Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Mangia, Mangia! Italian biscotti from the Walla Walla Italian Heritage Association

Hello, everybody! The Fresh Pioneer is back and I bring delicious Italian goodness!!
I was at our homeschool girls' book club last week and spent a few glorious hours in a warm and beautiful kitchen, eating apple crisp with piles of real whipped cream topping! Even though I had eight BAZILLION things to do (like get my hair cut and go to Home Depot, those things are not related) I had a fabulous afternoon chatting and eating. Who cares if our refrigerator is on its last legs? Not me! Or at least, I don't care when I have a plate of warm apple crisp in front of me.
 
Now, as I was chowing down on that deliciousness, I spied a little cookbook on my friend Terri's shelf. You all know I love a good cookbook.
 But... I had an ulterior motive. See, Terri makes the most AMAZING biscotti. If I could get my hands on that recipe, I could have biscotti every day, as much as I wanted! A devious plan was hatched.
 She so sweetly let me borrow the cookbook. I got it home and started to page through it. You know how you can tell a person's favorite Bible verse by how the page looks? Well, I didn't have to look far for her favorite recipe. Past the braccioli, past the tarduci, past the cardiletti, the latte dulce and the cassata alla siciliana, there it was...
 Behold, the page of the biscotti recipe! Ooooo, I rubbed my hands together in maniacal glee! I was never going to want for biscotti again!

1/2 c butter
1 c sugar
3 eggs
3 c flour
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp anise flavoring
1 c chopped nuts
 (The recipe was submitted by Pam Daltoso Hamilton, but there was another underneath by Anna Perfetto, and another by Mary Locati and another Carmy Destito, under that one by Rose Zaro.
Since Terri is a Biagi, I'm assuming she knows her biscotti. And if not, I'll just have to TRY THEM ALL.)
 So, I brought out the child labor and started chopping. Ignore his haircut. We've covered this.
(And that's a butter knife. It looks like a steak knife, but we've only had two trips to the ER in 13 years and I'd like to keep it that way.)
 Small child is having a wonderful time chopping walnuts from our tree. I don't have the heart to tell him that we only need a cup.
 Ooooh, what a pretty bowl! I wonder where I got that? It smells like... biscotti.
 So, cream the butter, sugar, eggs. In another bowl, sift the dry ingredients together. Add them, mix well. Now add the nuts and the anise flavoring. (Of course, I didn't have anise flavoring. I don't even like anise. When I lived in France they drank anise liqueur and it was DISGUSTING. So, I'm assuming that vanilla will be just as good.)
 The dough will be very sticky. Grease the sheet well. Heat the oven to 350F. Shape the dough into long rolls.
 While the biscotti cooks for 30 minutes, browse the rest of the recipes.

 Edna is murmuring to herself. "Questa sembra delizioso!" A few minutes later, she makes a noise. Apparently, the pork sausage/ cinnamon spice cake was not meeting with her approval, even though it says it's great with a caramel frosting. I peeked over her shoulder and said she should definitely try the pizza-by-the-yard recipe. "Vorrei un piatto con formaggio..." she mutters. And there's even a recipe for making your own cheese that dries in a string in the basement! This book has everything! (Of course, we have no basement, but that's no matter...)
 The oven beeped and I checked the biscotti. They were huge and fluffy. But I'd set the timer for 20 minutes, just in case my oven ran hotter than the recipe needed. I put another ten minutes on. Edna was eyeing my new Pinterest activity. It's a heart cut from a map, and the place is my honeymoon. Edna snickered and said it looked like a broken heart! She's so funny. Now all I can see is a framed broken heart.                
     Che romantico!!
 After 30 minutes, remove the biscotti and let cool for 15 minutes. Slice diagonally. Put them back in the oven for ten minutes. This is what makes them super crispy.
 I couldn't even wait for them to cool. It was BISCOTTI time.
Now, I hear these keep well in tupper ware, but they were GONE by the next morning. It wasn't me, I only had two.
Okay, maybe four.
   ALL RIGHT. I lost count! I admit it! I'm a biscotti glutton!

 But now I have the secret recipe and an unending supply, BWAHAHAHAHAHA!

  Fino alla prossimo volta, i miei amici!!

29 comments:

  1. Testing! Let's see if it will let me comment...

    ReplyDelete
  2. Ha! finally! It was waiting for your permission or something. Just wanted to say I love biscotti! I pinned this recipe! And love that teacup!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Isn't it perfect?? And the biscotti was really so easy. I imagined it turning out... not quite as good, but it was perfectly delicious!

      Delete
  3. Sneaky! Love the favorite page in the cookbook, my books have pages that look just like that! Very beautiful child working on the walnuts too. The haircut fits him very well!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Arg, that haircut! I swear, the more I work on it, the worse it gets. And you know what's heading for your house.... biscotti!!

      Delete
  4. Ciao Bella,

    ha, ha, ha, ha, ha! I can't believe my cookbook page was pictured here. I hide that book on the second shelf because I am such a messy cook and splatter on the pages every time I bake! You are so entertaining, Virginia! I love reading your blogs. Since you can now make your own, I will have to find something else to bake for you♥ Ciao

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, you have a whole list of delicious dishes! I tried to make your chicken tetrazzini (or was it baked ziti?) once and mine was sooooo not as good. If I can master one recipe of yours a year, I should get about half of them done before I'm too old to have teeth!
      And the cookbook page is AWESOME. That is real love. Nothing better than a well-used cookbook!

      Delete
    2. I agree Virginia. No shame, Terri, this must be an excellent cookbook. A good cook is a messy cook, after all!
      Virginia, your ratio of number of children is better than mine. You have six children and have only been to the ER twice. I have one have been twice. Okay, I admit being a bit neurotic with DS, but they were necessary trips...

