Tuesday, October 14, 2008
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.