Try as I might, when each summer rolls around and I tell myself I’ll only do bare-minimum-cooking with fresh food and will strictly avoid using the oven (especially when it involves my coveted refined white sugar), I don’t exactly follow through.
The fact that I can’t keep away from the oven and sweets isn’t exactly a surprise, but that doesn’t stop me from hoping that each summer I’ll be a little different. One has to hope!
I know I’ve already transgressed those limits so far this summer multiple times, what with that grain-free chocolate cake I made for the Fourth of July, or that pistachio baklava, or the flourless chocolate torte. And let’s be honest with oursleves, the non-oven-and-sweet food I’ve been making hasn’t exactly been utilizing summer’s generous offers of fruits and vegetables.
So did I feel a little guilt for whirring up the oven to bake up cookies on a bright and sunny day last week? You bet I did! And yet, after I had a big batch of biscotti, ready to be dipped in coffee or tea for breakfast (like normal people such as my family) or dipped in milk at night before bed (like me and ten-year-olds), it didn’t feel so wrong anymore. After all, biscotti aren’t the type of ooey-gooey cookies that you want to indulge in fresh out of the oven; they’re not even the type of cookie you want to eat while still warm at all. And, alas, we all need some form of carb-y treats to enjoy in the summertime, don’t we?
I’ll save you my shpeel about the specifics of what I think the ideal type of biscotti is, seeing as I wrote a lengthy post on it about a year ago. I will quickly note, though, that even if I’m not an authority on Italian baking, I do know that biscotti shouldn’t be floury and dry. This recipe (simply an adaption of the one I loved and posted on a year ago) is able to provide a hard, crunchy texture that withstands crumbling when dipped in coffee, but still secures the kind of moistness that I think all cookies, to some extent, need.
I glazed some of the biscotti with white chocolate on one side, which I didn’t get a chance to capture with my camera. I don’t particularly like white chocolate (and neither does my family), but Waylon told me that he loved chocolate-dipped biscotti because he likes the way the chocolate melts and swirls in his coffee during his breakfast. Even though I still don’t think I’d enjoy the white chocolate part, that certainly does sound lovely, doesn’t it? So feel free to dip and glaze these cookies to your heart’s content.
And with that, I unabashedly leave you by advising you to spite the sun that’s been shining and bake up a batch of these biscotti cookies.
One Year Ago: Roasted Chickpeas
Adapted from Karen DeMasco, via my post on Pistachio-Cherry Biscotti
Makes about 25-30 cookies
2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3 large eggs
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons lemon zest
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
3/4 cup dried cherries
2/3 cup unsalted, untoasted almonds, roughly chopped
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and position a rack in the center. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
Whisk together the eggs, olive oil, lemon zest, vanilla extract and almond extract in a medium bowl. Set aside. Meanwhile, combine the flour, sugar, oats, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until mixed. Add in the egg mixture and mix on medium speed until combined, about 20 seconds. Fold in cherries and almonds until combined.
Transfer dough to a clean work surface; divide in half. Shape each dough half into logs 12-14 inches long and 2-3 inches wide. If the dough is wet, use floured hands to shape the logs. Transfer logs onto the lined baking sheet; reshape and fix anything if necessary. Bake in the preheated oven, rotating the sheet halfway through, until browned and set, about 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer to a rack and let cool for about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, reduce the oven temperature to 250 degrees F.
Transfer biscotti to a work surface. Using a serrated knife, cut each strip on the diagonal (to create longer biscotti), and about 1/2 inch thick. Arrange the slices, cut side down, on the baking sheet, and bake in the adjusted oven until crisp, about 30 to 40 minutes. Transfer to wire racks to cool completely. Store any cookies in an air-tight container for up to a week.
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