Fuhgeddaboudit Biscotti

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“Fuhgeddaboudit!” A phrase that is most commonly associated with a dialect spoken by Italians in New Jersey and New York.  According to the Urban Dictionary online, fuhgeddaboudit obviously means to “forget about it – the issue is not worth the time, energy, mental effort, or emotional resources” or “the subject is unequivocally excellent; further thought and analysis are unnecessary.”

The characters in The Sopranos are known for a “fuhgeddaboudit” or two. You can go online to order t-shirts and hats. And there is even a New Jersey Style Deli called Fuhgeddaboudit.

As Maya Angelou once said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” I think if she had inserted a “fuhgeddaboudit” or two in that quote it may have had wider appeal. These Fuhgeddaboudit Biscotti make us feel free to experiment and throw caution to the wind.

Fuhgeddaboudit Biscotti are a tradition in our house. Our son and daughter each pick two ingredients from the Biscotti Bin and then we fuhgeddaboudit! We never really know how they are going to turn out, but that is half the fun. A true experiment in creativity.

For our latest version of our Fuhgeddaboudit Biscotti, our daughter picked peanut butter baking bits and banana chips. Our son choose roasted almonds and sassafras hard candies. Interesting combination right? But that’s the fun of it. No recipe, no set of ingredients, and no inspiration, other than the choices they make themselves. While we enjoy making these, the kids may enjoy practicing “fuhgeddaboudit” in their best Italian accent even more.

While you may not have all the ingredients to make our latest Fuhgeddaboudit Biscotti, create your own! And don’t forget to practice your “fuhgeddaboudit!”

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Fuhgeddaboudit Biscotti

YIELD: approximately two dozen

2 ½ cups all-purpose flour

½ cup granulated sugar

½ packed brown sugar

1 ½ teaspoons double-acting baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

2 eggs and 2 egg whites

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

½ cup banana chips, crushed

½ cup whole roasted almonds

10 hard sassafras candies, crushed

¼ cup peanut butter baking chips

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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, and salt.

3.  In a smaller bowl, whisk together the eggs, egg whites 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.  Add the banana chips, almonds, sassafras candies, and peanut butter baking chips. 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.  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.

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What to do with the ends #82: “Fugeddaboudit!”

 

Banana Cream and Roasted Walnut Biscotti

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I love games. My husband often teases me that we had kids so I would have someone to play games with. He always beats me at backgammon, questioning my logic and chuckling at each move I make. I always win at Scrabble, which he doesn’t agree to play all that often. He’s intimidated by my wordplay.

But, the kids and I love games. We spend afternoons playing Blokus, Wig Out, Uno, Qwirkle, Trouble, Trash, and many others. Some of us appreciate a little verbal bantering and boasting more than others. But once a winner is declared, we always shake hands and say, “good game.”

While my husband may not love games like we do, he does loves a challenge. He makes them up for the kids quite often. The “Cold Cup Challenge” was designed to see how many cups of cold water the kids could stand to have dumped on their heads at the end of bathtime. “Here Comes the Little Mousie” was created to see how many tickles it would take before they laughed. My husband promised them they could stay up all night long if they are a formidable match for the little mousie. Luckily we are still waiting for one of them to conquer that challenge.

Just today my husband created the “Cold Paw Challenge.” He sent them outside in their pajamas and bare feet to stand with arms outstretched on the frosty slate bricks to sing Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer for 3 minutes. He promised them chocolate chip pancakes if they lasted the entire time. Our son was back in the house in less than 30 seconds. However, our daughter was in for the long haul. I mentioned that we didn’t need anyone getting sick before the holidays. He insists you can’t get sick from being in the cold, another one of those child-rearing principles we disagree on. Luckily he is a big softie and called her in after just a minute and still made them both pancakes.

As a kid we played plenty of games and ate plenty of banana bread. It was a family favorite and one of the first quick breads we learned to make. We’ve baked plenty of variations, including the recipe in Beard on Bread. But one of my favorite recipes was given to me by a coworker during my college days when I was interning at IBM. Her recipe calls for pudding mix, which keeps the bread super moist. You can find the entire recipe below.

So with the stack of brown bananas taking over an entire shelf in the freezer, we decided to make banana bread one evening. After the kids were done using the bowls as drums, licking and sword fighting with the beaters, and using a double-sided measuring spoon to create a scale for weighing marbles, we finally got the bread in the oven and the house smelled wonderful.

With banana on the brains, we tackled Banana Cream and Roasted Walnut Biscotti next. The biscotti recipe does not call for bananas, which would add too much moisture, but uses banana flavored oil and banana chips instead. We used LorAnn Oils, which has quite an extensive list of oils and flavors for all baked goods. We mixed some banana cream oil with some sugar to coat the top and the banana goodness lives on.

