Thursday, November 12, 2009

Biscotti — the way to a man's heart

I love coffee. Rich, almost thick coffee, with a small whack of sugar and smoothing splash of milk sometimes even half and half. But what truly makes a cup of coffee, for me, is something that is only dipped, temporarily into the cup, and that's my wife's biscotti.

Dried cherries, oven toasted hazelnuts and a little lemon zest all combine to make these just about perfect.

A good cup of coffee, a crisp biscotti ready for dipping, and my morning London Free Press, the perfect way to start a day.

If you'd like to try making my wife's biscotti you'll need:

4 cups (1 l) all-purpose flour
2 tsp (10 ml) baking powder
1/2 tsp (2 ml) salt
Grated lemon zest from 1 lemon
1 cup (250 ml) sliced hazelnuts lightly toasted in the oven or in a dry frying pan
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups (225 ml) granulated sugar
1/2 cup (125ml) vegetable oil
1 tbsp (15 ml) lemon juice
1 tsp (5 ml) vanilla extract - use the real stuff and not vanillin
1 cup (250 ml) dried cherries

1. Preheat the oven to 325°F (160°C)

2. Line a large baking pan with parchment paper.

3. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder,salt, lemon zest and hazelnuts.

4. Using a KitchenAid stand mixer, beat eggs until fluffy and a light coloured.

5. Slowly beat in sugar, then oil, lemon juice and vanilla.

6. Slowly add flour mixture and stir until dry mixture is nearly absorbed.

7. Finally, stir in dried cherries.

8. With water-moistened hands divide dough in half and form each into a loaf about 15 inches (38 cm) long and 4 inches (10 cm) wide on a baking sheet. Keep loaves at least 2 inches (5 cm) apart.

9. Bake from 35 to 40 minutes or until small cracks are visible and tops are golden.

10. Slice loaves onto a large cutting board and cut crosswise into 1/2 inch (1 1/4 cm) thick slices. If the knife blade becomes sticky, wipe with a damp cloth.

11. Stand slices upright and about 1/2 inch (1 1/4 cm) apart on baking pan.

12. Reduce oven temperature to 300°F (150°C) and bake 30 to 35 minutes or until biscotti are dry to the touch.

13. Remove from oven and cool on baking sheet sitting on a rack.

14. When completely cool, store in airtight containers.

This should make about four dozen biscotti. This is enough for more than three weeks if you share them with your partner and you both show proper restraint.


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