Spiced Mandarin Oolong Biscotti

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Our kids love mandarin oranges. Freshly peeled by their own little hands or served from a can, our two love them either way.

I don’t remember eating mandarin oranges much as a kid, but my husband and I ate plenty in Japan. 

Living in northern Japan, every fall you be certain of three things. One, it was raining sideways and it was cold, very cold. And the hot springs were warm, thankfully very warm. Two, the country roads around Lake Towada were jammed with cars on leisurely drives to look at the leaves bursting with amazingly vivid yellows, oranges, reds, and purples. Three, in every house you visited would be a steaming hot pot of oolong tea and a bowl of mandarin oranges in the center of the table for everyone to share. More often than not it turned into a contest to see who could peel the entire orange in one piece.

We had many generous friends who made our experience in Japan memorable. The combination of oolong tea and mandarin oranges (or mikans in Japanese) will always remind us of the many cold, rainy afternoons we spent huddled with toes tucked under a toasty kotatsu and our fingers curled around a steaming cup of tea, learning more about a place and traditions we look forward to sharing with our kids some day.

For these Spiced Mandarin Oolong Biscotti, we used dried mandarin oranges we found on a recent trip to Trader Joe’s. We bought two bags because I had a feeling one would not be enough. And I was right. The kids finished a bag before we got home and then I hid the other one. While the mandarin oranges are deliciously tangy on their own, they lend a fruity sweetness to the backdrop of these spiced oolong infused biscotti. When we kneaded these biscotti, instead of dusting our hands with flour, we drizzled them with Orangecello to keep the dough from sticking and to add a bit more orange flavor.

 

Spiced Mandarin Oolong Biscotti

YIELD: approximately two dozen

2 ½ cups all-purpose flour

½ cup granulated sugar

½ cup firmly packed light brown sugar

2 teaspoons double-acting baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons ground spiced oolong tea (We used Teavana’s Spiced Mandarin Oolong tea and ground it in a coffee grinder.)

3 eggs

1 teaspoon orange extract

½ cup chopped dried mandarin oranges (Trader Joe’s)

Orangecello

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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 tea.

3.  In a smaller bowl, whisk together the eggs and orange extract.

4.  With a rubber spatula, stir the egg mixture into the flour mixture until the dough just starts to come together.  Drizzle your hands with Orangecello and knead the dough in the bowl until all the ingredients are incorporated and the dough is tacky.

5.  Add the mandarin oranges 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. Brush the tops with Orangecello 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 #36: Use the ends instead of graham crackers to make smores.