Tuesday, October 14, 2008

TWD: Lenox Almond Biscotti


My sweet 13 month old is going through some "issues" right now, which is making our kitchen time together a bit dicey. First, there is the separation anxiety. Yes, if I so much as take a step towards leaving the room, or heck, a step towards leaving Sweet Baby's personal space, Sweet Baby completely loses her baby marbles. I only wish that I were as great as Sweet Baby, at the tender age of 13 months, seems to think I am. I will have to be sure to remind her of these days when she's 13 (years) and asks me to park a few blocks away so her friends won't see me. This separation anxiety complicates my time in the kitchen, because it means that I frequently find myself cooking with Sweet Baby in one arm, which leaves only one free hand for the bag of flour/mixing bowl/sieve/chocolate chips/cutting board/measuring cup/spatula that I am also trying to manage. As should be abundantly clear by now, I really need full use of all of my God-given appendages if I am to stand half a chance of succeeding in the kitchen.

Then there is Sweet Baby's stranger anxiety, which means that I can't invite strangers who actually know how to bake to come into the kitchen and help me. I am patiently waiting out the separation anxiety and the stranger anxiety, but I am having a much harder time figuring out what to do RIGHT NOW about Sweet Baby's affliction with their lesser known cousin, KitchenAid anxiety.



Yes, that's my Sweet Baby, having a small (okay, a large) come-apart because I turned on the Kitchen Aid. Things have gotten to the point where if I so much as take my Kitchen Aid out of the cabinet, Sweet Baby will start wailing. I'm at a loss about what to do about this. I mean, my kids are my life, of course, but I've had my Kitchen Aid longer than I've had my kids, and my Kitchen Aid does not wake me up in the middle of the night, talk back to me, or bicker with the Cuisinart. It's staying put.

And my trusty Kitchen Aid helped me mix up the dough for this week's Lenox Almond Biscotti in a flash. But aside from the dough-making portion of the recipe, the written instructions were not terribly clear to me. Visuals would have helped. Having a cryptologist in the house would have helped. First, the recipe said to make two logs about 12 inches long by 1.5 inches wide. I had a really hard time imagining how these



could possibly turn into 30 biscotti. Then I remembered my preternatural ability to make even the chunkiest of cookies flat



and I relaxed a little bit. Maybe my knack for turning out flat cookies would finally work to my advantage. And sure enough, after the first bake:



I could finally begin to see how this biscotti making business was all supposed to work. But then after waiting for them to cool for 30 minutes, Dorie says to cut the logs up and "stand them up like a marching band." A marching band? When I think of marching bands, I think tall, proud, upright.



Surely Dorie did not want me to stand up my biscotti up tall, as if they were playing the French horn? I decided that that would be physically impossible without the liberal use of Betty Crocker frosting, and that what Dorie really meant was to stand them up like a marching band at, um, naptime?



Maybe that minor revision will make it into the next edition of Baking.

After the second 15 minute bake, I found that some of my biscotti were still pretty soft. And who likes a soft biscotti? Nobody! I am not sure how much longer than 15 minutes that I had to bake some of these, but it was definitely at least 5 minutes more -- a pretty significant amount of time, at least as far as baking is concerned. But by baking them longer, some of the ones on the ends started to look overdone. Basically, after the initial 15 minutes are up on the second bake, you kind of have to watch these closely, take out the ones that are done, and keep baking the ones that are still soft. It was actually kind of annoying, to be honest with you, but SO WORTH THE EFFORT, because these are UNBELIEVEABLY good.




I made a double batch of these and brought most of them along on a trip to the lake with David's family this past weekend. They were a big hit, and were pretty much gone by the time we left on Sunday. These are definitely one of my favorites of all of the TWD recipes that I've done so far. They are already on the "Christmas cookie" list. And the "company is coming to town for the weekend" list. And the "it's Thursday night and I haven't made those Lenox Almond Biscotti in a couple of weeks" list. You name the list, these biscotti are on it. Thank you, Gretchen of Canela & Comino, for introducing me to my new favorite non-chocolate cookie.

50 comments:

n.o.e said...

The question I've been dying to ask is: Did you use the world's most expensive spice?? I really wanted to use cardamom, but the biscotti had other plans, more in the citrus/cherry direction. I agree - these are really really good. My husband and I have been having them with our morning coffee/tea. What a treat!

