For years I was the proud owner of a 1980’s flip phone. My life was good, and it was simple. I could make calls and receive calls, and I lived in the moment. I wasn’t distracted by my electronic device like the masses of people around me. Yeah, you know who you are. Sadly, I haven’t had a conversation with either one of my son’s in years because I can’t get them to put down their phones for more than three minutes. I wondered to myself, what was happening on these phones that was so riveting. Was I missing out on something? Was I suddenly becoming obsolete.
I started getting a lot of pressure from my friends regarding my lo-tech device. They were frustrated because I couldn’t text them, or send them photos. And so, much to my dismay, I gave in and recently purchased an iPhone 5 as well as an iPad. These devices, which I had regarded as the downfall of civilization as we know it, have become my new obsession. So, here I am totally detached from the people around me because I’m so busy texting, tweeting and Instagraming because lord knows, the world is dying to see another photo of the burger I’m having for dinner. I want to go back to my old life where I had meaningful conversations with people, but I’m afraid that’s no longer possible. I have an app that helps me convert ounces to grams, and one that tells me which transit to take when I’m in New York City, and honestly that’s a whole lot more interesting than talking to people. Am I right, or what.
However, today, I told myself “Mama, step away from the phone”. I pulled out the cookie sheets and decided to return to my old obsession…baking. I decided to share with you one of my all time favorites, the Lemon Pine Nut Biscotti, which I will undoubtedly enjoy as I tweet a photo of the finished product.
Pine Nut Biscotti
From Great Cookies by Carole Walter
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon cardamom
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 stick unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon zest
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 large egg
- 2 large egg yolks
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup toasted pine nuts, divided
- 1 large egg white, lightly beaten with 2 teaspoons of water
- 1 1/2 cups sifted powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon corn syrup
- 1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
- About 1 tablespoon hot water (or a little bit more)
- Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or a silpat. Place the oven racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven, or if you have a double one, place them in the center rack position. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Sift all the dry ingredients together in a medium bowl and then set aside.
- Place the butter and the lemon zest together in the bowl of an electric mixer using the paddle attachment and mix on medium speed. Then add the sugar in a few increments and beat for 1-2 minutes longer.
- Beat in the egg, then the yolks and vanilla and mix for another minute or two.
- Reduce the mixer to low speed and add the dry ingredients in several additions and mix just until the ingredients are incorporated. Do not over mix. Using a spatula, gently fold in 1/4 cup of the toasted pine nuts.
- Spoon half of the dough onto one of the baking sheets, and with lightly floured hands form the dough into two, 2 x 14 inch logs, with one log on each sheet.
- Using a pastry brush, brush each log with the egg wash and sprinkle the pine nuts on top of each log, pressing them into the dough so that they stick to the dough.
- Bake each log for 18-20 minutes until they become browned. Remove the sheets from the oven and let the cookie cool for 15 minutes.
- Lower the oven temp to 325 degrees F. Take each log off the cookies sheet one at a time, and place on a cutting board. Using a good serrated knife begin to slice the log into 1/4 ” slices that you slice on an angle. If you like a thicker cookie, make each slice 1/2 ” instead.
- Lay the cookies down on their flat side back on the sheet and place in the oven for another 9 minutes. Turn the biscotti over and then bake for another 9 minutes.
- While the cookies are baking, in a medium bowl, add the powdered sugar, lemon juice, corn syrup and water to make a drizzling consistency glaze. If it’s too thick to drizzle, add a little water in small increments til you get the right consistency.
- Drizzle while the cookies are still warm. Let them cool to room temperature on a cooling rack so that the glaze hardens.
Yielded about 3 dozen biscotti
To toast the pine nuts: Place the nuts in a small, dry frying pan over a low heat, constantly stirring the nuts until they begin to turn light brown in color. Don’t leave them unattended as they will burn quickly. Toasting them will bring out their natural oils and that “nutty” flavor making your biscotti that much better.
I love crunch and I love nuts, and come on friends, we’ve been over this again and again…you know how obsessed I am with chocolate. So here we have it, Chocolate Biscotti, it’s a virtual no-brainer! And, as if this cookie is not already sheer perfection, yes, you guessed it, it’s dipped in a lovely chocolate glaze. Need I say more?
Well…of course I’ll say more, that’s what I do. I love to make biscotti simply because they’re so easy. You shape the dough into logs, bake ’em, slice them while they’re still warm, and then, bake ’em again. These biscuits are really perfect to accompany a cup of coffee or a hot cup of tea, but seriously I eat six of these before the coffee’s even brewed. I’m so bad.
