What was your first job? Maybe the question brings to mind images of whiny kids you endured while baby sitting or impatient customers as you waited tables. Maybe your first job was making or delivering pizzas, watering plants at the nursery, or even running the cash register at a local store. While I’ve done all of the above, and enjoyed some more than others, my first job was a Sunday morning paper route I shared with my younger brother. It was my parent’s idea and their attempt at teaching us “financial responsibility.” Although, now I am certain they were breaking some major child labor laws.
When we started our Sunday morning paper route I was 12 and my brother was 11. The bundles of papers were flung out of a white van onto the curb long before the sun came up. We lugged the bundles onto the front porch around 4:45 because before we could deliver them we had to stuff each and every paper with the comics and sale inserts. On some days this alone could take an hour. Our hands were always completely covered in black newspaper ink, which we would often forget about and wipe on our faces leaving bruise-like marks. I am really surprised no one ever called child protective services.
We delivered several hundred papers in the rain, sun, and snow. On the brutally cold days, my dad took pity on us and would drive us around our route with the trunk of the car open. We had to run to keep up with him of course and he loved to play what we called the “catch-me-if-you-can” game, when we thought we were just close enough he’d hit the gas, lurching the car forward and just out of reach. All the while he sat in the heated car drinking his coffee and laughing at us. But he would always stop halfway through the route at a local convenience store where we’d warm up and get a breakfast snack.
I always picked out a box of stale vanilla cake donuts completely covered in a waxy milk chocolate coating and a container of chocolate milk to wash them down, otherwise they’d get stuck in my throat. When I asked my brother, he couldn’t remember what he used eat, but he let me know how freakishly funny it was that I did.
When we make these very simple vanilla biscotti we leave just a tip of the biscotti plain, without chocolate, so that we have something to hold onto. Ideally, we thought leaving a bit of the biscotti peeking through would mean that less chocolate would find its way onto our clothes, the furniture, or the floor, but I’m not sure it actually works.
Vanilla Bean Biscotti Dipped in Chocolate
2 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons double-acting baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 vanilla bean
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate morsels
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. Cut the vanilla bean lengthwise into two halves with a sharp knife. With the backside of the knife scrape out the seeds of each half of the vanilla bean.
4. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the eggs, vanilla extract, and vanilla bean seeds.
5. 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.
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.
1. Put ¾ cup of semisweet chocolate morsels to a microwave safe bowl and microwave on a medium setting for 30 seconds.
2. Stir the chocolate and microwave for an additional 30 seconds. Repeat until the chocolate is completely melted.
3. Add the remaining ¼ cup of chocolate and stir until melted.
4. With a rubber spatula, pour the chocolate over each biscotti, covering all four sides of the biscotti.
5. Place the chocolate covered biscotti onto a parchment lined baking sheet and put in the refrigerator for 15 minutes to set.
What to do with the ends #5: Build an obstacle course for remote control cars.