Fuhgeddaboudit Biscotti

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“Fuhgeddaboudit!” A phrase that is most commonly associated with a dialect spoken by Italians in New Jersey and New York.  According to the Urban Dictionary online, fuhgeddaboudit obviously means to “forget about it – the issue is not worth the time, energy, mental effort, or emotional resources” or “the subject is unequivocally excellent; further thought and analysis are unnecessary.”

The characters in The Sopranos are known for a “fuhgeddaboudit” or two. You can go online to order t-shirts and hats. And there is even a New Jersey Style Deli called Fuhgeddaboudit.

As Maya Angelou once said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” I think if she had inserted a “fuhgeddaboudit” or two in that quote it may have had wider appeal. These Fuhgeddaboudit Biscotti make us feel free to experiment and throw caution to the wind.

Fuhgeddaboudit Biscotti are a tradition in our house. Our son and daughter each pick two ingredients from the Biscotti Bin and then we fuhgeddaboudit! We never really know how they are going to turn out, but that is half the fun. A true experiment in creativity.

For our latest version of our Fuhgeddaboudit Biscotti, our daughter picked peanut butter baking bits and banana chips. Our son choose roasted almonds and sassafras hard candies. Interesting combination right? But that’s the fun of it. No recipe, no set of ingredients, and no inspiration, other than the choices they make themselves. While we enjoy making these, the kids may enjoy practicing “fuhgeddaboudit” in their best Italian accent even more.

While you may not have all the ingredients to make our latest Fuhgeddaboudit Biscotti, create your own! And don’t forget to practice your “fuhgeddaboudit!”

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Fuhgeddaboudit Biscotti

YIELD: approximately two dozen

2 ½ cups all-purpose flour

½ cup granulated sugar

½ packed brown sugar

1 ½ teaspoons double-acting baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

2 eggs and 2 egg whites

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

½ cup banana chips, crushed

½ cup whole roasted almonds

10 hard sassafras candies, crushed

¼ cup peanut butter baking chips

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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, sugars, baking powder, and salt.

3.  In a smaller bowl, whisk together the eggs, egg whites 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 banana chips, almonds, sassafras candies, and peanut butter baking 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.  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 #82: “Fugeddaboudit!”

 

And we have a winner!

It’s that time of year again…the county fair.

We spent days talking about what each of the kids wanted to enter. Our son started with a cake, then was certain he wanted to enter biscotti, before finally settling on cookies. Our daughter wanted to enter fudge, but decided on brownies.

I was going to submit biscotti. I couldn’t decide what kind. My husband said to pick something I’ve made before that I know is good. Probably sage advice, but I didn’t follow it. As I looked at the Biscotti Bin, I noticed quite a few orange flavored items I’ve been waiting to try. I settled on Orange Pistachio Biscotti.

So early Saturday morning my daughter, my son, and I got a glimpse of the county fair before the gates even opened as we submitted our baked goods to be evaluated. They were equally exited about the rides…the yo-yo or those swings that make me dizzy just by looking at them, the freefall ride that I’ve always associated with the Demon Drop at Cedar Point in Ohio which I’ve never ridden only wondered how crazy you had to be to get on it, and the ferris wheel, which exacerbates my very slight fear of heights.  Anyone who knows me knows I despise amusement parks.

We returned to the fair Sunday to check out the livestock, tractors, and of course find out if any of us had ribbons on our entries. We had the “we are all winners” conversation as we got out of the car and walked through the gates. And we had the “it doesn’t matter if we win or not, we had fun doing it” conversation. Yet, all our son kept saying was “I hope I won the fair!” I have to admit I was a bit nervous walking into the building that housed all the baked goods, not quite sure how all of this was going to play out.

We came across the “ethnic cookie” category first. I shared with you the outcome of my county fair entry last year. This year was perhaps even more comical. I again entered my biscotti in the “ethnic cookie” category. No ribbon. Not earth shattering and I realized I set a good precedence for whatever was to come as a result of our kids entries. While I got a hug from our daughter and an “it’s okay mom.” I was somewhat relieved and curious at the same time. As I looked at the other four entries, I realized each of them had gotten a ribbon. My biscotti came in last place. But the best part is that someone’s Italian Oatmeal Biscotti actually won first prize! My husband and I were laughing so hard we could barely read the tags to find the kids’ entries.

