Chocolate Nerd Biscotti

Nerd 4 

For those of you with kids, I am sure you are wondering what to do with all that leftover Halloween candy…unless you are one of those parents who let them eat as much as they want knowing it will only make them  sick. It’s not a bad plan and I’m not judging! Ultimately you are hoping that it will teach them a lesson. Yet, I’ve seen the “eat as much as you want” plan backfire on more than one parent. However, I’ve discovered as a parent, you are either a “rationer”, who saves the candies for school lunches, road trips, or even party favors, doling out only a little at time, or you are a “hands-off and all in” parent, who lets them go at it.

Put simply, we are the rationers. In our house we currently have enough candy to put a 700 pound man into a coma. In fact, I once had a friend, who was benignly looking for a glass in our kitchen when he come across our stash and described it as the “Willy Wonka cupboard.” In fact I think there is still candy in there from last Halloween. We’ve got to clean it out. So I started thinking about what to do with all the candy we are storing in the cupboard like a squirrel hoarding nuts for the winter.

We do have a tradition on Thanksgiving morning in our house. We watch the Macy’s Day Parade and in an attempt to give the kids the full experience, we hand them paper bags with their names on them and occasionally throw candy to them on the living room floor. They love it. But this year was the first year our daughter asked, “Where are you getting all this candy?” We are going to have to give that some careful thought for next year.

You can use extra Halloween candy to decorate gingerbread houses, make edible necklaces, stuff stockings, or even…you knew it was coming…bake in biscotti!

So this year, as every year, our kids discover a new candy around Halloween. This year our daughter fell in love with Nerds. You remember those little hard candies that resemble pebbles and come in a variety of colors and flavors. So when I asked if she would like to experiment and make biscotti with some of her Halloween candy, Nerds was her pick.

As we were almost ready to make the logs, she threw me a curve ball. In addition to the Nerds she insisted on melted chocolate, which is something we have topped biscotti with, but never put into the batter. We found a full-size Hershey’s Dark Chocolate bar in our s’more stash and melted it down. As we kneaded it into the dough, it left a marbled effect that was wonderful and delicious.

Chocolate Nerd Biscotti

YIELD: approximately two dozen

2 ½ cups all-purpose flour

1 cup granulated sugar

2 teaspoons double-acting baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

3 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

½ cup Nerds candy (any flavor or mix them all together)

1 full-size Dark Chocolate Hershey bar, melted

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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, and salt.

3.  In a smaller bowl, whisk together the eggs and vanilla 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 Nerds. Knead the dough until incorporated, about 10 – 20 times.

6.  Add the melted chocolate. Knead until the dough has a marbled effect, about 5 – 10 times.

7.  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.

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 #88: Use the ends to create a long curvy parallel pathway on a table top. Then grab two straws and some Nerds and see who can get their Nerd to the finish line first by blowing them down the pathway with the straw. The winner gets to eat both Nerds.

 

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Pumpkin Spiced Almond Biscotti with Dark Chocolate Drizzle

pumpkin spice 2

It’s that time of year when we spend plenty of time outdoors, jumping in leaves, carving pumpkins, and enjoying the outdoors. But it is also getting darker earlier, which forces us inside long before we’ve had a chance to channel all our energy. So, we’ve been doing some woodsy craft projects in the house as well.

We made a few stuffies.

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We constructed a tree house. It was inspired by the Tree Fort Kit at Magic Cabin. But truth be told it looks NOTHING like it. While we can boast a bucket elevator and a few swings, we could certainly use some help. I’ve seen other people on-line who have knocked it out of the park when it comes to replicating it. Our resident carpenter needs to step it up!

treehouse

We also carved pumpkins. While I am huge fan of using the drill to simply create random holes all over the pumpkin, which looks amazing when all lit up, the kids prefer the traditional “spooky” faces. This year my husband thought the kids were old enough to carve their own pumpkins and handed them the knife. After I mentioned that our daughter was about to slice her hand, I had to leave. He obviously forgot the most important Big Biscotti Bake rule…we don’t let children play with knives.  Yet, under his watchful eye (at least I am hoping he watched them since I wasn’t there to see what was going on) they created two jack-o-lanterns that looked fabulous against the dark night.

Zola pumpkin Rocco's pumpkin

Pumpkins, pumpkins everywhere! We are huge fans of pumpkin rolls, pumpkin and chocolate chip muffins, and pumpkin pecan dump cake. So of course you knew we couldn’t go on without mentioning pumpkin flavored biscotti! This year I stumbled upon some Planters Pumpkin Spiced Almonds, which you must try. (Have I mentioned we also love almonds!) So combining all things pumpkin with some almonds and chocolate seemed like a sure bet.

pumpkin spice 3

 

Pumpkin Spiced Almond Biscotti with Dark Chocolate Drizzle

YIELD: approximately two dozen

2 ½ cups all-purpose flour

1 cup granulated sugar

2 teaspoons double-acting baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons pumpkin pie spice

3 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup whole Planters Pumpkin Spiced Almonds

1 cup chopped dark chocolate

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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 pumpkin pie spice.

3.  In a smaller bowl, whisk together the eggs and vanilla 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 nuts and 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.

9. Put chocolate in microwave safe bowl and melt for 30 seconds. Stir the chocolate and continue melting for an additional 30 seconds until the chocolate easily spoonable. Drizzle over completely cooled biscotti. Put in the refrigerator for 20 minutes to set.

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What to do with the ends #87: Use the ends to decorate your next jack-o-lantern. They make excellent eyebrows!

 

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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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