Chocolate Walnut Biscotti

I hope you had a Merry Christmas, everyone! I wish that all of you were able to spend lots of time with family and friends, and of course enjoyed lots of delicious food. I have had a very relaxing break so far, mostly involving sleep and organizing myself before I have to go back to the hectic schedule I have once school starts up again.

One thing that I have been very grateful to be able to do over these past few weeks is really explore what New York has to offer in terms of classical music, namely going to lots of concerts. Some of my favorite things that I’ve seen this year include Mozart’s Cosi fan tutte, and most recently, the New York Philharmonic’s performance of Handel’s Messiah. It’s hard to find time mainly because I’m the only one in my family that thinks it’s really fun to watch an opera for 3 and a half hours, but between birthdays and the holiday season, I’ve made it work.

While I don’t get sucked up into the holiday cookie craze too much (this is when gymnastics season starts, after all), I still love to make a nice treat for my family and others to enjoy this time of year, and one of my favorites is biscotti. Between the endless thumbprint cookies, crinkle cookies, gingerbread, etc., I like to make something that isn’t cloyingly sweet and is easy to enjoy in the morning, afternoon, or as a sweet treat after dinner that won’t give you more calories than you can count.

Chocolate Biscotti

Chocolate Walnut Biscotti- Adapted from The Sweeter Side of Amy’s Bread

Ingredients

  • 1 ounce (1 tablespoon) unsalted butter, slightly softened
  • 7.48 ounces (1 cup + 1 tablespoon) sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 6 ounces (1 1/8 cup) all purpose flour
  • 1.83 ounces (1/2 cup + 2 teaspoons) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon instant coffee powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1 3/4 cups toasted walnut pieces
  • 4.59 ounces (3/4 cup) semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 large egg for egg wash

Directions

  1. Position one rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line the cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In the bowl with an electric mixer, cream the butter with the sugar for 1 minute or until a sandy mixture forms. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix until fluffy and lighter in color, about 1 minute more.
  3. In a medium mixing bowl, add the flour, cocoa powder, coffee powder, baking soda, and cinnamon and whisk together. Add to the butter and egg mixture in 2 additions, and mix only until combined.
  4. Fold the walnuts and the chocolate chips into the dough, and mix until evenly distributed. The dough will be thick and hard to stir. If it is too sticky, chill briefly.
  5. Divide the dough into 2 equal pieces, about 16 oz. each. On a lightly floured surface, roll each piece of dough into a log about 2 inches wide by 14 inches long by 1 1/2 inches high. Place the logs on the prepared sheet pan with several inches between them.
  6. In a small bowl, mix 1 egg with 1 teaspoon of water to make an egg wash. Brush each log with egg wash, coating them evenly on the top and sides.
  7. Bake for 27 minutes, rotating the cookie sheet from front to back halfway through baking, until very lightly browned and somewhat firm. Remove from the oven and reduce the oven temperature to 300 degrees.
  8. Cool the logs for 20 minutes, then place them onto a cutting board. With a serrated knife, slice each log on a slight angle into 3/4-inch thick pieces, keeping them in a row. Slide the row of biscotti together, lift and place back onto the cookie sheet, then separate the slices, leaving 1/2 inch of space between each one.
  9. Bake again for 9-12 minutes, rotating once during baking until the biscotti feel slightly firm.
  10. Enjoy!

Enjoy the rest of the holiday season!

-Rayna

 

Brown Sugar Walnut Pound Cake

Hello again! As I’m writing this, I’m watching the most exciting sporting event of the year, the Olympics. Clearly I’m most excited about the gymnastics part, but I like watching the other sports too. 🙂 I’m planning this week around the times of the team and all-around finals, and even at the gym we’re stopping practice early on Tuesday so we could watch the team finals live! You could say my coach/gym/everyone is super excited.

This delicious pound cake from Martha Stewart has an interesting story behind it. During the end of the year in my English class, my teacher would have 3-4 students present a poem each week. However, she made it clear that she didn’t want every single student just walking up to the front of the room and reading the poem out loud- she wanted something interesting. Since my poem was titled The Black Walnut Tree, it was only appropriate that I bake a cake with walnuts in it. And let me tell you, this cake was fantastic. It was super moist and the candied walnuts added a nice crunch and a touch of sweetness. My English class loved it, and I think you will too!

Brown Sugar Walnut Pound Cake

Makes 2 9×5″ Cakes

Ingredients

  • 1 pound (3 1/4 cups) all purpose flour
  • 4 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 9 large eggs
  • 2 cups candied walnuts

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrres and prepare 2 loaf pans.
  2. In an electric mixer, cream together the butter and the sugar until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Add in the eggs one by one until combined. Add in the vanilla extract. Slowly add in the flour until just combined. Fold in the candied walnuts.
  3. Divide the batter into the prepared baking dishes and bake for 65 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out cleanly.

So simple, so delicious.

-Rayna 🙂

(I was experimenting with different angles in these pictures- what do you think?)