This month marks the ten year anniversary of our Semester at Sea voyage. I worked on-board and my husband took a relaxing 4 month leave of absence from work. We circumvented the globe with over 700 college students, explored 12 ports of call, and made some amazing memories. One of the places that really touched us on our voyage was India.
While docked in India, my husband and I served as field trip leaders for 40 students on a five day tour of four cities, Chennai, Delhi, Agra, and Jaipur. In those five days we traveled by ship, plane, rickshaw, elephant, train, and bus. Despite an six-hour cockroach infested train ride, water leaking on our heads from somewhere on the airplane, and many near death collisions with other vehicles as our bus speed down narrow congested roads, we managed to keep everyone together. After traveling for several days without showering, we arrived back to port only to realize that since the ship was unable to take on clean water, the water was simply shut off. We were a smelly bunch.
While we traveled, my husband kept a daily journal. His personal highlight was cutting the grass at the Taj Mahal with an ox and cart. In his journal he wrote:
“0400 wake up in Delhi. Then we took a two and a half hour train ride to Agra…I was watching two men with cows mow the grass at the Taj and I asked if I could take their picture. They did better! They let me up on the mower and I actually cut the grass for the Taj Mahal!”
While we traveled, we were also encouraged to find a “toothbrush person,” someone you would remember daily as your brush your teeth, realizing how connected you are to the world. I found my toothbrush person in India. I never spoke to her and saw her for only a second as we whizzed past in our bus. She was no older than seven and wore an over-sized brilliant sapphire dress that was dusty from the dirt road. Her hair was a wild dark black tangled mess that probably made her look half a foot taller than she really was. In her bare feet she teetered on the curb and stared inside our bus as we drove by. Her eyes were heavily outlined with dark makeup and her face did not bear a smile. There was something about her that was jolting, yet mesmerizing, and I could only imagine what her story might be.
We loved India, the experiences, the people, and the food. While we don’t have the opportunity to experience India in the same way, we are fortunate to have some great Indian restaurants and groceries close by.
These Indian Candy Coated Fennel Biscotti were inspired by the bowl of these treats that we find at the door of most Indian restaurants. Intended to freshen your breath and cleanse your palate, these candy coated fennel seeds are the perfect combination of sweet and savory. The Sambuca adds a hint more of fennel or anise flavor to an already delightful treat.
Indian Candy Coated Fennel Biscotti
YIELD: approximately two dozen
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar, additional for the topping
2 teaspoons double-acting baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs and 1 egg white
¼ cup Sambuca, additional for the topping
1/3 cup candy coated fennel seeds
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, egg white, and Sambuca.
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 candy coated fennel seeds. 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. Drizzle the top of each log with Sambuca and spread with your fingers. Sprinkle the top of each log with a healthy coating of 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.
What to do with the ends #76: Find your own “biscotti being” and think of them every time you eat the ends.