  With a rubber spatula, stir the egg mixture into the flour mixture until the dough just starts to come together.  Dust your hands with flour and knead the dough in the bowl until all the ingredients are incorporated and the dough is tacky.

5.  Add the Spiced Bitter Bar Nuts. Knead the dough until incorporated, about 10 – 20 times.

6.  Separate the dough in half.  Form two logs, approximately 3 inches wide and 1 inch high on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Leave several inches between the logs, the dough will spread as it bakes.

7.  Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 30 minutes, or until the tops begin to crack or split.  Transfer logs to a wire cooling rack to cool completely.

8.  Transfer biscotti logs to a cutting board.  Slice the biscotti on a diagonal and place cut side down on the same parchment lined baking sheet.  Bake for an additional 20 minutes, turning the biscotti once halfway through. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.

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What to do with the ends # 83: Keep them in a bag, close at hand, and hide them to satisfy your next craving!

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