Sometimes my kids do not know what to make of me. Random thoughts quite often pop out of my mouth in response to their questions or during light-hearted conversations. Usually these are movie quotes, parts of songs or TV show quotes from the 70s and early 80s. It puzzles their young minds. Here are a couple of examples:
“Mom, should I pack a water bottle for school today in case I get thirsty during STAR testing?” my son innocently asked.
“I think you should pack heat,” I responded.
My son tilted his head to one side with a confused look on his face, but he got a bottled water and put it in his backpack. Another successful communication event! (Seriously folks, I would never advise my child to take a weapon to school.)
“Mom, should I hook Maddie up?” Maddie is our dog and my son is referring to putting on her leash.
I seized the opportunity to quote The Andy Griffith Show, something my children have never seen (and I only saw reruns – I’m not that old), with my best Barney Fife imitation by saying “Well gah-lee Andy, I think we ought-a lock ’em up!”
“What? Andy? Ugh…Mom!” my son said. Poor child…
And nary a single vacation-by-car goes by without me singing “Driving down the highway in a make-shift Model-T aaa-ooou-yah-ooou…It’s a beautiful morning and it’s gonna a be a beautiful day…” from The Brady Bunch.
My children are doomed. I don’t see this ending any time soon.
The other day my kids realized we didn’t have any cookies in the house, and I usually have some sort of sweet for their lunches or after school snack. I told my kids I would make cookies while they were at school. I made biscotti. It’s a cookie of sorts, but in their minds cookie doesn’t mean biscotti. They were less than over-joyed. But being the kind of mom that I am, I blew on my fist, tapped it against the oven door, and opened it to reveal fresh baked cookies from a recent cookie dough fundraiser.
“Just call me Fonzie,” I proclaimed. Sadly, they had no idea who I was talking about. I hope you do, because if you don’t then I just really dated myself and made you read a bunch of drivel.
Eggs, an egg yolk and sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment beaten until smooth. (Please ignore the strange nail art in this photo. It was the brain child of the manicurist who was trying to fix a smudge I made on my freshly painted nails.)
Pour in one stick of melted and slightly cooled butter. Warm is good. Hot butter could begin to cook your egg mixture. Not good.
Add a tablespoon of anise seeds. Mix.
Add in 4 teaspoons of lemon zest. I used Meyer lemons and I didn’t really measure it out. I just guessed and then added a little more.
Pour in a little anise extract, which along with the previously added anise seeds gives this a nice light licorice flavor. It’s not overpowering.
Time for the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, baking soda and a pinch of salt.
Before I got started, I lightly toasted some walnut pieces in the oven for about 10 minutes at 375 degrees. Let them cool before adding in to the mixture, which if you can see isn’t a completely smooth dough. It’s clumped together.
Mix the walnuts in as best you can without completely over-working the dough. Inevitably, some of the walnuts will rest, unincorporated, at the bottom of the bowl under the dough. That’s okay.
Pour the dough directly onto your silicone or parchment-lined baking sheet and begin shaping into two 14-inch logs. This is the time to work in any walnut bits that have gone astray. Put into a 375 degree preheated oven for 25-30 minutes or until light brown.
Remove from the cookie sheet from the oven and let cool on a wire rack for about 20 minutes. Adjust your oven temperature down to 325 degrees.
Once cooled, remove one log and slice on a slight diagonal with a serrated knife. The outside of the biscotti will be crispy, but the inside will still be soft, especially toward the middle of the log. The ends of each log will probably be done at this point.
Place the sliced biscotti back onto the cookie sheet and put into the oven for 15 minutes, flipping each one over half way through the cooking time. See the end nubs in the background? They were the quality control samples. They passed!
This recipe makes a lot of biscotti; the recipe states 4-1/2 dozen but I’ve never counted. They are crispy but not tooth-breaking hard. I’m sure you can easily freeze these, or share them with friends/neighbors/teachers.
Or you can sit down on a quiet morning and dip them into your coffee. These biscotti are delicious at any time of the day. They are not overly sweet and can be served for tea or dessert.
Lemon, Anise and Walnut Biscotti
3-2/3 cups unbleached flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 eggs plus 1 egg yolk
1-1/3 cups sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
1 tablespoon anise seeds
4 teaspoons grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon anise extract
2 cups walnut pieces, lightly toasted and cooled
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment or silicone baking mat. Combine the flour, baking powder, and baking soda in a bowl and mix together. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment mix eggs, egg yolk and sugar until smooth. Add the butter and anise seeds and mix well. Add the lemon zest and anise extract and mix just until incorporated. Add the flour mixture and mix until the dough comes together. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl to be sure everything is together then mix in the walnuts.
Shape the dough into two 14-inch logs on the prepared cookie sheet. Flatten the tops of the logs slightly. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until light brown. Cool the cookie sheet on a wire rack for 20 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees F.
Cut the logs diagonally into 1/2-inch slices; arrange the slices on the cookie sheet. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown, turning the slices over halfway through the baking time. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Store in an airtight container. Makes 4-1/2 dozen.
(Recipe adapted from The Junior League at Home, a compilation of various recipes from different Junior League cookbooks from across the U.S. This recipe originally appeared in California Fresh Harvest from the Junior League of Oakland-East Bay, CA)