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    Entries in little miss messy (15)


    Chocolate Biscotti

    I don’t usually like really crunchy cookies. Why did I make biscotti then?

    Well, I’ve also been looking for cookie recipes that start with something other than “cream the butter and sugar then beat in the eggs and vanilla”.

    Plus, apparently the rock hard biscotti that we typically find at coffee shops (that I find too hard to bother with) are a lot harder than they should be. One of the managers at work is an old world Italian dude and he said that these cookies, which are crunchy but still bite-able, are what biscotti are supposed to be. When you dip them in coffee they don’t fall apart, but you can also bite them without first having to soften them in espresso, or amaretto. Or espresso with amaretto in it.


    What you need

    **I made a double batch and used twice the amount of everything so the pics look a little different**

    • ½ cup pine nuts or slivered almonds or hazlenuts or maybe pistachios?
    • 1 ½  cups flour  (you can substitute up to 1 cup of flour with almond flour)
    • ¾ cups sugar
    • 1 tsp baking powder
    • ¼  teaspoon salt
    • ¼  cup cocoa
    • 2 tbsp cold butter, cut into little pieces (don’t bother with butter if you use almond flour)
    • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 1 teaspoon Amaretto
    • 1 teaspoon Amaretto
    • ¾ cups chocolate chips

    What you gotta do

    I like toasty nuts. So, first thing I’m going to do is put the pine nuts in a dry pan over medium low.

    While those get toasty, start measuring the dry stuff into a big bowl. Don’t forget to shake the pan from time to time so that the nuts get toasty on all sides.

    Flour. Shake the pan. Sugar. Shake the pan. Baking powder and salt. Shake the pan.

    Sift the cocoa into the bowl to make sure all the little cocoa lumps get busted up.

    Shake the pan. Once the pine nuts are nice and golden toasty, set them aside to cool.

    Mix all the dry stuff together and then cut in the butter. Biscotti are traditionally made with ground almonds in there along with the flour, and no fat (butter, sweet, creamery butter), but since I’m not using the almonds, I need fat (butter, sweet, creamery butter).

    Cutting in the butter can be done with a pastry cutter, or forks, or knives. It’s the same thing you do when you’re making biscuits.

    In another bowl crack the eggs and add the Amaretto and the vanilla. And the Amaretto.

    Beat the eggs and Amaretto and vanilla and Amaretto together.

    Okay, so you know how when you make muffins, you toss the blueberries in a bit of flour to make sure they stick to the muffin batter? Along those lines… dump the chocolate chips and the cooled pine nuts into the egg mixture, and then pour it into the dry stuff.

    Wait. Preheat the oven now to 350.

    Since what we’re doing here is making a pastry type dough, we don’t want to mix it too much, since that makes gluten form and toughens the cookies. No one likes tough cookies. Mix just until things are starting to hold together and then dump it onto the counter in a big mess that’s half wet and sticky and half dry and crumbly. This is the same thing we did with the Welsh Cakes and you trusted me then, right? Right? Amaretto.

    Gently press the dry stuff into the sticky parts, and fold them over. Keep folding and pressing (while avoiding the urge to “knead” the dough) until it all comes together.

    Sorry about the perspective on those pics, but my hands were kinda messy.

    **I made a double recipe and cut my dough into 6. If you're just making a single, cut into 3.**

    Once the dough has come together, cut it into 6 wedges.

    Roll each wedge into a log about 8 or 9 inches long and press it into an oval that’s about 2 inches wide.

    If your dough is still really sticky (Amaretto), use cocoa, not flour on the counter.

    My dough was really sticky and I ended up with a lot of cocoa on the logs, so I brushed them with a bit of Amaretto. You could also brush them with beaten egg if you want a glossy look on the top.

    Bake the logs for 25 minutes, then set them on a rack to cool. My tiny one-room-sized air conditioner is in the bedroom. So I had the fan help them along with the whole cooling thing.

    Slice the logs into ½ to 1 inch thick slices on the diagonal. You should get a dozen or so from each log. And yes, you could stop here and just call these things cookies, but you couldn't call them "biscotti". Biscotti get their name from being twice baked (bi = two, cotte = cooked, that is your Latin lesson for the day).

    Now, you could evenly spread them out nicely so that air circulates around them, but fuck air space. I just got 6 dozen cookies on one baking sheet.

    I saw one site that suggested standing the slices up on edge but whoever wrote that obviously did not use Amaretto. Or bake them that way because seriously, wtf? Stand ½ inch thick slices of cookie on edge? Try it. Tell me if it works. Pics or it didn’t happen.


    Oh, and you know all of those little crumbly bits left on the cutting board?

    Whatever you do, don’t put them in a bowl, pour Amaretto over top and eat them like cereal. No pics. Didn’t happen.


    Nuke the Mess!

    As I’m sure you saw last week, Seeley has decided to take a bit of a break from blogging so she can focus on school.  It was either that, or she might soon find herself in a madhouse.  While she’s away, I’ve decided to create Tuesday’s Tips, Tricks, and Treats.  Basically, I’ll be posting tidbits I think you might find handy.  They may not always be cooking related, but they’ll always be kitchen related in some way.  Today’s tip is how to clean your dirty microwave quickly and easily, and with no chemicals. 

    All you’ll need is 2 cups of hot water and a lemon. 

    To be honest, I’m quite embarrassed to show a picture of my dirty microwave.  I don’t use it all that often, and when I do I’m slightly anal about making sure everything is covered.  Hubby on the other hand…  Yeah, I know, I about fainted when I saw how bad it was, but I’m putting my shame aside and baring all.  Consider it a sacrifice for the greater good. 

    Now, cut your lemon in half and drop it into the hot water. 

    Place that in the center of your microwave. 

    Set it on high for 5 minutes. 

    After it beeps, allow it to just sit for an additional 2 minutes or so.  When you open the door you’ll think I’ve completely conned you, and what a waste that was.  But it’s been doing work, trust me. 

    Look what you can do with just a dry paper towel.  That is somehow really gross and really satisfying at the same time.

    With just a quick wipe with the paper towel, you can get the majority of the gunk off. 

    Now take your washcloth and dip it into the hot lemon water.  Be very careful.  The water was just boiling a few minutes ago and is still really hot.  Allow the rag to cool long enough so you can handle it, then use it to wipe down the entire microwave, including the turntable. 

    Only a few minutes from start to finish and with hardly any effort invested, and your microwave will be sparkling clean, inside,

    And out.

    As an added bonus, you can cut the cooked lemon into pieces and put it down your garbage disposal. 

    With it still running, pour the remaining hot, lemon water down, as well. 

    Have any cleaning tips you’d like to see posted or questions?  Post in the comments below or contact us using our new form on the right hand side of the page.  No, your other right.  Over there -->