Archive for 2006

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Recipe for Biscotti & Homage to Good Coffee

The word “biscotti” literally means twice baked. Biscotti is all the rage in coffee shops and tea rooms and I think one of the main reasons is it will keep for a very long time. Because it is found mostly in shops where you don’t blink at paying $3+ for a cup of coffee some may think it hard to make or even an exotic treat. The opposite is quite true. It is very easy and the variations are endless. Don’t be afraid to try baking this Italian cookie. I think Rachel and I will bake a batch today and maybe post a tutorial.

Back to the “gourmet” coffee shops where we fork over sometimes even $4 or more for a cup a joe. And I can’t even say a good cup of joe. I am not a fan of chain shop coffees. Convenient? Yeah I suppose. But I prefer to make a pot for my thermos and just take that with me. It is very seldom that I purchase a cup of coffee and go “WOW, now this is good coffee.” I won’t pick on any chain in particular, because quite frankly, it very well may just be me. It sure seems lots of people disagree with me, as everytime I go into the city there is a new “coffee cafe”. And a line at the drive up and several people standing in line to place an order inside. Oh and I am well aware what a stroke of genius it was to open the first one. However, if you are like me, and very particular about your coffee I can tell you there is no better than Green Mountain Coffee from Vermont. I don’t really remember how exactly I tasted it the first time, since I have never been to Vermont. But the moment it hit my taste buds I was smitten. I place an order about once a month or so. And if you are so inclined and decide to order let me tell you the very best blend. Purchase a bag of each: Ethiopian Yirgacheffe, Tanzanian Peaberry and Dark Magic┬« Espresso. Mix these in equal parts. OH MY – Rich and in my opinion what a cup of coffee is supposed to taste like. Granted it might be hard for one person to drink roughly 3 pounds of coffee before it is stale in the bags so maybe you would want to get together with friends and divide it. I am warning you though, you will be hooked. And I can say this about Green Mountain Coffee ~ their customer service is just as great as their coffee. You will love doing business with this company. Oh, I could go on and on about this…both coffee in general and GMC…but I will get to the recipe for Biscotti.


Traditional Italian Biscotti

12 ounces of butter at room temperature
1 3/4 cup white sugar
6 large eggs
1 tsp anise extract (I do not like anise and traditional biscotti calls for it. So I substitute almond 1/2 tsp).
2 tsp vanilla extract
6 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
8 ounces chopped almonds

Preheat oven to 350. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar together. Add eggs one at a time. Beat until fluffy. Stir in
flavorings. Sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Add them to the egg mixture along with the almonds. Stir with a spoon and as the dough comes together, knead by hand.

Divide the dough into 4 parts. Roll each piece into a log about 15 inches long. Place logs onto cookie sheets two to a sheet the long way. Flatten the logs out until they are about 3 inches wide with a slight hump going down the middle. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until lightly browned and firm. As soon as they loaves are cool enough to touch, slice them diagonally into 1/2 inch pieces. Place the slices onto the cookies sheets and return to the oven. Bake 7-8 minutes on one side, turn over the slices and repeat for another 5-6 minutes or until cookies are crisp and light brown. Place on wire racks to cool. Store in an air tight containter for up to 4 weeks. Biscotti can be frozen for no longer than 3 months.

Number 2 of 27 Things to Live By: Be the first to forgive. (This is one of the hardest things for me.)


Another Lovely Cookbook

Okay…I have a thing for books…especially cookbooks…even more especially BEAUTIFUL cookbooks. This is a gem I tell you!
You might wonder how one could devote 300 or so pages to eggs. Well Chef Michael Roux had no difficulties whatsoever. And photographer Martin Brigdale does every recipe justice. It is absolutely gorgeous! From egg basics to so many amazing recipes…this book is a must have. You will not be sorry you bought this book!

I admit I have always had a special place on my “these are a few of my favorite things” list, for eggs. I love the colors, the texture, the unlimited use for the egg.

Eggs by Michael Roux
Photography by Martin Brigdale


Recipe of the Day: Susan's Chocolate Chip Cookies

For years I cringed when my sweet man would ask about Chocolate Chip Cookies. For a couple of reasons. One, his mother might have been the best cookie baker on the face of this earth and two, mine never turned out the same way twice. They were just different versions of “not very good chocolate chip cookies”.

But after nearly 30 years of trying and failing…I think these are the perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies for me! Before you stroke out about the margarine AND shortening in this recipe, remember I was going for best, not healthiest.

Susan’s Chocolate Chip Cookies

3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar (packed)
1/4 cup each of butter (unsalted) & margarine (not the whipped – I use Parkay), softened
1/2 cup shortening
1 TBSP vanilla, 1/2 tsp each of butter, coconut & almond flavorings
2 large farm fresh eggs slightly beaten, room temperature
3 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
3 cups chocolate chips (I use a variety of milk chocolate, semi sweet and bittersweet)
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup coconut

Preheat oven to 375. In a large bowl, combine sugars; add butter, margarine and shortening and cream together with sugars. Add eggs one at a time beating after each addition. Stir in the milk and vanilla. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt, stir into the creamed mixture. Using a wooden spoon, stir in the chocolate chips, nuts and coconut.

Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets.

BAKE for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

PAN COOKIE VARIATION: Grease 15 x 10-inch jelly-roll pan. Prepare dough as above. Spread into prepared pan. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. Cool in pan on wire rack. Makes 4 dozen bars.

PREPARE dough as above. Divide in half; wrap in waxed paper. Refrigerate for 1 hour or until firm. Shape each half into 15-inch log; wrap in waxed paper. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.* Preheat oven to 375┬░ F. Cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices; place on ungreased baking sheets. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely. Makes about 5 dozen cookies.

* May be stored in refrigerator for up to 1 week or in freezer for up to 8 weeks.

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