And yes, I suffered the Separation Anxiety, the Loud Noise Anxiety, the Stranger Anxiety and more. With my kids. And one of the dogs... Try giving your little one a treat while you reach for the Kitchen Aid. And another one while you turn it on. etc. With any luck she'll start thinking "Kitchen Aid = Good Things For Me." It worked for my dog!

Jules Someone said...

I, too, have had my Kitchen Aid longer than I have had my children. They have resigned themselves to be second in my heart and have started baking and understanding why my love lies with a machine that I can turn off.

Nice biscotti. ;-)

Anne said...

Now that you bring it up, I've had a longer relationship with my KitchenAid too! Fortunately, my son finally likes to help in the kitchen which makes it so I can ALMOST get things done...

If you do figure out the appliance anxiety, though, let me know- at our house the blender and food processor bring shrieks and yells of "No no no no no!"

And great job on the biscotti, too- it looks perfect and I'm glad to see how you made it work- I was so unsure after reading through the recipe!

Natashya said...

The cookies look great! The logs are supposed to flatten out like that while baking - no worries.
Hope the baby gets over the anxiety soon, seems like so long ago for me...
Great job!

Lori said...

sweet baby marbles, that's such a great post! your biscotti look simply WONDERFUL. sweet baby woes or not. :)

Prudy said...

Marching band! Yes, I had the same issue. I just went ahead and laid them down like I always do. Sweet baby girl-so cute! I can completely relate. My little boy was glued to my side about that time. One thing I loved to do was give him a paintbrush with a bowl of water and let him paint the kitchen counters. No paint of course. This would give me about 2.5 minutes in the kitchen, which at the time seemed like a vast improvement. Your biscotti looks lovely and delicious.

Amanda said...

First- I LOVE your new profile pic!!!! Second- These pictures are so great!!! I think you can definitely add food photography to your list of skills now. Your biscotti look perfect!!!!! Poor Caroline- Maybe she's competing noise level with the Kitchen Aid......

Pamela said...

That separation and stranger anxiety is a tough one. Christian used hate the KA, and would often say NO when he saw me near it. Then I would just keep looking at him and say "Mommy is going to make a little noise now, but it's okay." Then I would flip the switch, and he would do a little dance and by that time, I would be finished. Eventually, he would leave the room and now it doesn't seem to bother him.

Anyway, nice job with the biscotti. Sounds like they were a huge success!

Lady Baker said...

Cath--your photos look so yummy!

Seeing that cup of coffee with the biscotti "reminds me of that time we went to Paris..." (ha!!)

I saw your post to me--YES, I agree--we are so making these over Thanksgiving! And FYI I came "thisclsoe" to texting you over the weekend just to say: "Marching Band???" :)

Great new profile pic, by the way!

Flourchild said...

I thought the biscotti wasn't going to look right after it spread like it did on the pan. It did actullay turn out though! I like your biscotti, nice job.

I have three kids and out of all three my middle child(now 14 was a mamas girl) she freaked if I left her side...now wants me to be the one to park down the block. You will be there before you know it. THey grow up so fast.

Mary Ann said...

I love your posts! You crack me up. Not to depress you or anything, but my 2 year old is still not over the stranger anxiety or separation anxiety. She has had it since birth though :) It has gotten a wee bit better. Your biscotti look delish and admire your dedication to getting those biscotti "logs" the right dimensions.

Audrey said...

One of my baby nephews used to scream bloody murder the minute he was put into his car seat...he's 12now, and hangs out with his aunt without being paid to, so he turned out to be a keeper. Weren't these great?

Maria said...

Love your new photo and the biscotti looks so tasty! Always love your posts!

BAKE-EN said...

Wow, it sounds like you have your hands full right now (literally)! Great looking biscotti.

Andrea said...

Your biscotti look great! I guess I must be the only person who likes soft biscotti, oh-well. My daughter was the same way with the noises on mixers, blenders, etc. And that seperation anxiety, awww! Your Sweet Baby is such a cutie even in mid meltdown. Love the marching band at naptime :) These biscotti are going on my TWD favorites list as well. Oh, the ice cream little dipper is called a rival "hot topper" they have a picture on amazon, but it's much cuter in person!

Karen said...

You are funny! I love reading your posts. I had a sweet baby with that separation anxiety and fits over any noise. He is 4 now and is better. I definitely wouldn't part with the Kitchenaid! :)

Peggy said...

They look perfect! Love the soldier photo. You are really getting so good with the photos Cathy. Do not stray from the KA!!

Bridgett said...

