Friday, September 21, 2012

Vanilla Orange Biscotti

On Wednesdays, I have 6 am meetings.  As a frame of reference, I am normally trying to convince myself to roll out of bed only after 6 am on weekday mornings.  Needless to say, Wednesdays are not my favorite day of the week.  I am a little less friendly on Wednesdays.  I tend to drink 3 times as much tea on Wednesday.

I thought these early meetings were the worst.  Until this Wednesday.  Now this Wednesday was the worst.  You see, the 6 am meeting got cancelled and nobody told me.

That's right, I got to work at 6:05 (because I am never on time to 6 am meetings, I just can't do it), rushed to the conference room and it was black.  Dark.  Nobody.  I half considered staying in the dark and curling up under the conference table for a quick nap.  Looking back, I totally should have taken the opportunity.  The rest of the work day was a fog.

And then I got home.  I went into my kitchen, did some stuff, and came out with vanilla orange biscotti.  This is a new phenomenon for me, but there is something about zesting an orange that makes you just perk right up.  Horrible memories of 6 am meetings melted as I poured some good, locally made, incredibly alcoholic, vanilla extract into the dough and mixed.  And shaped.  Baked, Cut.  Baked again.

I thought about drizzling chocolate as a finishing touch, unsure how well the naked biscotti would hold up on its own.  But it was completely unnecessary.  Plus it required more time, more effort, and after these came out of the oven the rest of my night went something like this:  biscotti, tea, a little more biscotti while watching Everybody Loves Raymond, bed.  If only every Wednesday would end so well...

Vanilla Orange Biscotti
Adapted from the smitten kitchen, because of course Deb knows how to rock biscotti

Needless to say, BGCB.  These were fantastic and made a good sized batch.  Ben and I were able to somehow make them last 6 days.  They were just as crisp and crunchy the last day as they were the first.  Just make sure they are tucked away, hidden if you actually want them to last at all, in an air tight container and you'll be good to go.  They aren't making it longer than a week though, that's a guarantee!

1 1/2 c. sugar
10 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
3 eggs
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract (use your good stuff!)
1 Tbsp. Triple Sec (or other orange liqueur)
1 Tbsp. orange zest
3 1/4 c. all purpose flour
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c.sliced almonds
1 large egg white

Preheat oven to 350.  Line cookie sheet with parchment paper or silpat, lightly dusting with flour.

In large bowl, mix sugar, melted butter, eggs, triple sec and orange zest well.  Sift flour, baking powder and salt into wet mixture.  Mix until well blended.  Add almonds and mix until evenly distributed.

Turn dough onto prepared baking sheet.  Using ample flour on your hands (dough is sticky!), divide dough into two even logs, about 2.5 inches wide and 1 inch tall, as far apart as possible on the sheet.  Whisk egg white until frothy and generously brush over dough logs. Bake in 350 oven until golden, about 30 minutes.

Remove logs from oven and allow to cool at least 15 minutes.  If you try to cut them while still warm, you will not have clean cuts.  Once cool, cut logs diagonally into 1/2 inch slices, using a serrated knife.  Discard parchment paper from baking sheet and lie slices cut side down.  Return to 340 oven and bake until golden brown, about 10-12 minutes.  Flip biscotti and return to oven to brown on remaining side, another 8-10 minutes.  Remove biscotti and cool on sheet a few minutes, before transferring biscotti to a rack to cool.  Enjoy!

PS - totally just realized biscotti is both singular and plural.  Or at least I think it is, and that counts for something, right?? 

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