      Delete
    3. Well, we have an urgent care clinic here and we've been plenty of times. But the ER is reserved for broken bones and burns. One broken arm and one pair of burned palms on a one year old who stood up against an old oven that wasn't insulated. We moved right after that. I suppose I could have quit cooking... Nah.

      Delete
  5. Oh, yum! I've never had homemade biscotti so can't wait to try it!

    Virginia, I'm dying laughing over the hair cut and Home Depot comment!!!! LOLOL! (Yes, I pictured a lawn mower cutting a swath!)

    :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Exactly! Or a weed-whacker. My hair is SO long. but I really avoid the hairdresser. I think I had it cut last year before my book signing. And guess what's coming up? Yes! A book signing! Apparently the only thing that can get me to the hairdresser's.

      Delete
  6. sounds yummy! I cheat and get biscotti and World Market every so often..had a really good orange flavored one but they closed the one nearest me :-( I think I could make some of this stuff if I had one of your helpers to do the chopping and keep me company...
    Susanna

    ReplyDelete
  7. Gasp -- dare I mention here that I've never had biscotti before?! I know, I'm such an uncouth cafe visitor. You'll probably send me to the kitchen and make me wash dishes now.

    Love that Edna is broadening her horizons with pinterest. She might need her own account soon! :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. you're not uncouth Kav - probably dont' have a World Market near you! that's the only reason I've had it! :-)
      hope she's making copies of all the good recipes before she returns the book...
      Susanna

      Delete
    2. I never liked the biscotti I had in college. I think it was the anise seed.

      Delete
  8. THANKS FOR THIS FUN!! Favorite biscotti. Chocolate with caramel and sea salt.

    I hope you're making a copy of the ENTIRE BOOK!! I tried to find it online with zero luck.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think this is from 1986 and probably bound here in town at the local copy center! I'm sure there are copies floating around... but we might have to kill someone to get it. :D
      There was a recipe in there that made me cackle: pig's blood pudding with nuts and raisins. But they're transcribing recipes and it sounds like someone's talking. SO FUNNY.

      Delete
    2. Tina!!! I totally forgot about your biscotti in The Rosetti Curse!!

      Delete
    3. Mama's Old Fashioned Biscotti. (made with pistachios)

      Delete
  9. I love that Edna and the cookbook are hobnobbing. That's a little frightening but also understandable. An era which speaks its own language!

    I've already confessed in Seekerville that I'm not a biscotti lover, but when I read The Rosetti Curse it made me almost a believer!!!! It sounded so good!

    Biscotti and scones don't make my short list. And my short list is really long, so it's got to be the crispness that isn't a Ruthy-grabber. BUT.... If I can dip this in chocolate TWICE, I'd probably fall in love!

    I'm a stooge.

    Kav and Susanna, did you know they usually have biscotti in coffee shops.... Umm... like ours!!! :) See, we have biscotti right here in the cafe! (big grin)

    Often they're in a jar on the counter. And my Tina Marie Martinelli in next Christmas's book has biscotti... and those amazing chocolate spice cookies Tina Marie Radcliffe makes (purely coincidental name choice, I'm sure!!!) and keeps secret.

    Now there's a cookie I could love til death doth part us.

    Sigh.....

    Virginia I love that you're doing a book signing and feel the need to go to the hairdresser, laughing out loud at how normal we are!!!!

    Who is it that travels with her hairdresser to conferences? Jennifer Crusie, maybe? I don't know, someone does, and that has me on the floor laughing...

    I'm happy I remember a toothbrush.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. but I don't do coffee Ruthy! (ducking my head!) only been in Starbucks maybe 4x in my life and that was with a friend and because I could get that tea with all the whip cream on top - mainly went for the whip cream...
      Susanna

      Delete
    2. oh and it doesn't make my short list either but somehow when I'm drinking hot tea in a fancy tea cup I feel more authentic somehow..though now not sure since it's for coffee :-( maybe In eed scones...
      Susanna

      Delete
    3. My friend actually dips these in chocolate and white chocolate... and my kids eat off the chocolate and hand them back!!

      Delete
  10. I've had biscotti once. I thought it was a cookie and was disappointed that it was so crisp. Then someone told me you dip them in your coffee. Bleck! Lost me right then and there. Now, if they had said you dip them in your tea...well, that would have been a different story. Nonetheless, I've shied away from biscotti ever since.

    That said, this recipe does look pretty darn good. Can't blame you for ditching the anise. My mother likes anise candy, so when I make my hard candy for Christmas, I have to make a small batch of anise. Stinks up the whole house. Which is why I do it first. Then the spearmint, then the cinnamon. Don't want the aroma of anise lingering. Cinnamon? Yes. Anise? No way!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anise is so strong. But I think it's definitely a memory sort of thing. I smell it and it gives me good memories, because of the old people I knew who drank the anise liqueur. BUT my husband had anise-flavored (and sassafras) medicine when he was little.

      And I dip them in sweet tea!

      Confession.... I never drink coffee black. That was a total prop. It just looked pretty. I have a 9/10 ration of milk to my coffee...

      Delete
  11. Replies
    1. It's so crisp, I bet almond flour would be perfect!

      Delete
  12. Love the Biscotti!

    And the haircut? Boys are supposed to look like that at this age, aren't they? Mine always did :)

    I've got to try this recipe. I don't drink coffee, but these are great dipped in hot chocolate. Just sayin'.

    One more thing: It is a TRUE friend who lets you borrow her favorite cookbook!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Amen!! Especially one that's a family heirloom! Especially when she knows I have 6 kids at home and 2 that would love to dismantle those awesome binder pages!!

      Delete