I’ve been checking lots of things off my “To Bake” list lately.
there are certain things I revisit over and over, to perfect, to try new flavor combinations & substitutions. one of those things is biscotti. I turned to Alice Medrich, who is the ultimate cookie queen. she has a great basic recipe that covered the requirements for texture and flavor.
thinking of what I had in my pantry, I got to cooking.
at the farmer’s market today, I bought some dried Rainier cherries. they were beautiful, sweet, and plump. I thought about rehydrating them somehow, which was, of course, followed by the question, why be boring?
so they went into a nice mixture of an old half bottle of red wine, a spoonful of honey, star anise, dried rose petals, fresh rosemary, and lavender flowers.
I altered the recipe a bit in other ways, using a bit of brown sugar as well as white, and adding some blood orange zest. (apparently farmer’s markets are really inspiring places.)
the recipe uses both all-purpose flour and cornmeal, so it makes for a really interesting texture. I like using the coarse ground cornmeal, the crunchiness is really lovely.
in the end, I would have changed a few things. I sort of fudged up the baking times and the biscotti ended up being a bit overdone. it’s a delicate process, especially because the dried cherries are already soaked in sugar syrup and thus are more prone to burn. next time I’d probably bake it in log form for longer, then turn the temperature down after slicing.
overall, a great recipe with tons of possibilities for variations. my favorite.
you guys, this is my new obsession. there are honestly few things I would rather have every day.
ginger is known to have multiple health benefits, and is used as a treatment for upset stomach, cold & flu, and even body pains. I’ve been drinking this stuff at least once a day and it feels awesome. since I was also sick this past week, I’ve been trying to get in as much ginger as possible.
it’s so easy to make:
all you need is ginger root, a grater, and a small tea strainer. grate a hunk of ginger (1-2 inches) into the strainer, then pour hot water over and let steep for 5 minutes. you could let it steep for longer, depending on how delicious and spicy you like your tea. you can also add some lemon juice and honey to make a fancier tea drink. easiest thing ever.
time for tea!
part of the perks of taking care of small children is:
getting their germs!!
before actually getting sick, it seems I caught a serious case of spring fever. I was thinking of projects, making tons of lists, getting excited and getting into action. and then - bam! all that energy is gone and in its place is lots of snot and an annoying cough. I’ve been feeling sort of low.
but being unable to do much else but sit around and stare at all those lists I made, I decided to take a stab at one of them.
and so, another head cold, another baking project crossed off.
this recipe is so great! I adjusted it a little bit, using graham flour instead of whole wheat, and adding in some molasses since I was out of brown sugar. I also used a bit of a different cutting technique, post-baking rather than cutting beforehand, and a generous dusting of sugar on top. because, why not??
adapted from The Craft of Baking
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup graham flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 sticks butter, soft
1/2 c sugar
2 tablespoons unsulphered molasses
2 tablespoons honey
Cream butter, sugar, molasses and honey on medium speed for about 1 minute. Add flours, salt and baking soda in a few additions, mixing at low speed until just incorporated.
Set oven to 350 degrees F.
Press dough into sheet pan (with parchment or Silpat), leaving a bit of room around the edges. Place another sheet of parchment on top of the dough. Use a glass, wine bottle, or small rolling pin to press and smooth the dough. Sprinkle with sugar and place in the oven.
I baked mine about 20 minutes. The edges got pretty dark, but you will cut these away in the end.
Once firm to the touch in the middle, pull out of the oven. Sprinkle with a second coat of sugar, then quickly cut out square or other cutter (get creative here!). Pro tip: Make sure cut-out squares are laying flat back in their places, or they will cool and hold the shape of the curl. While the dough is still hot, you can also prick with a fork and gently press with a knife to make the traditional layout of a true graham.
right now I want to cover these bad boys in some melted chocolate. EDIT: with Nutella is better.
wishing you a happy week & thoughts of spring!