Who's That Girl

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WHO'S THAT GIRL: A higher education obsessed foodie who is documenting her life in the kitchen. I love to cook delicious, gourmet-style foods for those I love and always welcome a challenge in the kitchen. With that challenge comes an impromptu nature. I tend to avoid following recipes to the exact, so you are not likely to find very many posted here. Being that I am a Libra and am learning to be free in the kitchen, the story always goes, "A pinch of this and a smattering of that!" Thank you for visiting -- and happy reading!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Scenting the House with Lavender Biscotti

Un-be-lieve-able!

During my birthday stay at Miraval, Nancy and I attended a presentation by the pastry chef. I was so very, very, very impressed with her ability to take sugar, eggs, butter, salt and whatever else she felt like for that nice fall day and toss it into a gentle mix, resulting in the type of sweets that made Nancy turn to me and mouth the words: "Make this for me!"

OK -- maybe that is a slight exaggeration. But only slight.

All that to say biscotti has been on my mind for some time. I enjoy biscotti, for the most part. But I find that getting it right there at the coffee shop tends to be somewhat uneventful. Hard, tasteless biscotti has been my mainstay experience thus far.

But, oh my! The biscotti she prepared for us that day was lightly toasted, still warm and so very savory.

I wanted more.

This only meant that I had to learn how to make these at home because I seriously was not about to embarrass myself by elbowing the other guests out of the way so that I could reach the skimpy leftovers.

Yes -- the biscotti was quite popular.

But I promised myself that day that I would go ahead and try this at home. The warning disclaimer is out the window.

But intimidating? Yes.

Why?

Well, I'm not much of a baker and I can live without sweets.

No, really. It's true.

I really don't get a kick out of eating cookies, brownies, muffins, pies, cakes, and, goodness -- just about anything with chocolate in it is an immediate turn-off for me. I'm just not attracted to sweets -- unless it is in the form of brown sugar mixed into a rub for steak or lamb. That gets me every single time.

So I set out to make the biscotti.

I mixed the sugar and butter first until it resembled crystallized frosting. Then I added vanilla extract. Next, I prepared the dry mixture -- flour, salt, baking powder and lavender.

Lavender?

Yes -- Nancy got me a small packet of lavender some time ago and I have been meaning to try it in a recipe.

So, I reserved the almonds for later, intending to put them in the mix when I combined the dry and wet ingredients.

But of course -- my memory was out to have its midnight snack.

I had the two biscotti loaves set on the baking sheet and was cleaning the counter when I noticed the bag of almonds sitting there, staring up at me grimacing as if to say, "How could you forget about us?"

Bummer.

I looked at the neat loaves, then back at the almonds, then back at the loaves again and decided -- last minute -- to just gently stuff the almonds into the mixture.

Then I noticed the dried cranberries sitting on the baker's rack. I decided to include those as well. Hey -- why not?

All this went into the oven at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

At about 16 minutes, the mixture became fragrant. It was such a beautiful and amazing smell. I can't quite explain it other than to say it must be what angels smell like when they are working out and mustering up a sweat.

It took everything inside of me not to open the oven and take a peak before the midway point -- 20 minutes. But I made it.

And when I pulled the pan out of the oven I just about fell over laughing.

The loaves were huge!

I should have made three or four of these instead of just two loaves. They were wide and thick -- and not cooked throughout so that when I went to cut them they began to crumble slightly. This meant I needed an extra sharp knife and had to cut each piece with a very swift cut.

Thank heavens I can laugh at myself otherwise I just might give up cooking.

Back in the oven the slices went, but with a swift drizzle of sugar on each. I thought about adding honey, but at the last minute decided against it, believing that the mixture might leave us with slightly soggy biscotti in the morning. We can do without soggy biscotti for now.

The turn out?

They were slightly crispy on the edges and still slightly most on the inside. The most prominent flavor is the lavender! Strangely. I added less than three tablespoons to the mix, but it is quite potent. Still, for a first batch, this was quite the memorable experience.

2 comments:

  1. Like you, "I am not a baker and can live without sweets". That being said, this does sound good.

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  2. I kept nodding all the time as I read this because I am the same way. I really don't get a kick out of eating cookies, brownies, muffins, pies, cakes, and, goodness -- just about anything with chocolate in it is an immediate turn-off for me. I'm just not attracted to sweets However, as I get older ;) I find that every now and then I suddenly yearn for a sweet baked item to have to with a cup of tea.

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