But I’m still not done touting the virtues of this humble confection. These little gems will store for at least a couple of weeks in an airtight container (yeah right, like these would last at my house for a couple of weeks!) And, if you’re like me and you love to send your friends and loved ones homemade treats, these will arrive at their intended destination fully intact. So what more could a girl ask for…well, maybe a flat stomach and longer legs, but that ‘aint gonna happen.
From “Great Cookies” by Carole Walter
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1/3 cup sifted cocoa powder
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 3 large eggs
- pinch of salt
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter melted and cooled to tepid
- 1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
- 1 bag (12 ounce) semi sweet chocolate chips
- 1/3 cup water
- 1/3 cup light corn syrup
- 1 cup sugar
- 8 ounces good quality semi sweet chocolate
- Place the racks in the oven in the upper and lower thirds. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line your baking sheets with parchment or a silpat.
- Sift together the flour, cocoa and baking powder and set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the eggs and salt on medium speed until lightened in color, about two minutes. Gradually add the sugar, then beat in the vanilla. Pour the tepid butter down the side of the bowl and beat for 30 more seconds.
- Using a spatula, stir in the walnuts and chocolate chips, then fold in the dry ingredients in three additions, mixing only until ingredients are incorporated. Let the dough rest for ten minutes to thicken.
- Drop the dough by heaping spoonfuls onto the pans and form four logs (2 logs on each pan) measuring about 10 inches by 2 inches wide. Flour your hands lightly so you can easily work with the dough.
- Bake for 25 minutes, or until set on top. Let logs cool on pan for at least 20 minutes.
- Lower the oven temperature to 325 degrees F. Using a serrated knife, cut the logs into 1/2″ slices. Turn the slices cut side up, and return to the oven to bake for 10 minutes. Turn the cookies onto their other side and return to the oven for another 10 minutes until cookies are crisp. When done, remove from oven and let cookies cool.
- To make the glaze: Place the water, corn syrup and sugar into a heavy 2-quart saucepan. Bring to a boil over low heat, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and add the chocolate. Let it stand for 3 minutes, then whisk until smooth. Let the mixture sit for 5 minutes to thicken, then dip the ends of the cookies in the glaze and place on parchment until the chocolate is set.
I’m really excited that I’ll be participating in the 2012 Los Angeles Foodbloggers Bake Sale on April 28th. This year it’s being hosted by my new friend Chung-Ah Rhee from Damn Delicious. The bake sale is being held at BLD Restaurant, located at 7450 Beverly Boulevard in Los Angeles from 11:30-2:00 pm. The proceeds will benefit the No Kid Hungry Campaign. What could be a better cause than that. Last year the sale brought in $25,000, but this year they’re goal is $50,000.
I haven’t really decided what I’ll be baking for the sale, but I thought I would definitely do these Cherry Walnut Biscotti. They’re a big favorite of my friend Carol, who was recently out here on a business trip from Philadelphia. I made a batch just for her, but between the two of us they were gone in about an hour. I doubt she’s going to like me telling you this, but she’ll never find out.
Cherry Walnut Biscotti
From Williams Sonoma
- 1 stick unsalted butter at room temperature*
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup roughly chopped walnuts
- 1/2 cup dried cherries, coarsely chopped
- 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.
- In the large bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter on high-speed until fluffy and pale yellow. Add the sugar and continue beating for about 2 minutes. Reduce the speed to low and add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla.
- In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Gradually add the flour mixture to the egg mixture and beat on low speed just until blended. Mix in walnuts, cherries and orange zest until evenly distributed. The batter will be very soft.
- Turn the batter out onto a generously floured work surface and divide in half. With well-floured hands, transfer one half to a baking sheet and shape into a log 12 inches long and 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Repeat with the other half of batter on the next baking sheet.
- Bake the logs until the edges are golden, about 25-30 minutes. Place pan on wire rack and let logs cool for about 10 minutes. Using a serrated knife, cut the logs (I gently transferred my log to a cutting board) 1/2 inch wide. Carefully turn the slices on the side back onto the baking sheet and return to the oven for another 10 minutes. Let the biscotti cool completely on the pans. Store in airtight containers.
I really hope that if you’re in the neighborhood on April 28th, you’ll come out and support the bake sale. A lot of the best food bloggers in Los Angeles are participating, so you know all the goodies are going to be good!