There are a lot of things that I love about having this food blog. I love that it forces me to be constantly finding new recipes. I love the way that it makes me try new things, dishes and desserts and breakfasts that I might not otherwise feel tempted to attempt. I love the it is a record, a journal or scrapbook of sorts, of my adventures in the kitchen and the reasons I have made things, the birthdays and holidays I have made cakes and rolls and meals for.
But one thing I don’t so much love about my food blog is that it is limiting, in a way. I have wanted to keep this blog strictly about food, a menagerie of recipes and my stories and pictures about them.
Sometimes, though, there are other things I wish I could share with you. I want to tell you about books I read and sometimes the fun things I do on weekends. I want to discuss faith and spirituality. Sometimes I want to complain and talk about tough things. I want to talk about goals and the things I love about life. And while sometimes these things tie in with the food I’m making, more often than not they don’t. And so for awhile I’ve wanted to create a space where I can share all of these things, and I’ve finally done so at a new site, being a branch. I’ve been writing there for awhile, but I just now feel like it’s the right time to share it, and honestly we’re still working on the design and the layout, so it’s still a bit of a work in progress. But I hope you’ll join me over there.
And now, on to food, because, as I’ve said, that’s why we’re all here. Biscotti. Those little cookies that come in plastic wrappers with your coffee or hot chocolate and which, I’ve always been surprised, are a bit bland and have a texture that it something akin to a thick piece of firm cardboard. There is no crumble, only tough mouth-scraping crunch that hardly seems to be talked away with a dip in the hot chocolate. And to be honest, I never really knew that biscotti could be any different. After all, they are twice baked, so isn’t that how they are supposed to be? Tough?
Well, apparently not. Because this biscotti is crunchy and crumbly at the same time, with a texture like firmly packed brown sugar. Its substance all falls apart in your mouth as soon as your disturb it. And as far as flavor goes, it is so much more than just chocolate chips. If anything, the chocolate chips play a background role, out shined by the warmth of the cinnamon and the general brown-ness of the biscotti. As Anne Burrell says, “brown food tastes good” and I think the same sentiment can also be applied to non-savory items from time to time. And I imagine that the chocolate would also be outplayed by the instant coffee, except I didn’t use it because even though chocolate is only supposed to be enhanced by the presence of coffee, I always find that all I can taste is the coffee.
I made these on Saturday afternoon and we enjoyed them for breakfast the next morning. Although, just between us, they are so easy to break into perfect sized chunks for a small bite of a snack, that they probably disappeared a lot quicker than they should have.
Chocolate Chip Biscotti
adapted from The All-New Ultimate Southern Living Cookbook
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon instant coffee (optional)
2 large eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)
1 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. In a large bowl, combine butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, and (if you’re using it) instant coffee. Cream together with mixer on medium speed until mixture is light and fluffy. Then add eggs, one at a time, beating until well blended.
3. In a medium bowl combine flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Stir to combine. Gradually add to butter mixture, beating on low speed until combined. Then fold in the nuts and chocolate chips with a rubber spatula.
4. Divide the dough in half and place each half on a lightly greased baking sheet. Pat each half down, forming it into a log that is about 1 inch thick, and about 13 to 15 inches long. (Try to keep it thin too, as it will spread out a lot as you bake it.)
5. Bake for about 23 minutes, until firm. Then remove from oven, allowing logs to cool for about 5 minutes on the pan and then transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.
6. Lower the oven temperature to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
7. When the logs are cooled completely, cut each log into diagonal slices about 1/2 inch thick using a serrated knife. Place the slices on an ungreased baking sheet.
8. Bake for 15 minutes. Then flip the biscotti over to the other side and bake for 15 more minutes. Remove from oven and transfer to wire racks to cool. Serve at room temperature.