 

Banana Cream and Roasted Walnut Biscotti

YIELD: approximately two dozen

2 ½ cups all-purpose flour

1 cup granulated sugar, plus 2 tablespoons for the topping

2 teaspoons double-acting baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon cinnamon

3 eggs

1 teaspoon banana cream flavored oil, plus ¼ teaspoon for the topping

1 cup roasted walnuts, finely chopped

1 cup finely crushed banana chips

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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, salt,and cinnamon.

3.  In a smaller bowl, whisk together the eggs and banana cream flavored oil.

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 walnuts and banana chips. 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. Mix the 2 tablespoons sugar with the ¼ teaspoon banana cream extra. Press on the top of each log.

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.

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Banana Bread

3 eggs

1 cup vegetable oil

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 cups sugar

½ teaspoon baking powder

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 3 ounce package of vanilla pudding mix

3 ripe bananas, mashed

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1. Grease and flour 2 bread loaf pans. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.

2. Beat together in a large bowl the eggs, oil, vanilla, and sugar.

3. Mix together in a medium bowl the baking powder, flour, baking soda, salt, and pudding mix. Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture slowly and beat to create  a consistent batter.

4. Add the bananas and beat until incorporated.

5. Separate the batter evenly between the two load pans. Bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes or until the bread is set and the top of the loaf springs back when lightly touched.

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What to do with the ends #50: Use the ends to start a fire in the fireplace.

Watermelon Banana Biscotti

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One of our favorite books this summer was The Watermelon Seed by Greg Pizzoli. A panicked crocodile swallows a watermelon seed and a hilarious stream of potential consequences developed by a wildly vivid imagination follows. The kids love the story. The illustrations are fabulously simple and weave an illustrative narrative that adds to the comical story line. As a result, we’ve spent our fair share of time constructing our own imaginative narratives about would really happen if one of us swallowed a watermelon seed. Apparently, we’ve concluded the following. One, your belly could explode when the watermelon gets too big and, like Humpty Dumpty, you would need to be put back together again. Two, the doctors would need to cut you open with a knife, like they did mommy’s belly, to get the watermelon out. Three, vines would grow out of your nose and ears. Fourth, you could turn into a watermelon, which would require you to live in the garden, and a watermelon-loving monster could come along and eat you. Additional questions like, “How many seeds are in a watermelon?” and “Why are some watermelons a different color?” have also dominated our muffled conversations, as we continue to chomp on the sweet stuff while our sticky arms drip with watermelon juice and our faces turn a light shade of red.

Our son has officially turn himself into the seed police and now carefully scans each of our bowls before we are allowed to eat them, looking for only the black seeds. We were able to convince him the white ones were safe to eat and that only the black ones would grow in his belly.

My recollection of watermelon is limited to the same hand carved watermelon fruit baskets that held colorful fruit salads at the local Elk’s Club or a picnic in the summer time. Obviously there was a lack of creativity in our hometown, because online you can find pictures at the National Watermelon Promotion Board of watermelons carved into sharks, monsters, fish, submarines, purses, pigs, teapots, turtles, hula girls, rabbits, porcupines, baby carriages, Minions, mermaids, penguins, and countless others.

And watermelons are not only for eating, but have claimed a following among athletes as well. There are a vast array of watermelon races on land and in the water, watermelon chunkin contests with giant slingshots, and watermelon rugby.

We love watermelon. Three of them are sitting on the counter right now. We’ve made watermelon and orange juice popsicles, watermelon and banana smoothies, watermelon gazpacho (not a family favorite), and most recently watermelon jerky. The process for jerky seemed simple enough, yet I was skeptical of the outcome. Considering my husband’s snarky comment about the economies of scale involved with leaving the oven on for 12 hours to make a bit of fruit leather, in addition to the fact that we don’t know anyone with a food dehydrator, we broke down and bought one. Watermelon jerky was the first experiment on our list and we love it! The kids were amazed to see how much of watermelon is actually water. The concentrated flavor in the chewy watermelon jerky needed a crunchy partner and banana chips won out in our house.

 

Watermelon Banana Biscotti

YIELD: approximately two dozen

2 ½ cups flour

½ cup barley flour

½ cup granulated sugar

½ packed light brown sugar

1 ½ teaspoons double-acting baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

2 eggs and 2 egg whites

1 teaspoon banana flavored oil

½ cup crushed banana chips

1 cup watermelon jerky

agave

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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 flours, sugars, baking powder, and salt.

3. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the eggs, egg whites, and banana flavored oil.

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 banana chips and watermelon jerky, and knead 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 the logs with agave and spread with your fingers. Sprinkle the top with 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.

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What to do with the ends #28: Use the ends to replace the pallina in bocce.