Orange Fig Cocoa Biscotti

Orange Fig Coca Biscotti 3

It was one of those rare evenings that we had no place to be and no homework to do. “Who wants to make biscotti?” I was met with a chorus of “I do!”

As little hands helped transport the ingredients via step ladders that were somehow turned into makeshift carts, we talked about how long it had been since we’d made biscotti. We’ve been busy. Perhaps too busy. We talked about how this year, our daughter’s first year in school, has been a learning experience in time management for all of us. We are looking forward to slowing things down a bit. For the first time I heard our daughter say, “I just haven’t had time to do it.”

In our culture we view time as a commodity. We can spend time, save time, and waste time. Lately we spend our time running from one activity to another, hurrying our way through the day. Lately we try to save time by dividing and conquering, trying to get an extra hour or two out of the day. Although I wrestle with the idea of wasted time, I’m not sure we’ve wasted any lately.

Time is precious. And what better to do with precious time than spend it in the kitchen with our little bakers.

A jar of fig and cocoa spread was sitting on our counter for quite some time, so we used it as our inspiration. We ran out of dark cocoa powder, so I used some regular cocoa powder. However, if you really enjoy chocolate hunt for a good quality dark cocoa powder. We used cocoa nibs in these for the same reason. While there was some debate about the figs, apparently our daughter loves them and our son refuses to try them, and some debate about adding the orange extract, we comprised (actually I just finally decided otherwise we’d be baking until midnight before an amicable agreement could have been reached) and added both. Rather than dunking these Orange Fig Cocoa Biscotti, we slathered them with fig and cocoa spread. Delicious!

As they always do, the two of them wanted to make their own biscotti. Our son wanted to make a starfish. We shaped five little balls, rolled them out, and then pieced them together in the middle.

starfish

Our daughter wanted to make a three-dimensional figure, which the rest of us immediately thought looked like a pile of dog poop. To each her own. It is her masterpiece and she is quite proud of it. However, she hasn’t eaten it yet.

poop

We have 15 days of school left. We are looking forward to a little more free time, which means more time for biscotti! And other things of course.

 

Orange Fig Cocoa Biscotti

YIELD: approximately two dozen

2 ½ cups all-purpose flour

1 cup granulated sugar

2 teaspoons double-acting baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

¼ cup cocoa powder

2 eggs and 2 egg whites, save the egg yolks for the topping

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon orange extract

zest of 1 orange

15 dried mission figs or about 1 cup chopped

¼ cup cocoa nibs

____________________

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.

3.  In a smaller bowl, whisk together the eggs, egg whites, extracts, and orange zest.

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 figs and cocoa nibs. 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. In a small bowl, whisk together the two remaining eff yolks and brush on the top of each log. Sprinkle a generous amount of sugar 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.

____________________

What to do with the ends #77: Use the ends to create a sundial to tell time.

Whole Wheat Goji Berry, Walnut, and Cocoa Nib Biscotti

goji 1

Kindergarten starts in only 30 days!  My daughter is excited.  I am excited because she is excited.  Just a few months ago we were attending her preschool graduation.  All the parents were talking about how quickly their kids are growing up, how much they are going to miss having them at home, and how in a few short months they are starting kindergarten.  Maybe I’m a bad mom, but I was standing on the sidelines having a panic attack because I’d been racking my brain thinking about what I was going to do with my two kids all summer.  Kindergarten was the furthest thing from my mind.  But now, it is right around the corner.

I am a person who likes to be prepared.  Some may say I take it to the extreme, but I would disagree.  The other day I pulled out the school supply list provided by our public school system, which was somewhat lengthy and very specific.  Pencil boxes need to be a particular size, folders need to be laminated and without brads (I don’t even know what or who that is), and pencils need to be yellow.  My daughter is convinced she can take her favorite owl pencils to school.  We will have to deal with that situation when it arises.  As much as I loved to buy new school supplies as a kid, I was geeky like that, I don’t remember ever being required to do so.  But we are ready and checked school supplies off the list.

Then we were having lunch the today and it hit me.  I will need to pack her lunch.  Now granted I have some experience packing lunches… my lunch, my husband’s lunch.  When I used to pack his lunch, before he told me that he didn’t like the way I did it. I would write secret messages in mustard on his sandwich.  I’m still a little bitter about that.  But packing lunches for a kid is different.

We talked today about what she might like to take in her lunch and biscotti made the list.  Yeah!  In fact, biscotti are great lunchbox treats, especially when made with nutrient rich foods.  So, today we made one of our favorite energizer biscotti.  Our biscotti, because we use no butter or oil, are already a very healthy treat.  So describing them as healthy seems redundant. Energizers can be packed with whole wheat flour, flaxseed, oat bran, walnuts, cocoa nibs, chai seeds, and a variety of foods that nourish the body and mind.  I’m not sure how we came up with the word energizers, but it stuck.  And I am warning you, they are very addictive!

goji 5 goji 4

Whole Wheat Goji Berry, Walnut, and Cocoa Nib Biscotti

YIELD: approximately two dozen

2 cups whole wheat flour

1 cup finely ground cornmeal

½ cup packed light brown sugar

2 teaspoons double-acting baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons ground flaxseed

3 eggs

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

¼ cup agave nectar

4 tablespoons cocoa nibs

3 tablespoons goji berries

1 cup roughly chopped walnuts

____________________

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 whole wheat flour, cornmeal, light brown sugar, baking powder, salt, and flaxseed.

3.  In a smaller bowl, whisk together the eggs and vanilla extract, and agave nectar.

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 slightly tacky.

5.  Add the cocoa nibs, goji berries, and walnuts and knead the dough until incorporated, about 10 to 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.  Firmly press the top of each log with light brown sugar.

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.

____________________

What to do with the ends #3: Eat them of course!