I am a biscotti obsessed baker, a lover of all things almond, a storyteller, and the ringleader of my very own traveling circus.
Coming from an Italian family, it should come as no surprise that food was at the center of everything. If someone was sick, we took food. If there was a wedding, we took food. If it was a holiday, we took and consumed copious amounts of food. I spent many Sundays at my grandparent’s house covered in flour, with my grandmother directing all the little hands that wanted to help make the homemade pasta, punch the dough, roll the rolling pin, and crank the coveted pasta maker while it turned out ever thinner sheets of pasta and long strands of noodles, all the while the smells of my grandfather’s thick garlicky homemade squid sauce and fried smelts reached every nook and cranny.
When my husband and I had kids, we knew we wanted them to grow up enjoying their time in the kitchen as much as we did. We also wanted them to see cooking as a creative and playful process. The Big Biscotti Bake began in our house as a way to teach our two young kids about the importance of giving and the special meaning of making something with their hands. After Thanksgiving the Big Biscotti Bake shifts into high gear and we make dozens and dozens of biscotti that are enjoyed by our neighbors, colleagues, friends, and family in cities across the country. While the Big Biscotti Bake began as a holiday tradition, it has since evolved into a year round obsession of sorts, depending on who you ask of course.
But truth be told, I never ate biscotti growing up. I was raised on a strict diet of pizzelles. My grandfather would sit at the dining room table with his old, oil stained pizzelle maker, cranking out little crunchy delights as the batter seeped out the sides. It wasn’t until later in life that I discovered biscotti, really good biscotti. Then it was years later still that I discovered some of the best biscotti are the ones we made (okay, so I’m a little biased). It didn’t happen overnight. I still remember the first very mediocre batch I made in our tiny kitchen, completely ignoring my father-in-laws advice as he tried to share with me all the knowledge he gleamed from the Italian ladies who shaped his love for food.
I look forward to sharing with you our Big Biscotti Bake and hopefully inspire you to create a culinary tradition of your own. My daughter asked me the other day, “is the Big Biscotti Bake every going to end?” I panicked. “I don’t think so,” I replied. She gave me the biggest smile and said, “AWESOME!” That made my day. And we started to plan our next biscotti creation.