Many merry meetings today indeed! But never again will I visit the Roit and Lu residences both in one day – each visit adds several inches to my waistline. No joke. But I admit it – I love them! I mean who can resist the comforts at the Burrow (Roits) with tons of treats like holiday Reese’s Pieces, Molasses Spice Cookies, chips and pretzels gallore (thank you Mrs. Roit) and plenty of ingredients and pantry items ready for using. So after tiring hours of playing Wii Sport and Wii Play (I love boxing btw), we set off for the kitchen and made biscotti. This is the first time I’ve made biscotti, but this recipe is absolutely divine. It is better than my favorite store bought Nonni’s Biscotti, and that is definitely saying something. As a coffee lover, biscotti is my best friend. These particular biscotti are great alone, but if you want to dunk them then baking them a little longer wouldn’t hurt. Just keep an eye (or both) on them. The original recipe is taken from Peggy Cullen’s Got Milk? The Cookie Book.
Preheat oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment or foil, or you can just grease a cookie sheet and that is good too. In a food processor, pulse the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt until mixed. Add the cubed butter and again pulse a few more times until you see visible chunks of flour/butter the size of beans. In a separate bowl, combine eggs and vanilla. It is important to use exact amounts with the liquids as it will alter the texture and density of your biscotti. Pour the vanilla/egg mixture over the dry ingredients and pulse to blend evenly. Mix in the coarsely chopped toasted nuts. Anything will do, but we used almonds. This is (the best kind in my opinion) a very forgiving recipe, and pretty much foolproof. At this point, if your dough is crumbly and dry, turn the dough onto a table and using the heel of your hand, mash the dough to moisten the dry spots. Then form the dough into a disk. If your dough is wet and stick, attempt to gather it and also form it into a disk. Split your disk in half, and with each half, form a 12″ long & about 2″ wide log. This will be easier with drier dough, but if you have wet dough then go ahead and treat it like play dough. I kid you not – it is a lot of fun. Transfer both logs onto a baking sheet if you haven’t already and flatten each log slightly. Sprinkle 1 tsp of sugar (optional) on top. Bake for 30 mins. or until the logs are golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on tray for 5-10 mins. Leave the oven on!! After cooling, cut each log crosswise into 1/2″ diagonals. Return to oven and bake for another 7-10 mins. until the sides show the barest hint of color. Do not over bake as they will continue to harden on the tray even after removal from the oven. Allow to cool on the tray and enjoy. These may be stored in an airtight container for up to 5 days – that is, if they even last that long. They won’t at my house.
After stuffing myself with goods with the Roits, I had an at-home dinner with Em & Jess. Now Em is also a baking enthusiast and you will be seeing her stuff posted every so often. Well tonight, she had created this entire table full of yummy comfort foods, perfect for a cold, rainy day (well, any occasion actually). We had what I will call a Mashed-Baked Potato, a soft and beautifully fluffy cloud of cheesy and bacon goodness. I hope you aren’t on a diet, because not being able to eat these would kill you. But I digress. The concept is very simple, and even without a recipe, I think you could replicate it, though I will post one up ASAP. So pretty much, after halving large Russet potatoes, scrape the inside of each, while retaining the outer shell. These will be used later on. Make mashed potatoes with the insides, any recipe that happens to tickle your fancy will do. Stuff the mashed potatoes back inside each shell half. Top with cheddar cheese (or any other kind), scallions, bacon, etc…, and bake until the cheese has melted over, forming a net over the mash. A dash of pepper never hurts. Serve hot. Eat immediately. Repeat as necessary.
In addition, we also had a chicken casserole that Em’s boyfriend Lawrence threw together, homemade guacamole and chips, King Eggrolls, a store bought Boston creme cake and my coconut cupcakes from the other night. Speaking of which, after a day, they turn really dry, so do not over bake and err on the scant side with the dry ingredients. I am super picky when it comes to eggrolls because no one beats my mom’s recipe, but that is another post for another day. Maybe this weekend actually if I’m lucky.
So, the best way to end a food filled day? A hot cup of pearl milk tea over intimate conversation with a close friend. I went to Q-Cup for that, as Fantasia was closed and Quickly’s was too crowded. Being a slight food snob, it is surprising that I found myself downing the rest of my pearl milk tea at Denny’s, which by the way is open 24 hours and caters to a varied crowd – insomniacs like myself, kids that need sobering up, and a few old folk sprinkled around Denny’s trademark formica tables and green vinyl booths. And now that I’m home at 3am, I realize that I still do not have a recipe for Red Balloon tomorrow. Fabulous. So I guess it’s another late night (or early morning?) of baking. Until tomorrow readers!