Oogily Boogily Biscotti

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“Oogily-boogily biffily-bats. Here come the witches with broomsticks and hats.” It’s the first line of one of our favorite Halloween books, The Witch’s Ball by David Steinberg. Witches are a Halloween staple and hold one of the top spots as the most popular Halloween costume of all time, along with devils, vampires, cats, and ghosts. Yet there are so many kinds of witches to choose from. The magic candy corn witch, the sassy pumpkin witch, the emerald witch, or the fairy witch. Then there are the array of scandalous adult versions.

As a kid, my mom always made our Halloween costumes. My brother and I were pilgrims one year, a devil and an angel the next, and I specifically remember a tweety bird costume. As we got older, we became more involved with our costume creations. One year I attached black and orange strips of crepe paper to a black plastic garbage bag and went as a pom-pom.

When we were younger we would trick or treat as a family with our plastic orange pumpkins, just big enough to carry home our sweet treats. Then my brother and I would watch the spectacle on our own front porch. With spooky music playing, my dad would dress up in a costume, sit completely still in a chair carefully placed next to the front door, and then scare the bejeebers out of the kids who were bold enough to walk up the front steps and knock on the door. My brother and I laughed every time. Even to this day, I still love seeing people get scared.

As we got older, we would trick-or-treat with our friends and carry pillow cases, which I can remember on a few occasions became to heavy to haul the copious amounts of sugary delights. We would stay out as long as possible to see who ended up with the most loot, which we would always dump out onto the rug, organize, and then trade. I loved mini Snickers bars and my brother loved Bottlecaps.

This year we will be trick-or-treating with a butterfly and Scooby Doo. We were explaining to our butterfly the other day why we say “trick or treat.” When our butterfly asked about what kind of tricks we played on people as kids, we decided it best to divert the conversation instead to what kind of candy we should hand out on Halloween.

After we outlined our game plan for the big day, our discussed turned to what kind of biscotti we should make to celebrate Halloween. We dug out all the Halloween sprinkles, sugars, and toppings we could find and spread them out on the table. Apparently all we could agree on was that we wanted to put as much sugary goodness into these biscotti as possible. Why wait for Halloween and the sugar rush that will inevitably ensue after you trudge home with bags filled with every conceivable kind of sweet treat and are unrelentingly asked again and again for “just one more.”

We found a bag of black and orange chocolate chips in the Biscotti Bin and the kids decided to use only the orange ones, which they carefully separated while they popped just as many into their mouths when they thought I wasn’t looking. We used both orange and black sugar, but rather than peppering the dough with bright Halloween colors, it turned the dough the deep green hue of a witches brew, dotted with bright blue, orange, black, and green confetti sugar sprinkles. A feast for the eyes and all the witches in your house.

 

Oogily Boogily Biscotti

YIELD: approximately two dozen

2 ½ cups all-purpose flour

½ cup granulated sugar

2 teaspoons double-acting baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons confetti sugar sprinkles, a combination of orange, black, blue, and green

2 tablespoons orange sugar sprinkles

2 tablespoons black sugar sprinkles

3 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 cup orange chocolate 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, salt, and confetti sugar sprinkles.

3.  In a smaller bowl, whisk together the eggs 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 chocolate chips and 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 #42: Cover the biscotti ends with flowing white fabric and hang in front of your neighbor’s door for a Halloween trick rather than treat.

 

 

Swedish Fish and Chocolate Chip Biscotti

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As a kid I spent many summer afternoons watching my brother play little league. While the concession stand stocked and served enough sweets to give the entire town a sugar rush, I always gravitated toward the Swedish Fish, which they doled out in little plastic bags depending on how many you bought. They were one for a penny.

Years later while we were living overseas, my father-in-law, who was well aware of my Swedish Fish fetish, would send us 5 pound boxes full of these little red delights. They never lasted as long as they should.

Years later while potty training our son, we exhausted our stash of incentives and we (I) couldn’t think of a more perfect treat than Swedish Fish to use as a reward. I could finally stop hiding the big bag of Swedish Fish I kept stashed away to satisfy my sweet tooth. No more excuses for having them in the house and I had someone to share my habit with. In a way I felt like a drug dealer turning my kid into an addict. Not only was he hooked, he was using the potty!

So when given the opportunity to create his signature biscotti during our Holiday Big Biscotti Bake, it was no surprise he chose Swedish Fish. Not to be upstaged by his big sister or her Cinnamon Palooza Biscotti, he also wanted to be interviewed for the blog. So we talked a bit about his Swedish Fish Biscotti, in addition to his larger vision for taking over the animal kingdom one big biscotti at a time.

The Baker: Can you tell me why you like Swedish Fish?

Son: Because I like them.

The Baker: Why do you like them?

Son: Because I like to eat them.

The Baker: Do you do anything else with Swedish Fish besides eat them?

Son: Put them in some biscotti.

The Baker: And how did you come up with the idea to put them in biscotti?

