Kahlua and Espresso Biscotti

 

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Sometimes we half listen to what the kids say. We don’t do it on purpose or because we don’t think what they have to say is important, but it happens. Our two are full of stories, questions, and what-ifs that sometimes it is hard to keep up and our brains take a little hiatus, which apparently also affects our listening skills.

“Did you see the eye in the woods?” For the last two weeks my son asked me this question each time I drove down the road to or from preschool. He would always hastily ask just as we passed the “eyeball in the woods.” I was intrigued and reassured him that I would try to find it next time, but that it was hard to look while I was driving. Yet each time I would apparently just miss it.

Last week, as we were driving home from preschool with another boy from his class strapped into the booster seat next to him, he asked again, “Did you see the eye in the woods?” Well that started a firestorm of panicked questions from his friend in the backseat. “What!? He saw an eyeball in the woods? Where was it? Was it a floating? What color was it? Was it looking at us? Did it see us?” Unbeknownst to me, eyes in the woods are evidently a hot topic with toddler boys.

For the entire ride home I was trying to offer explanations to the little guy about what it could really be…a bent tree branch, a bag that got caught in a tree, or a boulder in the shape of an eye. Yet, for every explanation I offered, my son would reassure both of us there REALLY was a big “eyeball in the woods.” Right then I was kicking myself for not searching out and locating the eyeball the last dozen times we’d passed the woods.

As soon as we walked into the door of his friend’s house, the first thing he said to his mother was, “He saw an eye in the woods!” I’ve got nothing. I can’t even explain. She curiously looked my way and I just smiled and shrugged my shoulders. We’ve never spoken of the eyeball again. I have no idea if the little guy is still talking about it or searching the eyeball out in the woods every time he drives down the road with his family. He may be having nightmares about the “eye in the woods” chasing him down the road looking into his window in the middle of the night.

But just the other day as I drove him to preschool, checking to be sure there were no cars behind me, I slowed to a crawl and asked him to show me the “eye in the woods.” I quickly spotted it and the mystery was solved. But I only saw it for a minute, as my eyes filled up with tears as a result of my uncontrollable laughter. At the edge of the road, with the woods looming behind it, was an army green utility box, spray painted with a five foot black eye with rather long eyelashes.

After solving the “eye in the woods” mystery and perhaps scarring a child for life, I needed a drink. A hot cup of coffee with a dash or two or three of kahlua was just what I needed. And these Kahlua and Espresso Biscotti were a perfect treat to accompany it.

 

Kahlua and Espresso Biscotti

YIELD: approximately two dozen

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup granulated sugar, plus 2 tablespoon for the topping

2 teaspoons double-acting baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

2 ½ tablespoons instant espresso powder

2 eggs ans 2 egg whites

½ cup Kahlua, plus 1 tablespoon for the topping

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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 espresso powder.

3.  In a smaller bowl, whisk together the eggs, egg whites, and Kahlua.

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. Mix 1 tablespoon Kahlua and 2 tablespoon sugar. Spread and press the mixture over the logs with your fingers.

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 #64: Paint the ends like an eyeball and hang from the woods in a tree to start your own urban legend.

Chocolate Espresso Biscotti

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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.