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.
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.
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.