Sorry, I’ve just been informed that there wasn’t actually a space in the email, scotti wasn’t a typo, and I’m actually supposed to be talking about biscotti. My bad.
Which, I guess, is good, because I wasn’t sure how cornmeal and apricot worked into the dogs and I’m not sure I actually wanted to know.
Recently, during a bout of worklessness in my life, P and I sat down and looked at what we spent money on and we realized that coffee and our morning snack was a serious money drain, but we weren’t particularly willing to give up that daily passion of ours. As our wedding rolled around, we started looking at home espresso makers. Since I was unsure of my ability to learn how to make a proper espresso with a manual machine, I was pushing for an automatic machine, which we promptly put on our registry. While we didn’t get it for our wedding, we did get it for Christmas, thanks to my wonderful in-laws, a scant 3 days later, along with a small outlay of cash from our own accounts. We realized that the machine we put on our registry wouldn’t be sufficient for our needs, but the most inexpensive machine we could use was still too expensive for a gift. So, the in-laws got half, we got half. Happy news is that we have actually paid it off already in savings on our daily purchases of coffee. Hooray for us!
But, this is all background, a rich Columbian (and Costa Rican, Konan[?], Rwandan, Panamanian and who knows where else) tapestry, if you will, leading to what I’m supposed to be talking about.
So, in addition to making our own coffee, we still needed our morning treat. After all, my blood sugar tends to dip in the morning after our workout and a little protein snack we’ve previously shown you how to make. So, we started making our own biscotti. We’ve gone through probably seven or eight different recipes trying to not only find a great one, but also not to get bored. And we think we finally have one we’d like to share.
But wait, there’s still more background. Seattle has a very, very wonderful bakery called Cafe Besalu. One of their items is a cornmeal, apricot and sage cookie, and it was such a novel, unique taste, we’ve tried to replicate it in so many different ways.
Which lead to me doing a Google search for cornmeal biscotti and, eventually, led me to this recipe (which, of course, we’ll be writing up below in our own style, along with a couple changes and planned changes. In fact, make sure you read to the end first, because this recipe wasn’t as perfect as we wanted it and I’ll share some tips about what we’re going to do next to, hopefully, make it better.
So now, to make a long story even longer… The recipe.
adapted from Pittsburg Needs Eated who adapted from Alice Medrich’s Cookies and Brownies
1.5 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup cornmeal
.5 tsp baking powder
.5 tsp salt
4 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
.5 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp finely grated lemon zest
1 cup chopped dried apricots
Now, looking at that list, we didn’t do too well on the locavore front. We didn’t use a local flour, we don’t even have a clue if you can get local cornmeal (we’re working on it tho), salt and sugar are both non-local staples. Heck, I think, generally speaking, the only local in this was the eggs, the butter and the apricots. We can do better, of course, with a local flour and cornmeal. We could fudge the lemon if we have my in-laws zest some of their lemons next January and we figure out how to store lemon zest for the long term.
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- Mix flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt in a bowl.
- In a separate bowl, beat butter and sugar just until blended.
- Add eggs, vanilla and lemon zest and beat until light and fluffy.
- Add mixture from step 2, stir until all ingredients are moistened.
- Add apricots and mix just until blended.
- Spread some cornmeal on a cookie sheet.
- Flour up your hands and form the dough into a log, about 6 inches wide, an inch tall and whatever length it comes to. It isn’t that hard to figure out when you’re doing it.
- Throw the cookie sheet on the middle rack for about 35 minutes. The top should be cracked and golden brown.
- Carefully slide the biscotti onto a cooling rack. If the innards of the biscotti loaf didn’t fully cook, it will break apart. But it will still be good to eat. Let cool for about 5-10 minutes.
- Using a serrated knife, cut the loaf diagonally in slices about half an inch thick. Give or take. It isn’t science.
- Now you have two options for crisping the biscotti
- Lay the pieces cut side down on a baking sheet, bake for five minutes or until browning at edges. Flip pieces, bake for five minutes, or, again, until browning at edges. Remove and cool on a rack.
- Lay the pieces cut side down on an oven safe rack, bake for 10 minutes, or until browning at edges. Remove and cool.
Makes roughly 18 pieces, give or take, and should last for 2 weeks in an airtight type container.
You know, even if you screw this up, it’ll still be tasty and, honestly, it’s a very inexpensive recipe, especially if you go to the bulk section. Heck, the most expensive thing are the apricots, and those are barely $7 a pound.
Now, if you look at the ‘original’ recipe we used, you can see that we changed it a little bit. To be honest, the above recipe is our second attempt at the recipe, the first just followed the Pittsburg Needs Eated recipe.
The next time we make it, we’re going to cut .25 cup of flour and add the same amount of cornmeal. The above ingredient list produced a biscotti that was just a little… dry? That’s not the best word. The best word I can come up with is it just tasted too much of flour and not enough of cornmeal. The original recipe had equal amounts cornmeal and flour, so I think we need to switch back to that ratio. Cutting back the sugar, however, didn’t s
eem to have a nega
tive effect. Perhaps
we’ll use stevia or agave nectar instead. I’m also thinking these could be made into excellent cookies, something I’m going to try this Sunday, I think.
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