We love food festivals. So the date for the 43rd Annual Old Fashioned Corn Roast Festival at the Union Mills Homestead just outside of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania was on our calendar months in advance. We attended the festival for the first time last year and vowed to return. The festival is held on the grounds of an old grist mill established in 1797. There are tables upon tables set up on the grounds, each adorned with vases of wild flowers and mugs filled with melted butter and paintbrushes, ensuring every ear of corn is covered with buttery goodness. The piles of corn stacked up next to the grills start out over six feet tall and slowly dwindle throughout the day. On one of two enormous wood-burning grills, the corn is cooked inside the husk, covered with wet wool blankets, and doused with water every few minutes to steam the corn to perfection. A local boy scout troop carries old metal tray after tray of corn to the tables, each one emptied within minutes.
It really is quite a production and my husband is adamant it is the best corn he has ever eaten. And boy can he eat. He finished off twelve ears of corn last year, which he claimed was only a snack. This year he boasted he would beat that. I swear he could have been a competitive eater. We would see him on TV stuffing Nathan’s hot dogs into his mouth on the fourth of July or burying his face into a pie at some state fair during the summer.
As virgin corn festival goers, we were unprepared last year. Butter ran down our arms (you only get one napkin) and corn kernels were stuck between our teeth (which turned the kids into raging maniacs). However, this year we came armed with supplies…wet wipes, Old Bay, and dental floss. We dug in. My husband broke his record, eating fifteen ears of corn this year. Yet as we were leaving the festival, he proclaimed he could have eaten more. Likely story…although part of me believes him.
Driving home we started talking about all things corn and my husband mentioned corn nuts. The idea for Corn Nut and Old Bay Biscotti was born. I didn’t eat corn nuts as a kid, but apparently my husband loved them. After searching for them at half a dozen stores, we finally found roasted corn nuts at an Amish market. We experimented and created these Corn Nut and Old Bay Biscotti to mimic the flavors of the corn festival. As with all experiments, some are more successful than others. We thought there needed to be more Old Bay and that the corn nuts, an already crunchy treat, were made even more crunchy in the oven. We think they are keepers, but need a little tweaking.
Corn Nut and Old Bay Biscotti
YIELD: approximately two dozen
2 cups flour
½ cup finely ground cornmeal
½ cup granulated sugar
1 ½ teaspoons double-acting baking powder
½ tablespoon Old Bay seasoning
3 eggs and 1 egg white
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, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, and Old Bay.
3. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the eggs and egg white (save the yolk for the egg wash to top the biscotti logs).
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. Whisk the one remaining egg yolk and brush the top of the logs.
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.
10. 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 # 17: Make an edible necklace.