We found our daughter’s brownie container. No ribbon.

Then we found our son’s cookie container. A blue first place ribbon was attached to the top. I’ve never seen him more excited! Out of all the 5-11 year old entries in the “hand-formed cookie” category, he won first place. We congratulated him, took pictures, and shared a round of hugs.

He made these cookies all by himself. While I told him what to do, he got out the ingredients, measured, mixed, and hand-rolled each cookie. He whisked the frosting, dipped the cookies, and gave each a healthy sprinkle of nonpareils. Way to go my man!

We picked up our boxes and walked to the exit, only to be stopped by the baked good police who were shouting at us as if we were trying to smuggle a newborn out of the maternity ward. Apparently all entries need to remain at the fair until the final day. Who knew!

We quietly replaced the boxes and explained to a rather frustrated little guy that he had to wait to take the ribbon home. We promised to find a prominent place in the kitchen for him to display his award…when we finally get to bring it home. He is my big kitchen helper.

Rocco Ribbon

While I could share my recipe for my entry, Orange Pistachio Biscotti, the real show stopper is our son’s Lemon Ricotta Cookies. We make these during the holidays and although there are several steps involved, they are perfect cookies for little hands. There are plenty of recipes for ricotta cookies online and in Italian cookbooks. The cookie recipes are relatively the same, but the frosting recipes can vary greatly. We used a family recipe that has been handed down through the generations and wanted to share it with you here.  

Lemon Ricotta Cookies

½ pound of butter, softened

2 cups granulated sugar

½ teaspoon salt

1 pound ricotta cheese

2 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

zest of 1 lemon

4 ½ cups of all-purpose flour

1 ½ teaspoons baking soda

1 ½ teaspoon baking powder

nonpareils

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1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2. In a large bowl, cream the butter, sugar, and salt.

3. Add the eggs, ricotta cheese, and lemon zest.

4. In another large bowl, sift the flour, baking soda, and baking powder.

5. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients.

6. Dip your hands into a bowl of cold water and shape small, no bigger than golf-ball sized balls, and place on parchment lined cookie sheets.

7. Bake for 10 minutes of until the edges are lightly browned. Let the cookies cool completely.

8. Dip the dome of each cookie upside-down into the frosting, and let all of the extra frosting drizzle off.

9. Immediately sprinkle each cookie with nonpareils.

Frosting

5 tablespoons milk

1 ½ cups powdered sugar

1 teaspoon almond extract

1. Whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl.

Bailey’s Irish Cream Biscotti

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Happy belated St. Patrick’s Day. Not a holiday that we traditionally celebrate. Although we do have plenty of friends who are known to “get their drink on” and celebrate their Irish heritage.

Luckily we live near neighbors who know how to throw a St. Patty’s Day shindig, complete with hidden leprechaun notes written on green strips of paper and a scavenger hunt to a pot of gold (chocolate really, but the same thing in our eyes) for the kids.

Our contribution to the amazing spread which included corned beef with all the trimming, breads, brownies, homemade Guinness pudding, and green mac-n-cheese, were Bailey’s Irish Cream Biscotti. We’ve made these before and they are always a bit hit. We forgo the coffee and dip these biscotti in straight Bailey’s. Your neighbors will thank you.

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Bailey’s Irish Cream Biscotti

YIELD: approximately two dozen

2 ½ cups all-purpose flour

1/3 cup finely ground yellow cornmeal

1/3 cup and 1 cup granulated sugar

2 teaspoons double-acting baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

2 eggs and 1 egg white

9 tablespoons Bailey’s Irish Cream, divided

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

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

2.  In a small bowl, mix 1/3 cup granulated sugar and 3 tablespoons Bailey’s Irish Cream. Set aside.

3.  In a large flat-bottomed bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, 1 cup of sugar, baking powder, and salt.

4.  In a smaller bowl, whisk together the eggs, egg whites, and 3 tablespoons of the Bailey’s Irish Cream.

5.  With a rubber spatula, stir the egg mixture, the sugar and Bailey’s mixture, and 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.

