September 02, 2008

I fall for baking.

The arrival of fall means back to school for some. For me, it means back to being able to fire up the oven. Buh-bye excessive humidity! To celebrate the knobs on the stove once again turning to the “on” position, and to play along with The Inspired Room’s Fall Nesting Party, I figured I’d share one of my favorite ways to nest during the autumn season: Baking and eating!

I’ve worked pretty diligently in the laboratory (re: apartment’s kitchen) to perfect a biscotti recipe that would be worthy of my partner’s Italian heritage (and his gastronomic stamp of approval). This is the formula that stuck…

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Spread ½ to ¾ cup almond slivers on a cookie sheet and pop them in the oven for 8 minutes or so (until fragrant) while the oven is heating. Remove and let cool.

With a mixer, combine:
½ cup sugar (I use organic raw sugar…and I really think the raw sugar makes quite a difference)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon almond extract
2 large eggs (or equivalent)

In a separate bowl, whisk together:
1 cup spelt flour (you can sub in all-purpose but I just love spelt flour)
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

Slowly blend the dry ingredients in to the wet until just combined.

Stir in the almonds, and ½ to ¾ cup dried cranberries

I line my cookie tray with parchment paper (you can use a
silpat mat if you have) and form two (definitely imperfect!) logs, like this:

Try to keep them a compact width (I’d say about 2” – 3”) and about a foot long, but as they bake you’ll see it’s pretty forgiving. (NOTE: If the dough is feeling super, duper sticky and not holding its shape, you can toss in up to 1/4 c. additional flour.)

Bake for 35 minutes.

Don’t freak out if it looks like your logs have flattened out a bit more than you’d like: When you slice just sharpen the angle to give your biscotti some extra height. Let the logs cool about 10 minutes when you remove from the oven, then use a bread (serrated) knife and slice on a sharp angle (the sharper the angle, the longer the biscotti):

Place the slices on the cookie sheet and back in the oven for 10 minutes. Remove; flip around, and toast the other sides for another 10 minutes. As the biscotti are cooling, melt a 6 ounce premium white chocolate bar (I use Ghiardelli, either in a microwave or over a double boiler (the wrapper will have melting methods). I use a mixing bowl over sauce pan of gently boiling water.

Now it’s time to channel your inner Jackson Pollock. Spoon the melted chocolate into a pastry bag fitted with a small round piping tip, or simply put in a small sandwich bag and cut a tiny hole out of one of the bottom corners (voila! Instant pastry bag. Try to use recycled bags to offset the indiscretion of wasting the bag on melted chocolate. Though is melted chocolate ever *really* a waste? :-)

Go bananas and pipe the melted goodness randomly across your tray of biscotti.

After they’ve dried for a while (when the chocolate firms) store in an airtight container. Since I was gifting mine, I bought oversized canning jars at a store in Manhattan called Surprise, Surprise, where the surprise is that there's a store in NYC where stuff like this is affordable (the larger jar was $3.25, I think). I whipped up some fancy labels (well…not fancy. They’re just done in Word and printed on clear shipping labels), and it’s off to the harvest party! (Or, family reunion as the case was here.)


sarah @ a beach cottage said...

oh Laura they look so good, I love biscotti, I am a rubbish baker, like really rubbish, but with that recipe I might have a go, what do you think, is it really easy for someone like me? love the labels too, really adds the finishing touch, Fall really has the whole baking and fattening up feel to it doesn't it?

I've been a bit awol the last few days, did I comment to you about the blue pots - like people dumped the soil on the owners??? can you believe that, too awful...i bet you wished you'd rolled 'em home

oh and guess what, the paint has somehow stuck overnight, that goodness

happy days lol!


Hooked on Houses said...

I've never tried making biscotti. I bet this would make a great gift, like when you go to a party and need something for the hostess. Looks delish.

Hey, you did pretty good here considering you had to follow Martha Stewart on Mr. Linky. Ha. Who let her into the party, that's what I want to know. -Julia ;-)

Lauren said...

Beautiful!! I will have to try your recipe. I have never made biscotti, but I did make a loaf of whole wheat bread yesterday. :)

Bella Casa said...