Awww, I remember those clingy days where you cook while holding the baby! I miss that now that my youngest is 6 even though she thinks I can easily still pick her up, ugh! I finally started dragging her in the high-chair all around the kitchen and loaded the tray up with spoons and measuring cups. That worked for a while at least and now she wants to take over the cooking.

Your biscotti look like they turned out perfectly!

kim said...

lol, the kitchenaid needs attention too! ;) great job, glad you liked these so much!

Engineer Baker said...

What a funny post! I love the comment of how your KA doesn't bicker with your food processor :) I hope your 13 month old's stranger and separation anxiety calm down soon, that must be just a wee bit stressful.

spike. said...

I tried to actually stand them up! Needless to say, it didn't work.

CB said...

Poor sweet mommy! OMG I give you props for trying to bake one handed while trying to keep her from crying when you turn the KA on! I am sure you love your daughter but I am kinda digging my non-child status after reading that esp if I had to choose between my KA. That's a toughie! I hope future children don't ask me to choose b/c they might not like the answer. HAHA. Glad I wasn't the only one that had issue with "marching band" instructions! Definitely needs a rewrite or visual in the next edition.
Clara @ iheartfood4thought

Marie said...

Your biscotti look fabulous cathy! Poor wee one. Our dog goes spastic when we turn anything like that on. We just put her outside, but obviously you can't do that with your sweet little girl. Have you tried getting her to help you?

Alwayzbakin said...

Your biscotti look great. Mine were not marching bands either. No biggy. I have a sweet baby, too. He is 2 1/2, though, and still likes my attention and does not like strangers. I'm waiting for that to get better!

Melissa said...

Oh my gosh, I could have written that post myself! My son is turning 1 on Saturday and has been going through separation anxiety for a few months. I'm still waiting for it to subside. He has to be held or else he is hanging on my legs screaming. I usually end up just stopping what I'm doing, leaving the room to play with him elsewhere for a while, and then when he's happy and distracted, I run back into the kitchen to do a few more things. It can be quite aggravating!

And my biscotti was also still soft after the second bake, so I left them in a tad longer. I still think they should be crunchier, but they're good nonetheless. Yours look yummy!

Gretchen Noelle said...

Your new favorite non-chocolate cookie? Yeah! Hope the anxieties wear off soon!

Marthe said...

I neither have kids nor a Kitchenaid, so I can't be off much help in that department.....
The biscotti look great though! I absolutely loved them!

Jess said...

I also have a Kitchen-Aid-phobic child...who is 3 1/2. Actually, she's willing to stand a few feet away from it now and turn in circles with her arms akimbo - her "mixer dance." Whatever works! Delicious-looking biscotti. Makes me want to go have another one or two or three...

Teanna said...

Great, great post as always! I put my marching band down as if they were taking a nap as well!

And how sweet is your little one!!! SO CUTE!

Candy said...

Yeah I have the opposite problem with my 16 year old. I call it "invading his space" anxiety! Your Biscotti look great!

pinkstripes said...

Yes, these are perfect 'list' cookies. I'm definitely making these again. These were so easy to make, however, I did not have to hold a 13-month old. Regardless, your biscotti turned out perfectly gorgeous and if you can make them look like that with separation anxieties, you deserve a gold medal. :P

AmyRuth said...

Oh my goodness, just wanted to get in on all the comments and say how much I giggled while reading about your biscotti adventures. They seem to be a big hit everywhere even with the communication disconnect in the recipe. I really think we are learning the baking personality/characteristics of biscotti which is vastly different from say "chocolate chip cookies?"

My 3 kids are big now ...let me just say how impressed I am with all of you with 'younguns." Hats off to all! They really will have heart warming memories of you sharing your passion for food and home when they are older. Chin UP : )

Thanks for stopping by for a visit. Your biscotti and all your photos tell a great story and are beautiful.
AmyRuth

Veronica said...

Well given that my children are now of the age (as you alluded to) where I have to park the car around the corner, I can tell you with complete confidence that this will pass and there will come a time where you won't be able to bake things fast enough to feed their ever growing appetites..but for now maybe you can just bake things that only require mixing with a wooden spoon?

SUGAR BETTY said...

Awwww, baby so cute! Cute! Cute! Cute! Oh, where was I? Oh yeah, the biscotti! They look pretty impressive. I skipped on the biscotti this week since I am not a personal fan (baked cupcakes instead), but I am sure yours was tasty! Got tea? :)

Matt said...