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. In the bowl of a double boiler over low heat, slowly melt 2/3 cup of the chocolate chips and the remaining 3 tablespoons of the Bailey’s Irish Cream. As the chocolate starts to melt and turn glossy, add the last 1/3 cup of chocolate chips, turn of the heat, and stir constantly until the remaining chocolate chips melt. Spread onto each biscotti and place in a refrigerator for 10 minutes to let the chocolate set.

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What to do with the ends #70: Leave leprechaun notes under the ends and create your own scavenger hunt to your own pot of gold.

Minion Biscotti

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“Oh poop.” It’s a phrase that brings the house down lately. Our kids are uttering it daily. Of course “poop” is a fascinating subject for the young and old, just for different reasons. When we do Mad Libs and I ask for a noun, they both get one of those devilish grins on their face, whisper into each others ears, smile at me, and in unison yell “poop.” I’m not sure why it is funny, but it is. But, “Oh poop” is actually a line from the kid’s favorite movie, Despicable Me. I remember lines from movies I watched as a kid. “E.T. phone home,” “I feel the need for speed,” “K-Mart sucks,” and “I’ll make him an offer he can’t refuse” are a few that I recall. But I can’t remember one that contained the word “poop.”

Actually, when I asked the kids what their favorite line from the movie was, they replied with Gru’s reaction to Agnes holding her breath after her stuffed unicorn was vaporized. “What is she doing? It’s freaking me out,” Gru says. Which, if you’ve seen the movie is much funnier than “Oh poop.”

You wouldn’t consider us trendsetters by any means. We would fall into the “late adopter” category on the spectrum of product innovation or adoption. We still don’t have cell phones, which might actually put us off the spectrum all together, in the “doomed to live in the dark ages” category. We are obviously behind the times on many things, movies included. We watched the first Despicable Me a few weeks ago for the first time. We are not huge movie goers and long before kids would prefer a night at a comedy club over a movie or concert. We can count on one hand the number of times we’ve taken the kids to a movie. So, on one of the last sweltering days of summer I planned a surprise. I packed my purse with sweet treats, loaded everyone into the car, and drove to the theater to see the new Despicable Me 2. Our son, who obviously couldn’t stand the anticipation, fell asleep in the car on the way. When we got the theater and had to wake him up, our daughter and I had already spent the last twenty minutes in the parking lot talking about the movie we were going to see. So, the big reveal was not quite what I anticipated. Yet, we ate all of our snacks, had to apologize to the rest of the theater goers for our running commentary only about a dozen times, and had to leave the movie just once to use the restroom. I would say it was a success!

The Minions make the movie really. Minion cupcakes are turning up all over the Internet. So we thought, why not try Minion Biscotti?

The recipe is simple. Since sprinkles, frosting, and food coloring don’t normally find their way into our biscotti recipes, our focus was more on having fun as we decorated these little creatures. Yet we learned a few things that we thought we’d pass along as you start thinking about creating your own Minions. First, while we added about 60 drops of yellow food coloring to the dough, it still didn’t bake up as yellow as we thought. So we ended up actually dropping yellow food coloring onto the baked biscotti and spreading it around with our fingers before we frosted each one. We noticed when we added the food coloring to the dough as we kneaded it, the yellow tended to remain more vibrant. So did our hands. We looked a little jaundice in the end. Second, we tried using white icing for the eyes, but read later that white sweet tarts might make a better substitute. We would agree. Third, the fact that it was almost 100 degrees outside while we were taking the pictures didn’t help the black decorating gel we used for the glasses stay in place either. In the end they looked like a hysterical girlfriend, crying with mascara running down her face as she runs away from the boyfriend who just broke up with her.

We had fun making these Minion Biscotti. And although we may not make them again for a while, I can guarantee you that there will be requests to watch Despicable Me again tomorrow.


Minion Biscotti

YIELD: approximately two dozen

2 ¾ cups flour

1 cup granulated sugar

2 teaspoons double-acting baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

3 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

zest of one lemon

60 drops of yellow food coloring

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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, vanilla extract, lemon zest, and food coloring.

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 thirds. 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. 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.

7. 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.

8. Decorate!

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What to do with the ends #21: Decorate the ends as Minion heads.