Iced Triple Lemon Biscotti from Ciao Biscotti

Iced Triple Lemon Biscotti from Ciao Biscotti

Biscotti are versatile and fun cookies. Even though they are designed for dunking, they are still good on their own. I always include one type of biscotti in the Christmas cookie boxes that I make every year for friends and family. Biscotti travel well, and they remain fresh and crisp for at long time.

I was so happy when I found out that Domenica Marchetti was writing a book that focused solely on biscotti. There are recipes for classic flavors of biscotti, chocolate and spice, fruit, fantasy flavors, and savory flavors. There is even a chapter with other types of cookies such as nutella sandwich cookies and pistachio amaretti, among others.

The book is full of gorgeous photographs and fun designs. I’m in love with the recipes, and with the fun and colorful design . I want to meet the book’s designer and give her a hug. When you look at the pages, you feel uplifted, energized, and ready to make biscotti!

If you are not a baker, don’t feel intimidated. Domenica’s words will guide you step by step, until you are holding aromatic and crisp biscotti in your hands.

The first recipe that jumped out at me was this iced triple lemon biscotti. I’m not a big fan of chocolate, and I almost always prefer citrus flavored desserts over any other flavors. I’ve made these a few times, and they are always a huge hit. I’m completely obsessed with these. Okay, I do confess I’ve also made the Browned Butter and Toblerone biscotti, which are equally delicious.

Iced Triple Lemon Biscotti

Just a few recommendations: swap out the almonds for pistachios. I just love pistachios and lemon together. Also, make sure you use a good brand of lemon extract. You don’t want to use something that is cheaper of lesser quality that tastes synthetic.

Iced Triple Lemon Biscotti from Ciao Biscotti, (Copyright 2015), by Domenica Marchetti

Makes 24 to 26 biscotti

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 1/4 cups unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • finely grated zest of 2 organic lemons plus 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed juice
  • 1 cup sliced toasted almonds (I substituted toasted pistachios)
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, at cool room temperature, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon pure lemon extract
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • a few drops of half and half or milk as needed

Procedure:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350F. Lightly coat an 11 by 17 inch rimmed baking sheet with the oil.
  2. Combine the flour, granulated sugar, brown sugar, baking powder, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix briefly on low speed. Add the lemon zest and almonds and mix briefly on low to combine. Add the butter in pieces and mix on medium-low speed until the mixture looks like damp sand. Pour in the eggs, 1 tablespoon of the lemon juice, and 1 teaspoon of the lemon extract and mix on medium speed until a soft, slightly sticky dough has formed.
  3. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and pat it into a disk. Divide it in half. Lightly moisten your hands with water and gently roll one portion of dough into a rough oval. Place it lengthwise on one half of the baking sheet and use your hands and fingers to stretch and pat the dough into a log about 2 1/2 inches wide and 12 inches long. Shape the second piece of dough in the same way, moistening your hands as necessary. Press down on the logs to flatten them out a bit and make the tops even.
  4. Bake the logs for 25 minutes, or until they are lightly browned and just set—they should be springy to the touch and there should be cracks on the surface. Transfer the baking sheet to a cooling rack. Gently slide an offset spatula under each log to loosen it from the baking sheet. Let the logs cool for 5 minutes, and then transfer them to the rack and let cool for 20 minutes. Lower the oven temperature to 325F.
  5. Transfer the cooled logs to a cutting board and, using a Santoku knife or a serrated bread knife, cut them on the diagonal into 3/4 inch thick slices. Arrange the slices, cut-side up, on the baking sheet (in batches if necessary) and bake for 10 minutes. Turn the slices over and bake for another 10 minutes, until they are crisp. Transfer the slices to the rack to cool completely.
  6. Place the rack over a rimmed baking sheet or a sheet of wax paper. Arrange the slices upright on the rack. In a small bowl, whisk together the confectioner’s sugar with the remaining 2 tablespoons lemon juice and 1/4 teaspoon lemon extract until the icing is smooth and opaque, but still thin enough to fall from the tip of the whisk in a ribbon. If necessary, dribble in a few drops of half-and-half to loosen the icing.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of Ciao Biscotti for review purposes. I was not compensated for writing this post. All views are my own.

Naan

A stack of naan

A stack of naan

This post feels a little bit like cheating because I have posted this recipe previously. However, the original photo doesn’t do it justice, and the original post is not even about the bread.

Naan is easy to make, and it keeps well in the refrigerator or freezer. I love to have with with curry because it’s great for soaking up all the delicious liquid. I first learned how to make naan in college. One of my friends would make it in an electric skillet because there were no ovens in the dorms. I recently made cauliflower and butternut squash curry with coconut milk and I’m not quite sure if I decided to make the curry for the naan or the naan for the curry.

Now that I own a Baking Steel, I use that to bake the naan. A pizza stone works equally well. You can also just bake it on a cookie sheet under the broiler.

