Lemon Pistachio Biscotti

pistachio 2

Why do things always seem to take much longer than they should? We went to the Christmas tree farm yesterday and the kids picked out our tree, which took three hours. Apparently everyone was out doing the same thing before the weather turned bad around here. It’s our biggest tree yet. We had to cut it down to fit it in the living room. We had high hopes of decorating it last night, but after dinner, baths, and Rudolph’s New Year movie extravaganza, we were lucky just to get it in the stand.

So we had high hopes of getting the tree decorated this morning. However, our daughter knows how to sleep. While we were all waiting for her to wake up my husband and I managed to get the lights on the tree, which in our house in no small task and took much longer than it should after we untangled the lights, fixed loose or missing bulbs, and manged to agree on a way to simply put them on the tree. Apparently I don’t stretch them out enough. I’ve been told I have a tendency to cluster them in order to give them a more random look as compared to a certain someone’s preference for the appearance of a straight line winding itself around the tree. Who knew!

As we waited for our sleepyhead so we could decorate the tree, we also managed to make breakfast, assemble another Lego airplane, play a game of Uno, do the dishes, wash the laundry, and take out the garbage. While we were still waiting for her to wake up, my husband decided to go to the gym.  So, our son and I decided to make some biscotti. We actually had enough time to make three batches. Over twelve hours after first laying her head on the pillow, have I mentioned she knows how to catch some winks, our sleepyhead emerges and we loaded on the ornaments. We had plenty of close calls, but only one casualty…a moose loss its antlers. Mission accomplished.

Cracking the pistachios in these Lemon Pistachio Biscotti was a good stress reliever after hanging the lights. And now we have a little something to share with our friends and snack on the next time we are waiting…for anything really.

pistachio collage

Lemon Pistachio Biscotti

YIELD: approximately two dozen

2 ½ cups all-purpose flour

½ cup finely ground cornmeal

1 cup granulated sugar, plus 1 tablespoon for the topping

2 teaspoons double-acting baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

3 eggs

Zest of 3 lemons

1 teaspoon lemon flavored oil

1 cup roasted pistachios, plus ¼ cup ground pistachios for the topping

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 flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, and salt.

3.  In a smaller bowl, whisk together the eggs, lemon zest, and lemon 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 pistachios. 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. Drizzle the top of each log with agave.

8. Mix 1 tablespoon sugar with ¼ cup ground pistachios. Sprinkle the sugar and pistachio mixture onto the top of each log and press down firmly with your hands to ensure the mixture sticks to each log.

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 #53: Use the ends as buttons on a snowman.

Minion Biscotti

minion 2

“Oh poop.” It’s a phrase that brings the house down lately. Our kids are uttering it daily. Of course “poop” is a fascinating subject for the young and old, just for different reasons. When we do Mad Libs and I ask for a noun, they both get one of those devilish grins on their face, whisper into each others ears, smile at me, and in unison yell “poop.” I’m not sure why it is funny, but it is. But, “Oh poop” is actually a line from the kid’s favorite movie, Despicable Me. I remember lines from movies I watched as a kid. “E.T. phone home,” “I feel the need for speed,” “K-Mart sucks,” and “I’ll make him an offer he can’t refuse” are a few that I recall. But I can’t remember one that contained the word “poop.”

Actually, when I asked the kids what their favorite line from the movie was, they replied with Gru’s reaction to Agnes holding her breath after her stuffed unicorn was vaporized. “What is she doing? It’s freaking me out,” Gru says. Which, if you’ve seen the movie is much funnier than “Oh poop.”