I should make those for all of my boys (dh included)...I bet they would love those!

I love how you packaged them up, so rustic and pretty!


Pat@Back Porch Musings said...

Looks delish. I've never tried this, but I might just have to!

Happy Fall Nesting!

Courtney said...

mmmmm....this makes my hungry Laura. Can I have some please?? Btw, I love the packaging too.

Kirstin said...

Yum, that sounds so good! Thank you for sharing.

Melissa @ The Inspired Room said...

WOW, serious nesting here! That looks so yummy! Such cute labels too!

Thanks for helping us all get our FALL IN GEAR! Super ideas!



Anonymous said...

Cooking and eating - two of my favourite things :) The biscotti looks gorgeous and a really good present for someone. Thanks for sharing! x

please sir said...

Ummm...YUM! These look so good - how wonderful to give these out for fall!

Pat said...

Oh my Laura! those biscotti look so good! I'll ahve to try thsi recipe soon.

I mentioned Jackson Pollack in my blog today too so funny!

Hugs, Pat

Teresa said...

Okay, you convinced me to do some cooking- great idea-

Tricia Anne said...

Oh yum! Baking in the fall! Nothing compares!
Sincerely ~ Tricia Anne

heidi said...

YUM! would love to dunk those in hot chocolate.

Rue said...

Hi Laura :)

WOW! Those look so good.... yum!

I need to find something to stuff into my face now... thanks! LOL


Jenni @ nest to keep said...

Oh yum, I love biscotti! And yours looks so delicious! They also look very classy in the jars with the little labels! Wow, I'm impressed! :)

Hope you have a wonderful rest of your day! :)

Fifi Flowers said...

WOW! Those look delicious! Perfect for my morning coffee!
I sooooo hate to bake... but I am looking forward to Fall and making SOUP!

muralimanohar said...

Okay, now I totally need a biscotti and coffee. Will have to try these later.

Anonymous said...

Hi Laura,
Later this month, can you post your candied ginger scones recipe! I want to impress my neighbors.

Ms. Tee said...

Oh my goodness - I am so hungry now! I'll have to make this - my son looooves biscotti. Thanks for sharing! :) said...

If I get your egg basket for you...I'm gonna need some biscotti i turn. :) said...

If I get your egg basket for you...I'm gonna need some biscotti i turn. :)

Catherine Holman said...

This is my favorite time of the year for baking too. Thanks for sharing the recipe for this scrumptious looking biscotti!

The Berry's Patch said...

Looks yummy! Great gift idea. :-)

Laura B. said...


Mrs. B said...

Mmmmmm... I love biscotti! And it looks so nice how you've packaged it up in the jars! Happy baking!

Maureen said...

That looks delicious!

Anonymous said...

Oh yum! Thanks for sharing the recipe.. I love biscotti~ and they make great gifts!!!

Thanks for visiting my blog!

Anonymous said...

MMM they looks SO good - I have never made biscotti but may have to try my hand at this. I am not quite in the baking mood yet though because its like 91 degrees out today...Hopefully it will drop soon!

Kristin said...

I swear, the days when the temperature starts dropping and the sun starts falling earlier, all I can think about is baking! Apple crisp is the quintessential fall dessert for me... love it!

I'm definitely going to try this biscotti. It looks delicious. Thanks for sharing! ;)

Anonymous said...

OH I'm a sucker for biscotti-mom and I make it every fall. Yay! I do believe we will try your recipe this time!

Laura @ the shorehouse. said...

Oh my gosh everyone! Thanks for your kind comments. I've been squirreled away on a huge work project so to come home to your happy comments has made my day. Thank you! :-) Just plugging in the camera to download photos eludes me right now so instead…I’m going to thank you each…

Sarah…you can do it! If you can get that paint to stick on tiles you can totally do this. :-)

Julia…I couldn’t believe whose footsteps I followed in on Mr. Linky. I considered waiting a couple of hours. ;-)

Hi Lauren! I think I’m going to take a bread baking class next month…I’ve never made bread and I’d love to!

Bella…love your new blog name!

Pat…give it a whirl! And your home is lovely.