Naan
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 teaspoon instant yeast
2/3 cup warm water
2 tablespoons melted butter
2 tablespoons Greek yogurt

1. Combine all dry ingredients in a bowl and whisk well.
2. Add water, melted butter, and yogurt into the dry ingredients and mix well with a wooden spoon.
3. Turn dough out onto a floured surface and knead for about 5 minutes. You can sprinkle a little bit more flour if the dough is too sticky.
4. Put dough in a greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 90 minutes or until doubled in size.
5. If you have a baking steel or a pizza stone, pre-heat it one hour before you plan on baking the bread.
6. Once the dough has doubled in volume, knead dough for five minutes and divide into 6 pieces, approximately about three ounces each.
7. Roll out each piece into a five inch round.
8. Bake naan for two minutes, then flip, and bake for another two minutes. Make sure to flour your peel so that the naan does not stick to the peel. Alternatively,you can bake the bread on a cookie sheet under the broiler. If not using immediately, let the breads cool, place in a zip top bag, and refrigerate.

Pumpkin Spice Madeleines

Pumpkin Spice Madeleines

Pumpkin Spice Madeleines

I know, I’m writing about Pumpkin Spice Madeleines in early spring. It’s not exactly pumpkin season. We are towards the tail end of citrus season, and most of the fresh local fruit is still weeks away. I always have a forgotten can of pumpkin puree in the pantry. Remember that one time that there was a shortage of canned pumpkin? Ever since them, I stock up on it. Long story short, I had a can in my pantry that was taking up space and needed to be used up.

Madeleines: Elegant French Tea Cakes to Bake and Share

Madeleines: Elegant French Tea Cakes to Bake and Share

Enter the great little book Madeleines Elegant French Tea Cakes to Bake and Share by Barbara Feldman Morse, from Quirk Books. This little book beautifully photographed book is full of delicious and fun madeleine recipes. There is even a recipe for lox, cream cheese, and red onion madeleines.

Here is the recipe for the delicious pumpkin spice madeleines that I made. Take a look inside your pantry, and if you have a can of pumpkin puree, make sure to try this recipe. These madeleines are tender, flavorful, not too sweet and perfect with a cup of coffee. If you like sweeter madeleines, I would recommend that you add an additional 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar to step 4.

Pumpkin Spice Madeleines (Slightly adapted from Madeleines by Barbara Feldman Morse)
Makes 16-18 madeleines

cooking spray or 4 tablespoons butter for pans
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed (I used dark brown, but you can use either dark or light brown)
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1/3 cup canned pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
1/3 cup toasted walnuts, chopped or 1/3 cup mini chocolate chips (optional)
Note: You can substitute 2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice for the cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg

1. Prepare the molds. Spray them with cooking spray. Alternatively, melt 4 tablespoons of butter in the microwave, and use a pastry brush to coat each mold, making sure to coat the interior of each shell mold.
2. Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 350F.
3. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and spices.
4. Place 6 tablespoons of the butter, and brown sugar in a 2 quart microwavable glass bowl or measuring cup. Microwave on low power for 1 to 2 minutes and then stir mixture with a whisk until smooth. If butter is not melted, microwave for 15 second intervals, stirring after each, until smooth.
5. Let mixture cool for about 3 to 4 minutes and then add eggs, one at a time, whisking well after each addition until completely blended. Whisk in pumpkin until thoroughly blended.
6. Stir in flour mixture until incorporated. The batter should be smooth. Add walnuts or chocolate chips, if using (this will yield 2 or 3 more madeleines).
7. Using a 1 1/2 inch-diameter scoop or a teaspoon, fill shell molds with batter until almost full. Gently press batter to distribute it evenly. I like to place the mixture into a piping bag, and just pipe the filling into each shell mold.
8. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until madeleines puff up and spring back when lightly pressed.
9. Remove pan from oven and let cool on a wire rack for 2 to 3 minutes, then invert and tap madeleines onto the rack. You may also use a small offset spatula to remove each one individually.

Charred Shishito Peppers, Cherry Bombe Magazine, and a Gallery Wall

  Food trends come and go. We have seen macarons, cupcakes, bacon, kale, chia seeds, quinoa, bulletproof coffee, bone broth, and many others as the latest “It” foods.  What is the current “It” food in grocery store ailes? Amanda Merrow, of the Amagansett, NY based Amber Waves Farm, mentioned in a Cherry Bombe Radio episode last July that shishito peppers were the new kale.  I didn’t think much of it back them. Sure, you could find shishito peppers in every restaurant in town, and in most farmers markets. I didn’t think that they would soon be like the ubiquitous kale. In the past few weeks I’ve seen Shishito peppers everywhere, most notably at my local Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s stores. I guess Amanda was right after all.

