My friend Michaela is a wordsmith, in the most literal way: she makes everything up. A regular dictionary just doesn’t apply to her vocabulary. When her cat does that mystical cat thing, sleeping in a corner with both eyes closed but still completely conscious of everything going on around her, she calls it speeping – a cross between sleeping and spying. Proscuitto is pronounced pros-kah-TOOT-y. And everything – yes, everything – can rhyme with something nonsensical. Herego, in KaelaSpeak, a nice pair of shoes is not cute, they’re cutie patootie. A job is a yobsicle. And her vocabulary is highly contagious, which means I call my own cat Kitzen McBitzen and my dog roo roo, and Tito is my husbie and at 3 p.m. I eat snackycakes.
Which brings me to hottie biscotti. My term, actually, but her fault.
I buy biscotti when I need just a bite, typically when I’m having coffee with someone else, and feel I’ll be giving my espresso drink the love and attention it deserves, rather than shoving it behind my laptop, to be consumed only when thirst overrides my interest in whatever I’m writing at that moment.
Since I’ve been adding real, whole grains to much of my baked goods, it seems silly not to make biscotti with something – protein, nutrition, anything – that will actually give me more than just a sugar high. The dip in dark chocolate is for health purposes only.
The plumbing project continues – today we had no water, which meant I baked these and left all the dishes in the sink all night long. (Of course, today had to be the day I dropped an egg on the floor.) Tomorrow I’ll give Bo and Jason a few of these when they show up (although you can bet I won’t be mentioning the whole grains), and I’ll take the rest to my neighborhood hardware store, to say thanks to Marty, Willow, Mike, Luna, and Jennifer, the folks who regularly stuff my dog with treats and bent over backwards last weekend to help us locate the last cans of the proper paint base in Seattle.
I recently heard a treatise (on NPR) on the physics behind the best way to dip a cookie into a liquid – you know, for maximum milk retention given a stable, holdable cookie. But now, of course, I can’t find it. Let me know if you heard it.
Whole Wheat Cranberry-Walnut Biscotti (PDF)
Recipe 249 of 365
Based loosely on the recipe for Chocolate-Dipped Pistachio-Orange Biscotti in Stonewall Kitchen Favorites, these are traditional biscotti – cookies baked twice, first in a loaf, then sliced and baked individually – with some not-so-traditional mix-ins.
TIME: 30 minutes active time
MAKES: About 30 biscotti
2 cups walnuts or walnut pieces
1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for forming biscotti
3/4 cups whole wheat flour
2 tablespoons raw quinoa (red or white)
2 tablespoons wheat germ
2 tablespoons oat bran
2 tablespoons flax seed meal
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup olive oil
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup dried cranberries, roughly chopped
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped and melted when biscotti is cool (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, add the walnuts in a single layer, and toast on the middle rack for 5 to 10 minutes, or until lightly browned and fragrant. Transfer the nuts to a cutting board to cool, coarsely chop if whole, and set aside. Return parchment paper to baking sheet and set aside.
Meanwhile, place the flours, quinoa, wheat germ, oat bran, flax seed meal, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large mixing bowl, and whisk to blend. Set aside.
In another bowl, whisk the oil, eggs, vanilla, and milk together until blended. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, mix until well combined, and stir in the toasted walnuts and cranberries. (The dough will be slightly wet.)
Flour a large work area, dump the dough onto the flour, and dust the top with more flour. Using floured hands, divide the dough into two pieces. Working with one piece at a time, form into two flat logs about 3 inches wide and 12 inches long, adding flour as needed to prevent your hands from sticking to the dough and the dough from sticking to the counter. Transfer both logs carefully to the parchment-covered baking sheet, about 3 inches apart, and bake for 30 minutes, or until firm to the touch and just beginning to brown.
Remove the biscotti from the oven and decrease the oven temperature to 300 degrees. When the biscotti are cool enough to handle, transfer them to a cutting board and use a serrated bread knife to cut them into 3/4″ wide slices on a diagonal.
Transfer the biscotti back to the baking sheet, cut side up, and bake for 40 to 50 minutes, turning the biscotti over halfway through baking, or until browned on both sides and quite firm. Cool completely on wire racks. If desired, dip half of each biscotti into the melted chocolate, and let dry on waxed paper until chocolate is firm. Store in an airtight container up to 2 weeks.