Wednesday, March 14, 2012

cherry•almond biscotti

Until she moved to Alaska last winter, my friend Mandy and I would get together regularly for afternoon tea time.  
That was back when my kids both napped regularly, so we'd sit and have a nice relaxing chat, sip our tea and nosh some treats while my boys snoozed away.
But Mandy left me and Owen rarely naps now, so my quiet afternoon tea has turned into a less quiet and relaxing but slightly more caffeinated afternoon coffee break.  
One thing that made today's coffee break a little more like the good old days was these cherry-almond biscotti.  I also had a little reminder of my friend Mandy with me: the lovely hand screen-printed napkins she made for me.  

If you love the napkins as much as I do, you can buy them at her Etsy store, (and it looks like she'll ship them for free right now).  If you need some good fresh-roasted coffee to go with your biscotti, she's got that, too.  
She's also good company for a quiet afternoon chat, but I'm not sure you can get that through her store...

the veggies (or other stuff):
  • 1/4 cup ground flax seed
  • 1/2 cup milk (I use almond milk)
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 3 TBS oil
  • 2 TBS lemon juice
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder*
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup sweetened dried cherries
  • 1 cup sliced almonds

the love:
  1. Preheat your oven to 350° and line a large baking sheet with parchment.
  2. Whisk together the flax meal and milk in a large mixing bowl until it thickens slightly.
  3. Mix in the brown sugar, oil, lemon juice, and extracts.
  4. Stir in the oats.
  5. Add the flours, salt, baking powder and soda, and stir until just combined.**  The dough will be very thick and sticky.
  6. Fold in the cherries and almonds.
  7. Using floured hands, divide the dough in two and shape each chunk into a long log.
  8. Place the logs lengthwise on the pan and flatten until each one is roughly twelve inches long and three inches wide.
  9. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until golden and crispy on the outside.
  10. Let the "loaves" cool on a rack (but hold on to your pan and parchment) and reduce the oven temperature to 250°.
  11. Slice the biscotti in 1/3 to 1/2 inch sections and spread out on your pan.
  12. Toast for about 40 minutes, or until mostly crisp in the middle.
  13. Let cool and serve with afternoon coffee (or milk).  Makes about three dozen.

*Double the baking powder and soda at lower elevations.
**My standard mixing disclaimer: most recipes will tell you to mix the dry and wet ingredients separately, then stir them together-- this is to prevent clumping and ensure even mixing.  I'm lazy and don't like getting out and washing an extra bowl, so I do it all in one bowl.  To make up for it I try to mix the dry ingredients together on top of the wet before I really stir it into the the wet stuff.  If this is offensive to you, by all means, get out another bowl...