Dough Gob Biscotti

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Our kids most common request for breakfast, and occasionally dinner, is a big warm bowl of museli with a mashed banana, yogurt, or preserves, spiked with some flax seed.  Granted we eat our share of colossal doughnuts, boxed cereal, chocolate chip pancakes, and french toast made from sweet breads.

Yet, truth be told, I am not a breakfast fan. A piece of toast with almond butter, a biscotti, or some yogurt with granola suite me just fine.

But as a kid I loved breakfast in our house on Saturday mornings. Saturday was dough gobs.

What are dough gobs, you may be wondering. Perhaps the best stuff on earth. Dough gobs are a simple, yet special treat that was reserved for lazy Saturday mornings, when no one had to rush to work, school, church, or deliver newspapers.

Simply put, dough gobs are fried dough covered in any combination of brown, powdered, or granulated sugar, sometimes with a hint of cinnamon. Really, what’s not to love.

Every culture has some version of fried dough, but think elephant ears, fritters, or funnel cake.

The dough, sometimes homemade and sometimes bought from the local pizza shop, was always in a large bowl on the counter covered with a kitchen towel, waiting to be stretched into pieces and dunked in a hot pot of oil, which was always the first thing we smelled on Saturday mornings. Careful to ensure we didn’t burn ourselves, our mother shooed us away from hot pot of crackling oil, which always reminded me of a witches cauldron. She would carefully pull off a piece off dough, not too big because the center wouldn’t cook through, and not too small because it would crisp up and burn. When perfectly cooked, the outside was golden brown with just a little crunch, while the dough inside was warm and soft.

After a specified time, which as far as I can tell was one of those things she just know from doing it for so long, although she could probably have measured in the number of times she had to tell us that they weren’t ready yet, she would carefully left each uniquely shaped fried dough gob onto a large brown grocery bag to let it cool for just a minute. If the dough gobs were too hot, the sugar mixture would melt. If they were too cold, the sugar mixture wouldn’t stick. Again, this was one of those things for which there were no steadfast guidelines. During this time my brother and I would decide which pieces we wanted, usually the largest ones, and what each resembled, as if we were trying to find shapes in the clouds. Maybe a dog, or a snowman, or a car would materialize before our eyes, although we rarely agreed.

Two small brown paper bags were set up on the table, each containing some sort of sugar mixture. We plopped each dough gob into a bag and vigorously shook, as we carefully scrunched the top closed with our little fists. On more than one occasion I am sure our little hands didn’t quite close the bag completely, covering the kitchen in a sticky sugar shower.

We shook and shook and shook. Once we were satisfied that every square inch of that dough gob was carefully coated with sugary goodness, we opened the bag and had out first taste. With a little extra sugar on the plate for dipping the warm soft dough inside, we were guaranteed each bit would be covered in sugar. And if we didn’t use all that extra sugar for the dough gobs, we’d find a way to eat every last bit.

I realized as I was writing this, that we’ve not yet made dough gobs for our kids. Although it sound like the perfect Saturday morning breakfast. I do think everyone in our house would agree.

With dough gobs on the brain, we set out to make a biscotti that incorporated all that simple cinnamon sugary goodness.

 

Dough Gob Biscotti

YIELD: approximately two dozen

2 ½ cups all-purpose flour

½ cup granulated sugar, plus ½ tablespoon for the topping

¾ cup packed light brown sugar, plus 2 tablespoons for the topping

2 teaspoons double-acting baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons cinnamon, plus ½ tablespoon for the topping

3 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

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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 cinnamon.

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.  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.  In a small bowl, mix together the remaining brown sugar, granulated sugar, and cinnamon with a fork. Press the sugar mixture on top of each log.

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 #67: Play Bury the Biscotti…bury the ends in the snow and see who can find it first.

Spiced Plum and Walnut Biscotti

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As the Big Biscotti Bake continues in our house, so does the Big Biscotti Debate. My husband prefers biscotti right out of the oven after the first bake. He tries to find a reason to come into the kitchen and snag a few before we put them back in the oven. The biscotti are soft and warm, just the way he likes them. I am a firm believer that biscotti are made to be dunked. They shouldn’t fall apart the minute you dunk them in a steaming mug of cappuccino or a cold cup of milk. However, with that said, the kids tend to submerge the entire biscotti with each dunk and inevitably large soggy chunks find their way to the bottom of the cup. I think they do it because they believe there is something wildly naughty about sticking their entire hand in to dig it out. According to my father-in-law, the correct dunking etiquette requires that you never let your fingers touch your drink. Well I think we can add that to the long litany of social rules we break on a daily basis.

Below is a variation of the Big Biscotti Debate repeated in our house over and over again.

Husband: I think you should make some without baking them twice, so they aren’t as hard and crunchy. I wish everyone could taste them when you pull them right out of the oven, warm and chewy. This is the way they should be.

Me: Then they wouldn’t be biscotti, which means twice baked. If you want to make yourself some cookies, then let me know and I’ll get out of your way.

End of debate.

When at an impasse, we often poll family and friends to resolve our debates. Once we (I) sent out an e-mail inquiring as to whether cutting grass on a riding mower, with a beer in the cup holder and music playing on the headphones, could really be considered work. We went through a stage where we (my husband) was wasting milk at a very alarming rate. I threatened to start buying organic milk, which is expensive and in his mind a ridiculous waste of money, unless he started putting the milk the kids didn’t finish back in the fridge. He contended that you could leave milk on the table indefinitely, in the sun or in 100 degree weather, and that the kids could come back and drink it whenever they felt like it. I strongly believed there was an expiration for unrefrigerated milk. We turned to an informal poll of our family and friends to resolve that debate as well. As a result, we revamped our parenting strategy and now we just make sure they drink all of their milk before leaving the table. Seems simple enough, but you have no idea what we went through to get there.

