The Freshman Cook: September 2010

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A really good neighbor is just the luck of the draw, is it not? I mean, you can’t plan who your neighbors will be. My family and I had a great neighbor when we lived in Utah. He lived next door, and he never grumbled or complained when our dog barked or when my son and his group of 20 or so  friends would come into the yard to ride the bike jumps my son built on the neighbors side of the house. He would come over early, in the cold morning snow, and scrape our driveway with his 4 wheeler, so we wouldn’t have to go out there later using a shovel.  I could easily spend an hour in the backyard, on a clear summer afternoon, talking over the fence with my neighbor, about what was going on in our little piece of paradise and basically solving all the problems of the world! He was a great neighbor and a nice person. After we left I sent him some holiday biscotti, (they are great to mail because they are sturdy) along with some other treats for the holidays. I got a call from him saying how much he liked the treats, but how much he loved those long cookies with the cranberries. So I sent him some more, and every couple months I would send the holiday biscotti with another kind of  biscotti for him to try. Sometimes he liked the new, and sometimes he doesn’t. I value his opinion, so I keep sending him different biscotti to try, but I have a feeling that I always have to send the holiday biscotti. This month I am sending him the holiday biscotti and some biscotti with a fall design to it. Maybe something with apples, pecans, and caramel. I don’t know. I will have to think about it and experiment. (That’s my favorite part!!) If he likes it I will share it with you! But he loves the holiday biscotti, so here is the recipe:
Holiday Biscotti (adapted from Giada De Laurentiis, (but changed just slightly) Ingredients: 2 cups all purpose flour 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder 3/4 cup sugar 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest 1/4 teaspoon salt 2 large eggs

3/4 cup pistachios, coarsely chopped  FRESHMAN TIP:( This means chopped, but to no particular size)

2/3 cup craisins Preheat oven to 350. Line your baking sheet with parchment paper.

Whisk the flour and  baking powder into a medium bowl.

FRESHMAN TIP: Zesting (Is that a word?) Well it should be!! Because that is what we are doing here. 

 Wash your lemon, then pull the lemon along the zester, but don’t go too deep into the skin. You don’t want to use the white part of the lemon skin. Only the yellow. The white has a bitter flavor that will ruin your recipe.

This is what your teaspoon of grated lemon zest should look like. In the interest of always trying to use everything I buy, I usually will make something with the lemon juice within the next day or two. That way nothing gets wasted. If I can’t seem to make it happen in that time frame, I at least squeeze the lemon to get the juice out, and I usually use it for tea or to flavor my water.

Beat the sugar, butter, lemon zest, and salt in a large bowl to blend. Beat in the eggs 1 at a time.

 Add the flour mix  and beat until just blended.

It should look like this:

Add your pistachios and craisins and mix in with a spoon.

Your dough will be rather thick. Place it on your baking sheet, and stretch and pat out the dough until it becomes a log measuring 13″ long and 3″ wide. It is important to measure the dough. Use a plastic ruler that can be easily washed. The ruler can also be used to square your sides, so your biscotti  loaf is even .

   Bake until it is light golden, about 35 minutes.

Remove your biscotti from the oven, and let it cool for 20 minutes. Then cut the biscotti into 1/2 ” wide pieces. I like to use a serrated edge knife to cut with. I use it like a saw, and it seems to minimize any  crumbling. The biscotti will crumble a little, but don’t worry. 

Place your sliced pieces back on a cookie sheet, with a side up. Put them back into the oven for 10 minutes.

Pull the biscotti out of the oven and flip the pieces over, so that the other side can be finished.

 Let them bake for 5 minutes longer.

This is your finished product. They take a little while longer than most cookies, but they are worth it! These are great to dunk in tea, coffee, milk or even hot chocolate. Try them and let me know what you think!

With the holidays coming up they are a great cookie to send to family and friends far away.

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