Wednesday, April 30, 2014

how time flies! a foodie penpal post

somebody slow this thing down-how did it suddenly become the last day of april???  last month, i signed up for the foodie penpals exchange and enjoyed it so much that i did it again this month.  my partner rachel and i sent each other boxes full of goodies.  this was the first time i had to pack a box that was diet specific, rachel is sensitive to gluten and i had to choose items carefully.  to see what was in rachel's box, visit her blog, running rachel.
 my box was packed with treats!  the week it arrived, my daughter came home from atlanta, she grabbed the trail mix and the fruit strips for the ride back.  while she was visiting, we made a batch of rice crispy treats with the coconut marshmallows.  and that bag of apple chips, i ate the whole thing by myself-i love apple chips!

 cats have a thing for boxes.  this is ginger and she is carefully inspecting the loot!

 and here she is photo bombing the loot

a big thanks to rachel for such a fun box of treats!  want to give it a try, visit the website and sign up!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

semolina-pistachio cantuccini; tuesdays with dorie

a day late and a dollar short-almost.  thought this challenge was next week and nearly missed it. luckily, cantuccini are easy to make with this recipe from nick malgieri and the recipe from baking with julia is the same as this recipe on his website.  since i really did not want approximately 80 cookies in the house, i made one third of the recipe.  still, i ended up with about two dozen small, crispy cookies.

honestly, i am a bit of a biscotti snob.  when i first opened my wholesale only bakery in 1997, all i made were biscotti.  my husband and i sold them to nearly every coffee house in town.  my preference is for a softer texture and by softer i do not mean chewy or moist.  my biscotti are dry like a biscotti should be; the difference is that they do not need a soaking to bite into.  luckily, neither did these cantuccini when sliced according to nick's directions-1/4" thick.

 today also happens to be my husbands birthday.  he loves biscotti and i knew he would enjoy these.  to bake a cake for just the two of us is really a waste and with a cookie like these, i knew they weren't going to get stale before they were gone.  the recipe calls for whole almonds and since i was making just a third of the recipe, i only needed 1/2 cup.  and of course, i didn't have that many.  they quickly became almonds and pistachios.  just to make it interesting, i subbed semolina flour for half of the all purpose flour and added a little kewda water.  if you have never heard of kewda water, it is a floral flavoring similar to rose water and is quite common in indian cooking.  to find it, visit and indian or pakistani market, they are sure to have some.

 nick takes one step in slicing the biscotti that very few recipes follow and it is also something i learned on my own many years ago just by trial and error.  to get perfect slices with almost no breakage, you must let the baked cookie log cool completely.  wrap it up and slice it tomorrow if you have to.  the reason is that the internal moisture will distribute as the biscotti cools and when completely cold, the crispy outer crust will soften and prevent the edges from breaking as you slice through the log.  so listen to nick and listen to me-let it sit!!!

 beautiful, clean slices.  love the color that the semolina and the pistachio give the cookies slices.

 and this is how the log looked after i sliced it-see, no broken pieces!

the perfect accompaniment to a cup of coffee in the late afternoon.  too bad the husband wasn't here to share them-he went morel hunting instead.  what can i say, it is his birthday-and i have a feeling i know what we are having for dinner tomorrow...happy birthday darry!

to see what the other bakers came up with, visit the tuesdays with dorie page!