Son: Because we never did that before.

The Baker: And how did your experiment turn out? Did you like the biscotti?

Son: Uh-huh.

The Baker: What did you like about your Swedish Fish Biscotti?

Son: I liked the dough with the Swedish Fish and the chocolate chips.

The Baker: I know you added the Swedish Fish because you like them, but why did you also add chocolate chips?

Son: Because they’re yummy.

The Baker: You have a Swedish Fish Biscotti right there on the plate in front of you. Is there anything else you want to tell me about it?

Son: I want to eat it and then I’ll tell you how good it is, okay?

The Baker: Okay.

Son: (with his mouth full) It’s good. One day can we make a biiiiiiig Swedish Fish Biscotti?

The Baker: How big?

Son: (with his arms completely stretched out) Maybe one day we could bring your book out and then we could figure out a way to make a bigger biscotti and we could eat it all together. But if we are too full to eat it, maybe we could bring over a huge elephant and he could just suck it right up. Just put it in his elephant nose and eat it in one big bite.

The Baker: You want to make biscotti for the elephants of the world?

Son: Uh-huh. We’ll go to the zoo and daddy can carry it on the top of the truck.

The Baker: So daddy can put the big biscotti on top of the truck, drive it to the zoo, and feed it to the elephants?

Son: Uh-huh.

The Baker: Do you think any of the other animals would like biscotti?

Son: Maybe a tiger.

The Baker: What kind of biscotti do you think a tiger would like?

Son: Mint chocolate chip.

The Baker: Why mint chocolate chip?

Son: Because they are yummy. Now let’s listen to what we said okay?

The Baker: Okay.

Son: I love you mama. Will that be in the blog too?

The Baker: Absolutely.

So there you have it. The creator of the Swedish Fish Biscotti, a favorite of family and friends, has spoken. If you’ve never tried Swedish Fish, you are missing out! Pulling the Swedish Fish apart rather than chopping them creates little red ribbons of sweetness throughout and is a perfect job for little hands. We used mini chocolate chips for this recipe so as to add a little chocolate, but not take away from the flavor of the Swedish Fish.

 

Swedish Fish and Chocolate Chip Biscotti

YIELD: approximately two dozen

2 ¾ cups all-purpose flour

¼ cup granulated sugar

¼ cup packed light brown sugar

2 teaspoons double-acting baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

3 eggs

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

½ cup Swedish Fish, stretched and torn into halves or thirds

½ cup mini semisweet chocolate 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 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 Swedish Fish and chocolate chips, and 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. Press the tops 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.  Spray a serrated knife with a non-stick cooking spray to keep the knife from sticking as it slices through the Swedish Fish. 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 #33: Instead of rocks, skip the ends in a lake.

Butter Pecan Biscotti with Mini Chocolate Chips

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Which came first, biscotti or ice cream? You could contend that it is an irrelevant riddle and not quite as philosophic as the question, “Which came first, the chicken or the egg?” However, in our house we would beg to disagree. Actually, we disagree about quite a bit on a daily basis. “Which one of these two movies should we watch?” is a question that is almost always answered by one picking the movie in my left hand and the other picking the movie in my right hand, just for spite and the sake of disagreeing. We believe in giving limited choices for the kids to decide on themselves, unlike the woman I overheard in the store who plunked her toddler down in front of the candy rack at the register and asked him which candy he’d like. That is either an extra 15 minutes at the register, which is going to piss off the cashier as she waits for the kid to decide and infuriate the customers behind her, or is going to result in a tantrum when he can’t decide and the frustrated or embarrassed mother picks for him. Either way it is a bad scene.

In our case, the ice cream came first and there was no disagreement that we needed some biscotti to serve with it. The monkeys and I decided to make some Georgia Peach Ice Cream from the Ben & Jerry’s Homemade Ice Cream & Dessert Book with some peaches we picked at the farm a few days ago. We added butter toasted pecans and had visions of serving mini chocolate chips on top. Lately we (the kids) like to eat ice cream in a waffle bowl. Then we thought, why eat the ice cream with a regular spoon? We could have a totally edible sweet treat without using any bowls or utensils at all (less dishes!). So while we waited for the ice cream to harden, we made Butter Pecan Biscotti with Mini Chocolate Chips to scoop up the frozen goodness. Ice cream and biscotti are best friends. My two monkeys, who really are best friends, found this pairing particularly agreeable. We use mini chocolate chips because they tend to spread the chocolate more evenly throughout the biscotti, but you can always use regular semi-sweet chocolate chips. Since we were using the biscotti as spoons, we decided to make three biscotti logs to keep each one small and manageable for little hands. 

 

Butter Pecan Biscotti with Mini Chocolate Chips

YIELD: approximately two dozen

2 ½ cups flour

1 cup granulated sugar

1 ½ teaspoons double-acting baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

2 eggs and 2 egg whites

½ cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

¾ cup butter toasted pecans

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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, and salt.

3. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the eggs and egg whites (save the two remaining yolks to top the logs before baking).

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 chocolate chips and butter toasted pecans, kneading the dough until incorporated, about 10 – 20 times.

6. Separate the dough in thirds. 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. Whisk together the two remaining egg yolks. Brush the top of the logs with the egg wash and sprinkle 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 #20: Shoot the ends through the air with a homemade popsicle stick catapult.

Orange Chocolate Biscotti

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Some people will say biscotti are too involved, too much work, or too time consuming. However, the thing that we like about baking biscotti is that they do take time, which allows us to do other things while creating masterpieces. Some times more than others we exhibit shorter attention spans in our house, which is a great time to make biscotti. We can mix, shape, and bake our biscotti and then take time to go for a bike ride, read a few books, or ponder whether or not a cherry tree will grow in our belly if we swallow the cherry pit. When we have time, we bake them again. Then we play monster, match the clean socks in the laundry, or ponder whether or not a watermelon vine will grow out our ears if we swallow a watermelon seed. When we have time, we finish the biscotti with melted chocolate, glazes, or some other sweet topping. Then we talk about whether or not we will turn into biscotti from eating too many biscotti. The consensus in our house is a definite “no.” Although I am always quick to ask what type of biscotti the kids would want to be if they could be any flavor. I am always looking for our next experiment. 

Baking biscotti is not like hosting a dinner party where you are constantly reminded to prepare as much as you can ahead of time so that you can enjoy your company, keeping everyone out of the kitchen. Baking biscotti is all about getting everyone in the kitchen and involved in the creative process. A friend came over last weekend so we could do a little catching up and a little biscotti baking. She was a biscotti virgin so we perused the Biscotti Bin and she decided on Orange Chocolate Biscotti. Every bite of these biscotti were fabulous! As she said, “I think I missed my calling,” and I couldn’t agree more. It is her creative vision, but she agreed to let me share it. I later found out that although she intended to share them with her co-workers, the batch didn’t quite make it through the weekend. That’s how good these biscotti are! We topped some with melted chocolate and candied orange peels and drizzled others with an orange glaze (recipe follows).

Orange Chocolate Biscotti

YIELD: approximately two dozen

2 ½ cups flour

1 cup granulated sugar

1 ½ teaspoons double-acting baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

¼ cup 100% dark cocoa powder

2 eggs and 2 egg whites

1 ½ teaspoon orange extract

½ cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

¾ cup candied orange peels

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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 cocoa powder.

3. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the eggs, egg whites (save the two reamaining yolks to top the logs before baking), and orange 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 chocolate chips and orange peels, kneading 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. Whisk together the two remaining egg yolks. Brush the top of the logs with the egg wash and sprinkle 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.

10. Dip in melted chocolate and sprinkle with candied orange peels or drizzle with an orange glaze (mix 1 cup powered sugar with 1 tablespoon orange juice concentrate or freshly squeezed orange juice).

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What to do with the ends #19: Arrange the ends as an obstacle course for remote control cars.

Chocolate Espresso Biscotti

espresso 5

Our son has a problem. He’s a coffee addict. Which makes us believe he may also be a caffeine addict, not ideal for a four-year old. We leave the room for just a minute and our coffee mugs are empty when we return. The bag of dark chocolate covered espresso beans on the counter gets smaller and smaller without any of us actually eating them. Hum. He loves coffee flavored yogurt, hard candies, and ice cream. He helps me make the coffee each morning, pouring the water, measuring the coffee grinds, and pushing the buttons to turn on the coffeepot. He always asks for “just a taste” of the creamer and will gladly add Splenda packets to any coffee mug. Maybe he is an old soul. Maybe he is a kid who is going to start going through withdrawal and getting the shakes once the school year starts and his morning access to caffeine is cut off. Either way, we’ve got to address the problem.

In an attempt to curb his addiction and at least regulate his intake, the two of us gladly took the bag of dark chocolate covered espresso beans and used them in these Chocolate Espresso Biscotti. And, when he asked if he could dip his biscotti in my coffee, I handed him a glass of milk instead. I think we have a long road ahead of us, but we are moving in the right direction.

Chocolate Espresso Biscotti

YIELD: approximately two dozen

2 ½ cups flour

1 cup granulated sugar

1 ½ teaspoons double-acting baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

¼ cup 100% dark cocoa powder

1 ½ tablespoons instant espresso powder

2 eggs and 2 egg whites

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup dark chocolate covered espresso beans

¼ cup mini semi-sweet chocolate 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, cocoa powder, and espresso powder.

3. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the eggs, egg whites (save the yolks to top the logs before baking), 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 espresso beans and chocolate chips and 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. Whisk together the two remaining egg yolks. Brush the top of the eggs with the egg wash.

8. Mix equal parts espresso powder and sugar in a small bowl. With your fingers spread the mixture on top of the logs.

9. 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.

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What to do with the ends #18: Give the ends to a teething baby.