Shishito peppers are usually mild, except for the odd one out that will be a bit spicy (one out of 10 according to Wikipedia). You can cook them in a variety of ways, but my favorite way to cook them is to pan fry them in a wok until charred. Then, I sprinkled them with flaky sea salt. For a version that’s a bit more exotic, sprinkle the peppers with furikake or togarashi. If you are feeling adventurous, you can make your own furikake and togarashi at home.

Charred Shishito Peppers

Serves 2 as an appetizer or snack

  • 1 tablespoon sunflower oil (or other oil suitable for high heat cooking)
  • 8 ounces Shishito peppers

  1. Flaky sea salt or furikake or togarashi to seasonHeat the oil in a wok or large skillet over high heat, almost until it starts to smoke. Toss the peppers around every now and then. Pan fry for 6-10 minutes, or until the peppers are charred all around.
  2. Transfer the peppers to a serving plate and sprinkle with your choice of seasoning. Eat immediately.

On a separate note, if you are not reading Cherry Bombe Magazine, and listening to Cherry Bombe Radio, you should look them up and get started. Both the magazine and the radio show focus on celebrating women and food. The magazine is not only packed with great content, but it is beautifully designed and filled with gorgeous photographs. The radio show host is the fabulous Julia Turshen, who is a gifted writer and has the most soothing and engaging voice ever.

I’ve been working on putting up a gallery wall in my apartment, and I needed “stand in” art for the frames. I decided to use some of the gorgeous photographs from the magazine. I like them so much, that they might just become permanent stand ins. I’m not 100% happy with how the gallery wall turned out, but it’s still a work in progress.

Grapefruit Sorbet from Lomelino’s Ice Cream

Pink Grapefruit Sorbet

Pink Grapefruit Sorbet

One of my favorite desserts is ice cream. I purchased an ice cream making machine some years ago, and bring it out mostly during the summer months.

I have an abnormal obsession with ice cream and frozen treats. I can’t have any at home because I will devour them, sometimes in one day. In an effort to curb those calories and to explore the lighter side of frozen treats, I decided that I would start experimenting with sorbets. This past winter I really stocked up on citrus fruits. Pink grapefruits, meyer lemons, blood oranges, and cara cara oranges are always in my refrigerator when they are in season.

I happened to receive a review copy of the upcoming book Lomelino’s Ice Cream right when my refrigerator was stocked with all these winter citrus jewels. The book contains 79 recipes for ice creams, sorbets, and frozen treats including some gorgeous ice cream cakes. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that the photos are gorgeous and that they make you want to reach in with a spoon.

Lomelino's Ice Cream  (©2015 Roost Books/Linda Lomelino)

Lomelino’s Ice Cream (©2015 Roost Books/Linda Lomelino)

Thankfully, the book has a full chapter on sorbets. I immediately got to work. The very first recipe I made was grapefruit sorbet. Followed by strawberry and champagne sorbet, citrus sorbet, and pomegranate sherbet. All recipes are fantastic!

Strawberry and Champagne Sorbet, Pomegranate Sherbet, and Pink Grapefruit Sorbet

Strawberry and Champagne Sorbet, Pomegranate Sherbet, and Pink Grapefruit Sorbet

One of my favorites is the grapefruit sorbet, and I have already made it several times. I adapted the recipe slightly, swapping out the wine for St Germain liquor, and adding a vanilla bean to step 1. My favorite way to serve it is in little 4 ounce glasses, topped with chilled sparkling wine. A perfect dessert, or a good alternative to mimosas for brunch.

Pink Grapefruit Sorbet and Sparkling Wine

Pink Grapefruit Sorbet and Sparkling Wine

Grapefruit Sorbet
Slightly adapted from Lomelino’s Ice Cream
Makes about 2 1/2 cups

2-1/4 cups pink grapefruit juice (about 4 medium ones)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 vanilla bean, cut in half lengthwise
1 tablespoon St Germain liquor (or white wine)
2 teaspoons vodka

1. Combine 3/4 cup of juice, sugar, scraped vanilla bean seeds, and vanilla bean in a small pot and heat gently until the sugar has completely dissolved. Transfer to another container, add in the rest of the juice, the St Germain liquor or wine, and the vodka. Chill overnight, or until completely cold.
2. Strain out the vanilla bean pod, and process according to your ice cream machine instructions. Once ready, transfer into a freezer proof container and freeze.

Lomelino’s Ice Creams will be available on April 7th. If you love frozen treats, I highly recommend getting a copy. And if you don’t follow Linda Lomelino yet, visit her blog Call Me Cupcake or her Instagram @linda_lomelino. Her photographs are so inspirational.

Do you have a favorite sorbet flavor?

Time for dessert!

Time for dessert!

Disclaimer: I received a copy of Lomelino’s Ice Cream for review purposes. I was not compensated for writing this post. All views are my own.