So in line with our history of debating and polling, we’d like to ask, how do you like your biscotti? Dunkable? Crumbly? Soft? Hard? Chewy? Crunchy?

We are plum crazy around here, literally and figuratively. We are going though at least half a dozen plums a day. My husband has been begging for some plum biscotti. So, when we finally got around to making some and presenting him with our Spiced Plum and Walnut Biscotti, mentioning that we made them especially for him, he turned to us and remarked, “I said fig, not plum.” I think that’s debatable.

In creating these biscotti we kept in mind the fact that he likes a “chewier” biscotti. We added half a cup of barley flour, which keeps baked goods moist, and some ground walnuts. These biscotti are very flavorful and the spices are a wonderful backdrop to the sweetness of the plums, which tend to spread out and infuse the dough as you knead it. Tossing the plums in sugar before adding them truly brings out the sweetness of the dried fruit.

Spiced Plum and Walnut Biscotti

YIELD: approximately two dozen

2 cups flour

½ cup barley flour

½ cup granulated sugar

½ cup packed light brown sugar

2 teaspoons double-acting baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons allspice

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground cloves

1 cup ground walnuts

2 eggs and 2 egg whites

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup dried plums, roughly chopped and tossed in ¼ cup sugar

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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, allspice, cinnamon, cloves, and walnuts.

3. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the eggs and 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 plums along with any extra sugar at the bottom of the bowl and knead the dough until incorporated, about 10 – 20 times.

6. Separate the dough in thirds. Form three 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. Firmly press the top of the logs with brown 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 #22: Crumble the ends and sprinkle over the icing on cupcakes to add a layer of extra flavor.

Cinnamon Palooza Biscotti

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The much sought after and highly requested star of last year’s Big Biscotti Bake…meet Cinnamon Palooza! Each year the kids create a signature biscotti for us to share with friends and family during the holidays. Out of all the dozens we made last winter, Cinnamon Palooza was by far the favorite. If there was ever a recipe people ask us for, this is the one. Last year our daughter found a bag of cinnamon imperials on the counter I was using for another recipe. She tried one and was hooked. She decided on the spot that her signature biscotti needed to incorporate cinnamon imperials and all other things cinnamon. And, we should call it Cinnamon Palooza. Well, maybe we should just let her tell you about these very cinnamony creations.

The Baker: I want to ask you some questions about the Cinnamon Palooza Biscotti.

Daughter: What if I don’t know the answers?

The Baker: You created the biscotti, so you are the only one who knows the answers. Can you tell me how did you came up with the idea for Cinnamon Palooza Biscotti?

Daughter: I saw the cinnamon balls right on the counter and I thought about it right away.

The Baker: And what did you think about?

Daughter: I thought about how they would taste in biscotti and I thought they would taste really good. So I decided to try it out.

The Baker: So how do cinnamon imperials or cinnamon balls taste?

Daughter: Good.

The Baker: Can you describe it a little bit more for me. What does cinnamon taste like?

Daughter: Well kind of a tiny bit spicy. And they are really good too.

The Baker: Do cinnamon imperials or cinnamon balls taste different from cinnamon the spice?

Daughter: Yes.

The Baker: How are they different?

Daughter: Because I think there is a little less cinnamon added.

The Baker: How do you think the Cinnamon Palooza Biscotti you created taste?

Daughter: Great! They tasted very good.

The Baker: Can you elaborate on that?

Daughter: Uh…what does elaborate mean?

The Baker: Can you explain more about what the Cinnamon Palooza Biscotti taste like to you?

Daughter: They are very good and only a little spicy and I only like a little spicy. And it was very good and I hope you enjoy them too.

The Baker: Can you tell me what you think the biscotti look like?

Daughter: In the biscotti, they look like there are little red balls of fire in the biscotti.

The Baker: Why did you give your biscotti the name Cinnamon Palooza?

Daughter: Because there are a whole bunch of cinnamon balls in there and it is like a palooza.

The Baker: Is there anything people that are reading our blog should know about Cinnamon Palooza Biscotti? Anything else you want to tell them?

Daughter: No, not actually. Do you have any more questions?

And there you have it, from the mouth of the creator herself. We normally make these over-the-top cinnamon biscotti with plain whole almonds, but we stumbled upon a bag of Trader Joe’s Cinnamon Almonds and thought why not even more cinnamon.

 

Cinnamon Palooza

YIELD: approximately two dozen

2 ½ cups flour

¼ cup granulated sugar, plus 1 tablespoon for the topping

¼ cup light brown sugar

1 ½ teaspoons double-acting baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons cinnamon, plus 1 teaspoon for the topping

½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

2 eggs and 2 egg whites

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

¼ cup cinnamon imperials

¼ cup cinnamon chips

1/2 cup whole almonds or cinnamon coated almonds

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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, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

3. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the eggs, egg whites (save the yolks for the egg wash to top the biscotti logs), 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 cinnamon imperials, cinnamon chips, and almonds 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 logs with the eggs.

8. Mix together 1 tablespoon sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon. Sprinkle 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 #16: Dip the ends in paint and use like a brush to create biscotti art.