You wouldn’t consider us trendsetters by any means. We would fall into the “late adopter” category on the spectrum of product innovation or adoption. We still don’t have cell phones, which might actually put us off the spectrum all together, in the “doomed to live in the dark ages” category. We are obviously behind the times on many things, movies included. We watched the first Despicable Me a few weeks ago for the first time. We are not huge movie goers and long before kids would prefer a night at a comedy club over a movie or concert. We can count on one hand the number of times we’ve taken the kids to a movie. So, on one of the last sweltering days of summer I planned a surprise. I packed my purse with sweet treats, loaded everyone into the car, and drove to the theater to see the new Despicable Me 2. Our son, who obviously couldn’t stand the anticipation, fell asleep in the car on the way. When we got the theater and had to wake him up, our daughter and I had already spent the last twenty minutes in the parking lot talking about the movie we were going to see. So, the big reveal was not quite what I anticipated. Yet, we ate all of our snacks, had to apologize to the rest of the theater goers for our running commentary only about a dozen times, and had to leave the movie just once to use the restroom. I would say it was a success!

The Minions make the movie really. Minion cupcakes are turning up all over the Internet. So we thought, why not try Minion Biscotti?

The recipe is simple. Since sprinkles, frosting, and food coloring don’t normally find their way into our biscotti recipes, our focus was more on having fun as we decorated these little creatures. Yet we learned a few things that we thought we’d pass along as you start thinking about creating your own Minions. First, while we added about 60 drops of yellow food coloring to the dough, it still didn’t bake up as yellow as we thought. So we ended up actually dropping yellow food coloring onto the baked biscotti and spreading it around with our fingers before we frosted each one. We noticed when we added the food coloring to the dough as we kneaded it, the yellow tended to remain more vibrant. So did our hands. We looked a little jaundice in the end. Second, we tried using white icing for the eyes, but read later that white sweet tarts might make a better substitute. We would agree. Third, the fact that it was almost 100 degrees outside while we were taking the pictures didn’t help the black decorating gel we used for the glasses stay in place either. In the end they looked like a hysterical girlfriend, crying with mascara running down her face as she runs away from the boyfriend who just broke up with her.

We had fun making these Minion Biscotti. And although we may not make them again for a while, I can guarantee you that there will be requests to watch Despicable Me again tomorrow.


Minion Biscotti

YIELD: approximately two dozen

2 ¾ cups flour

1 cup granulated sugar

2 teaspoons double-acting baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

3 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

zest of one lemon

60 drops of yellow food coloring

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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, vanilla extract, lemon zest, and food coloring.

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 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.

6. 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.

7. 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.

8. Decorate!

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What to do with the ends #21: Decorate the ends as Minion heads.

Strawberry Lemon Drop and Almond Biscotti

strawberry 8

Strawberries signal the start of the summer for us. Yet, the strawberry season always ends way too soon. While we can still get them at the grocery store, they aren’t as sweet those bought at the local farmer’s market or picked right from the field. When we go to weigh and pay for the strawberries we pick, covered in berry juice with seeds between our teeth, I always feel as if we should be paying for a pound more, considering the amount of taste testing or quality control the kids engage in. While we enjoyed our fair share of strawberry strata, strawberry muffins, strawberry shortcake, and strawberry smoothies, we are still looking for ways to enjoy those juicy red berries, almost like holding onto summer for just a bit longer.

Upon the recommendation of a friend, the kids and I took a road trip to check out a new store, Jeppi’s Nut and Candy. In addition to a good selection of nuts and sweets, we found these wonderful dried strawberries. And what goes better with strawberries than lemon. So we added some crushed lemon drops to create a truly sweet and sticky bite of summer.

A word of caution, when handling the biscotti right out of the oven, whether to move the logs to wire cooling racks or to flip the biscotti during a second bake, the melted lemon drops are extremely hot.

Strawberry Lemon Drop and Almond Biscotti

 

2 ½ cups all purpose flour

½ cup almond flour

½ cup granulated sugar

2 teaspoons double-acting baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

3 eggs

1 tsp almond extract

Zest of one lemon

1 cup chopped dried strawberries

½ cup whole almonds

½ cup crushed lemon drops or about 20 lemon drops

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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, almond flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.

3.  In a smaller bowl, whisk together the eggs, almond extract, and lemon 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 strawberries, almonds, and lemon drops, and knead the dough until incorporated, about 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.  Press the top of each log with granulated 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.

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What to do with the ends #7: Set the ends up like dominoes.