Our kids most common request for breakfast, and occasionally dinner, is a big warm bowl of museli with a mashed banana, yogurt, or preserves, spiked with some flax seed. Granted we eat our share of colossal doughnuts, boxed cereal, chocolate chip pancakes, and french toast made from sweet breads.
Yet, truth be told, I am not a breakfast fan. A piece of toast with almond butter, a biscotti, or some yogurt with granola suite me just fine.
But as a kid I loved breakfast in our house on Saturday mornings. Saturday was dough gobs.
What are dough gobs, you may be wondering. Perhaps the best stuff on earth. Dough gobs are a simple, yet special treat that was reserved for lazy Saturday mornings, when no one had to rush to work, school, church, or deliver newspapers.
Simply put, dough gobs are fried dough covered in any combination of brown, powdered, or granulated sugar, sometimes with a hint of cinnamon. Really, what’s not to love.
Every culture has some version of fried dough, but think elephant ears, fritters, or funnel cake.
The dough, sometimes homemade and sometimes bought from the local pizza shop, was always in a large bowl on the counter covered with a kitchen towel, waiting to be stretched into pieces and dunked in a hot pot of oil, which was always the first thing we smelled on Saturday mornings. Careful to ensure we didn’t burn ourselves, our mother shooed us away from hot pot of crackling oil, which always reminded me of a witches cauldron. She would carefully pull off a piece off dough, not too big because the center wouldn’t cook through, and not too small because it would crisp up and burn. When perfectly cooked, the outside was golden brown with just a little crunch, while the dough inside was warm and soft.
After a specified time, which as far as I can tell was one of those things she just know from doing it for so long, although she could probably have measured in the number of times she had to tell us that they weren’t ready yet, she would carefully left each uniquely shaped fried dough gob onto a large brown grocery bag to let it cool for just a minute. If the dough gobs were too hot, the sugar mixture would melt. If they were too cold, the sugar mixture wouldn’t stick. Again, this was one of those things for which there were no steadfast guidelines. During this time my brother and I would decide which pieces we wanted, usually the largest ones, and what each resembled, as if we were trying to find shapes in the clouds. Maybe a dog, or a snowman, or a car would materialize before our eyes, although we rarely agreed.
Two small brown paper bags were set up on the table, each containing some sort of sugar mixture. We plopped each dough gob into a bag and vigorously shook, as we carefully scrunched the top closed with our little fists. On more than one occasion I am sure our little hands didn’t quite close the bag completely, covering the kitchen in a sticky sugar shower.
We shook and shook and shook. Once we were satisfied that every square inch of that dough gob was carefully coated with sugary goodness, we opened the bag and had out first taste. With a little extra sugar on the plate for dipping the warm soft dough inside, we were guaranteed each bit would be covered in sugar. And if we didn’t use all that extra sugar for the dough gobs, we’d find a way to eat every last bit.
I realized as I was writing this, that we’ve not yet made dough gobs for our kids. Although it sound like the perfect Saturday morning breakfast. I do think everyone in our house would agree.
With dough gobs on the brain, we set out to make a biscotti that incorporated all that simple cinnamon sugary goodness.
Dough Gob Biscotti
YIELD: approximately two dozen
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup granulated sugar, plus ½ tablespoon for the topping
¾ cup packed light brown sugar, plus 2 tablespoons for the topping
2 teaspoons double-acting baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons cinnamon, plus ½ tablespoon for the topping
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
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, salt, and cinnamon.
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. 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.
6. In a small bowl, mix together the remaining brown sugar, granulated sugar, and cinnamon with a fork. Press the sugar mixture on top of each log.
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.
What to do with the ends #67: Play Bury the Biscotti…bury the ends in the snow and see who can find it first.