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This Wednesday was Dad’s birthday. Finding I didn’t have a present, I decided to bake him some biscotti. I was a little concerned he wouldn’t like them. Twice before I have made biscotti – and failed miserably. However, this batch turned our quite well (perhaps due to the fact that I actually followed the recipe).

“Those were good,” he said the next day. “Those are good.”

I am pleased and satisfied.

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:: Chocolate & Almond Biscotti ::

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup whole almonds, toasted and chopped coarse
  • 1 cup + 2 tablespoons softened butter, divided
  • 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 (120z) bag of chocolate chips

Directions:

1) Preheat oven to 325° F. In a large bowl, beat 1 cup of butter and the sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla.

2) In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Add to the butter mixture with the mixer on low and beat until well combined. Stir in the almonds. If the dough is too wet to handle, stir in an additional 1/2 cup of flour.

3) Butter 2 large baking sheets. Divide the dough into 3-4 portions and shape into long, flattened logs on the baking sheets, about 5 inches wide and 5/8 inches thick.

4) Bake the logs in preheated oven for 27-30 minutes, or until firm and slightly browned. Transfer logs one at a time to a cutting board and cut diaganally into 1/2 inch thick slices. Arrange sliced back on the baking sheets and bake for an additional 15 minutes.

5) Line two large baking sheets with wax paper. Melt the chocolate chips and 2 tablespoons butter in a double boiler. Place in a rectangular baking pan and dip the bottoms of the biscotti in the chocolate. Place the dipped biscotti onto the wax paper lined baking sheets and place in the freezer to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

alone2

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P.S. This is my entry for Eat Christmas Cookies 2. Stop by and see the roundup of delicious Christmas cookies!

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These are the tortillas that changed Dad’s mind about soft-shell tortillas. They are way tastier than store-bought, especially when eaten fresh from the skillet.

: : Whole Wheat Tortillas : :

Adapted from Allrecipes

Ingredients:

Directions:

1) For mixing by hand: In a large, heat-proof bowl, stir together the whole wheat flour and salt. Rub in the palm or coconut oil by hand until the mixture is the texture of oatmeal.
For mixing by machine: Put whole wheat flour and salt in a food processor and pulse to mix. Add palm or coconut oil and pulse until the mixture is the texture of oatmeal. Pour into a large, heat-proof bowl.
2) Make a well in the center, and pour in the boiling water. Mix with a fork until all of the water is evenly incorporated. Sprinkle with a bit of additional flour, and knead until the dough does not stick to your fingers. The dough should be smooth.
3) Make balls the size of golf balls, about 2 ounces each. Cover with a damp cloth. Let stand for at least 1 hour, or up to 8 hours.
4) Heat a large, cast-iron skillet over high heat. On a lightly floured surface, roll out a tortilla to your preferred thinness. Fry one at a time. Place on the griddle for 10 seconds, as soon as you see a bubble on the top, flip the tortilla over. Let it cook for about 30 seconds, then flip and cook the other side for another 30 seconds. Do not overcook or your tortillas will be brittle. Place finished tortillas in a kitchen towel to soften. Roll out the next tortilla while the other is cooking. Repeat until all of the balls have been cooked. Tortillas can be refrigerated or frozen.

Makes about 18 tortillas

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:: Graham Crackers ::

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Adapted from King Arthur Flour

  • 2 cups (8 ounces) Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
  • 1/4 cup Sucanat
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup butter or coconut oil, melted
  • 1/4 cup (3 ounces) honey
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons (1 to 1 1/2 ounces) milk (approx.)
  • additional milk for glaze
  • cinnamon-sugar (optional)

In a mixing bowl, combine whole wheat flour, sucanat, salt, cinnamon and baking powder. In a separate bowl, beat egg till light, then add butter, honey and 2 tablespoons milk. Stir into dry ingredients until you have a fairly stiff dough, adding additional milk if necessary. Wrap dough in waxed paper and chill until firm, about 1 hour (or longer, if it’s more convenient).

Turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead gently until it holds together. Roll dough out till it’s about 1/16-inch thick; make sure rolling surface is well-floured, or you’ll have trouble transferring crackers to baking sheet. Alternately, you can use a pasta machine to roll out your crackers. This makes the whole process a lot easier.

Preheat your oven to 375°F. Cut dough into 3-inch squares, or use a cookie cutter to cut into any shape you please. Prick each square several times with a fork, and place on lightly greased cookie sheets. Brush the tops with milk, sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar if you’re so inclined, and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until crackers are lightly browned. Remove crackers from oven, transfer to a wire cooling rack, and cool completely. Store in an airtight container. Makes about 2 dozen graham crackers.

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