Displaced Geek

Just a city geek and father coming to terms with being replanted in farm country

Rainforest Baking 101

This child has me wrapped around her finger. She knows it, I know it, everyone knows it. Even though I say no more often than Emma does, I’m still pretty much completely at her command, and I guess that’s just the way it is for now.

So when she wanted to make cookies today, real, baked cookies, in the oven, I wanted to say no. Really, I did. I wanted to say, “No, I will not leave the comfort of the air conditioning in order to make cookies which you will then want to eat in place of food at every meal for as long as you can see them sitting on the counter”. But I didn’t.

For those of you unaware, we broke triple digits today, and we did it with something approaching Amazonian humidity. So turning on the oven is a bit ridiculous. However, I applied the following logic rationalization when I told her that yes, we could make cookies. I said, “Well you’re just lucky that the oven makes a dry heat, because it’s the humidity that really makes it uncomfortable” She nodded dutifully and repeated “gookeee!” Le sigh.

Resigned to turning on the oven on the hottest day of the year so far, I decided we’d better make some damn good cookies.
With that in mind, I decided to make biscotti, as I tend to eat them with my coffee in the morning, and not as a dessert or snack which makes each batch last longer than twice as many chocolate chips. We used the following recipe taken from the OSIA/CSJ cookbook titled Recipes from Italian Families II. You’d think I’d just use my own family’s recipe, but I happen to really like this one, and since it was a gift from my late Great Aunt Madeline, I consider it approved by the Powers That Be.

Obligatory artsy photo.

Lucia's Biscotti III

Mary Ann Baglio
Francesco Rupoli Lodge #2655

8 eggs 1 pound sugar
1 cup oil 8 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup milk 1/4 - 1/2 cup anise seeds
2 pounds flour Pinch of salt

Beat eggs in a large mixing bowl. Add remaining ingredients and combine together. Mix by hand and form 3 loaves. Place loaves on greased cookie sheets, and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and cut into slices. Place biscotti on cookie sheet and bake until golden brown on each side.

Previously, I’ve added vanilla, orange zest, almonds, and other fancy little cookie doodads to make them special. Yeah, not today.

We made a half-batch and still didn’t have enough flour, so I added about 2oz worth of whole wheat flour, which I guess makes it healthy? it actually didn’t make any significant difference in the taste of the final product, thankfully. Despite my love for them we only used 1/4 cup of anise seed, because I can overdo it pretty easily, so I remembered to keep myself in check. We also had to add even more extra flour beyond that initial 2oz because with both the ‘larger than large’ eggs from Emma’s parents’ farm, and the extreme humidity we ended up with something that looked more like a batter than a dough.

No really, it looked like pizzelle batter. We actually poured the ‘dough’ for the first loaf onto the silicone baking mat before putting the rest into the fridge to firm up for the second loaf.

Twenty minutes @ 350 was perfect, because the loaf was cooked through and its edges were just starting to get a little dark. We sliced it and did another 7 minutes per side.

Personally, I think we did alright. We ended up with some really tasty cookies for only about two hours of being out of the air conditioned section of the house. Not too bad, not too bad at all.

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Written by Peter

July 22, 2011 at 2212

Posted in family, food, parenting

Tagged with , , , , ,

4 Responses

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  1. Aww, she really does have you wrapped around her finger! Turning on the microwave was too much for me yesterday.

    Jennifer

    July 23, 2011 at 1402

  2. How do these beautiful biscotti compare to our traditional? Look and appear great, weather permitting.

    Mom

    July 24, 2011 at 748

    • They’re the same ones I made for Christmas last year. They came out well, but they’re still a bit softer than I’d like.
      They seem good and hard until you dip them in coffee, and then they don’t really hold up. I should’ve toasted them more because of how humid it was, but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it.

      Peter

      July 24, 2011 at 1315

  3. Forgot to add, she really does have you wrapped around that finger…actually several of them. Good Girl Gabriella!

    Mom

    July 24, 2011 at 748


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