Courtney…yes; you may have some. :-)

Kristin…love your new house!

Melissa…thanks for “inspiring” this post! You rounded up a lot of goodies.

Violetposey…you sound like a gal after my own heart!

Please sir…I’d always be happy to bake you some. :-)

Pat…what are the chances we both mentioned Jackson Pollock? Hahaha!

Teresa…I hope you’ll give it a try.

Tricia Anne…Agreed! It’s still pretty hot here, so in a way I’m looking forward to the fall. (Just hate the getting dark early thing.)

Heidi…mmmmm! Hot chocolate. I’ve also drizzled these with dark chocolate, which is pretty delish, too.

Rue…Hahahaha! Hope you found something suitable. :-)

Jenni…Thanks, Jenni! I think the jars came out pretty classy. A fancier bow could up the ante a bit, too.

Fifi…you make the soup, I’ll bring dessert!

Muralimanohar…Awesome with coffee. Or red wine. ;-)

DAWN!...OMG! So happy to see you’ve blown in from the windy city. :-) I’d be happy to share…and will!

Ms. Tee…Your son will love these (and I loved your fall ideas…I’m swiping some!)

Iloveupstate…Game on! I’d be *totally* happy to bake some for you.

Catherine…I loved looking at your folk arty blog! Glad you’re a baker, too.

The Berry’s Patch…totally fun gifts! I want to find some different containers, too.

Laura B…they are, if I do say so myself. ;-)

Mrs. B…I loved the jars and the price was right (I went in the store looking for tins).

Maureen…thanks! I loved your back to school humor post. :-)

Deepfriedapplepies…I loved your blog (but hated the tire incident! Yikes.)

My home, my life…I know…it’s still so hot here! I love your new blog…I want to make your popcorn!

Kristin…oooo…I’ll swap some biscotti for apple crisp! :-) Hope your trip was good and looking forward to pics!

Laundry…I’d be honored. :-) Plus it will make your new home smell yummy.

Melissa Lewis - Off The Wall said...

Oh yummy! These look like such wonderful fall treats! I have to go raid the pantry now:)

Pearl Maple said...

Yumm thanks for sharing your recipe. Only found the Inspired Room and the Fall nesting party today and feeling the need to do something special.

Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

In response to your question about the popcorn in the snack mix - yes you just use a regular sauce pan on the stove. You just buy a bag of popcorn kernels and pop them like that. It reminds me of the old fashion way to do it but I think its so good like that!

And I am sure you can use cranberries instead of raisens. I thought about adding some time mine but just forgot too.

Hope you enjoy!

Ramona said...

Oh my good golly...I swear that I can almost smell the yummy aroma of those baking in my home! I am going to try your recipe...thank you for sharing! Happy baking!

Thanks for stopping by my ol' corner of the world to say hi!

Smiles ~ Ramona

Meghan said...

I'll be there in 5 mins for some of these!!

jill said...

Sounds like a great recipe. Nothing like the smell of home baking to say, 'fall'!

Sandy Toes said...

When is breakfast? Wow...those look so beautiful...they look fairly easy! The jars with the labels are so cute and creative!

-Sandy Toes

Cherry's Jubilee said...

OHHHH I love fave is pumpkin. I will be trying this...thanks! cherry

black eyed susans kitchen said...

Laura, Rue sent me over to see your blog when it occurred to her today that we live in the same area. I always knew that the Jersey Shore has some of the nicest and most talented people. I've been working on changing peoples minds about Jersey, one post and one reader at a time. Susan

Lisa @ Stop and Smell the Chocolates said...

That looks lovely! I love biscotti and it does make a wonderful gift. They look so pretty in the jars.

Freckles Chick said...

I'm dying to try this recipe! Thx for sharing. As soon as the weather cools, I bust out my baking pans (and the crockpot!). Don't you just adore fall? =)

preppy little dress said...

thanks for sharing your recipe! great gift idea!

Liz said...

YUM!!!!!!!!!!! Love it!

jeanne @ Inspiring Ideas said...

Wow! Fabulous gifts! I've never made biscotti but your great post makes it seem doable! Thanks!