I loved your post and found myself laughing through the whole thing. Just wait. My son is eighteen and now I'm the one going through separation anxiety!

When he was little, much older than your baby, he would have to sit on the floor of the bathroom while I took a shower. When I would tuck him in at night he would ask me, "Now where are you going to be, Dad?"

"Um, in my bedroom..."

"Are you sure?" I mean where on Earth did he think I was going? One time I got so frustrated with the whole line of questioning that I said, "Well... I thought I might hop into the car and drive out to find a late night mall and maybe shop for a few hours." He looked at me horror struck until he finally realized how ridiculous that was. He actually laughed. It didn't cure him of it, but he got over it soon after.

Now, I have to coordinate our calendars in order to spend any quality time together. So enjoy the clingy time. It won't last...

Mike Spoodles said...

Wow! That's high praise for biscotti, but maybe you're taking into account all the tribulation you had making it. Looks scrumptious!

Proud Italian Cook said...

Those do look Unbelievibly good!!
I'd take a few of those with my coffee anytime!

Prudy said...

I'm back. I just had to tell you that I loved your comment on my post so much yesterday that I made my husband get out of bed to read it. He laughed too. But maybe it was at me a little bit. Hilarious! If you are this funny in real life, I might have to move next door.

Rebecca said...

Oh, poor baby! YOU, not the actual baby. ;) This too shall pass.

I'm adding these to my holiday baking, too. Since I got married, my gift list has exploded. Hope everyone likes biscotti!

bakingwiththeboys said...

While I can identify with the baby issues (but mine are a little past that now), I had to stop reading at the comment about the kitchen aid being in a cabinet. I can only DREAM of having enough cabinet space for a mixer. Jealous, I tell ya. Jealous! If I add one more kitchen item, I may have to start sleeping with my pots.

Sherry Trifle - Lovely Cats said...

Lovely biscotti! I agree the instructions were way off - the baking timing and the stand-up soldiers. Soldiers lying down is a much better idea.

Prudy said...

Cathy:
I just wanted to let you know that you can use any brand of instant yeast. I would just proof it before you start. Make sure your water is just baby bottle warm and let the yeast, water and a pinch of sugar (stirred to dissolve) sit out on the counter for ten minutes before you start. If it's nice and fluffy and risen after 10 minutes, then you know it's good. You probably already know this. Also, strangely enough, if you ask at your grocery store bakery, they might sell you some SAF yeast from behind the counter. My grocery store bakery uses SAF but doesn't have it on the counter for sale. Crazy, huh? Good luck!

chocolatechic said...

Awwwwhhh....

What a doll you have there.

Soak up every single minute of that time she wants to spend with you.

Signed,
mom of 2 teens

PS. Your biscotti looks great!

Di said...

Oh, Cathy, I was laughing through the whole thing. I think the separation anxiety comes and goes. Things were better for a while with my newly-turned-2yo, but now she's back to clinging and crying when I try to drop her off at daycare. With the added bonus that now she talks well enough that she's added "I want my mommmmmmy!!!!" to the mix... *sigh* Nice biscotti, by the way. =)

Shari@Whisk: a food blog said...

I like your lists -- especially the "it's Thursday night" one! There will come a day when you turn on your KitchenAid and Sweet Baby will run to the kitchen wanting to help (and lick the bowl, spoons, and paddle)!

Prudy said...

Cathy:
I'm back again! Thank you so much for your kind comments on your blog. I'm sure I don't deserve them, but I'll take them just the same.

Jacque said...

Oh no! Not Kitchenaid anxiety! Poor baby (you, not Sweet Baby, lol). I am confident that she will outgrow her current anxieties. She has to, in order to make room for all of the other anxieties headed her way (just kidding! kind of).

Aaaaanyway, I totally agree, that "marching band" bit needs to go. That one had me scratching my head too.

Your biscotti looks terrific!

Debinhawaii said...

What a fun and funny post. I have never made biscotti but after reading about how you made yours, i might be willing to give it a try. Great job and good luck on the anxieties! ;-)

Prudy said...

Ok, this is a new record for me. This is my fifth comment on your post. Don't alert the police yet,I'm really not stalking. I just wanted to tell you that I left an award and a tag for you on my blog.

Matt said...

And in a moment of shameless "copycatting", I too, left you the same award at my site. Even though Prudy recognized you first, I wanted to let you know how much I love your blog. Not many people can make me laugh, but you manage to do it!
Have a great week!

Matt

 
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