Friday, April 12, 2013

Eating Omily: Biscotti and Other Adventures

After seven weeks and change of going without sugar, I knew I wanted to celebrate breaking the fast with something fabulous on Easter Sunday, but I also knew I didn't want to dive back into a sugar coma, and the accompanying sugar addiction.  What's a girl to do?  Easy: anise-almond biscotti dipped in dark chocolate.  Home-made from scratch.  Hell yeah.  The Easter treat of champions, with local whole wheat flour, lots of almonds, three eggs, no butter, and only a cup of sugar in the whole batch!  Not exactly low-sugar, but pretty solid for a cookie recipe!  I toasted the almonds myself a day ahead, and woke up early to chop them by hand.  I love baking.  Watching the ingredients transform into a subtly sweet, aromaticly flavored dough is a beautiful proccess to observe.
Here's one loaf of biscotti fresh from the oven.  My loaves usually meld together in the middle, but it's easy enough to carefully separate them.  But wait, I know: 'Loaf??  Biscotti??? Are these not the things you dip in your coffee??' Don't panic, guys.  You clearly don't speak Italian.  Biscotti can be translated to, 'twice cooked' or 'baked.'  You make the dough, shape it into loaves, bake it till light  golden-brown and set, and then let it cool for a bit while you turn down the oven.
Then you carefully slice the biscotti (on a bias for longer, more elegant cookies), lay them cut-side down on the cookie sheet, and bake them for ten minutes, then turn over, and bake for another ten minutes.  I guess technically these sort of get baked three times.  Oh well.
Are they starting to look a bit familiar?  Those rounded-triangle-shaped pieces on the end are a special treat reserved for the baker.  I don't put those back into the oven, and they have a soft, almost cakey texture on the inside, and are perfectly perfumed with lemon zest, toasted almonds, and anise seed.  So yummy!!
Here they are after the twenty-minute second bake, and after a dip in melted extra dark Belgian chocolate.  Yum.  When dipped in coffee, the crunchiness softens, and the chocolate melts for a perfectly decadent treat, and of course, by the end of the cookie, your coffee is subtley perfumed with the flavors of the biscotti, too.  Perfecto!  I use the recipe from Alice Water's, The Art of Simple Food, though the dark chocolate dip is my own genius addition.  Even if you don't like licorice, and are hesitant to add the anise, try it!  It's subtle, and perfect, and I hate licorice!

On a side note, I was at the Farmer's Market and saw this perfect addition to your locavore brunch table.  Can't wait to try it!!
Might be leaving this one for the next food adventurer, though...
I also picked up a thank you note for my favourite vendor at the Manager's tent.  How fun!
Did you celelbrate Easter with special treats?  Are you familar with scrapple, that special southern delicacy?  If you like crafting more than baking, why not make your own thank you cards for local farmers!


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