Getting Nuttier

Pretty much my favorite place to do grocery shopping is Trader Joe’s. Well, that is because there isn’t a Wegmans close by (DC residents, have you heard the latest rumor about the Fannie Mae building on Wisconsin Ave and them looking at the space??).

Anyway, there is of course point-of-purchase stuff at TJ’s and one I opted to grab recently was their Mixed Nut Butter. It’s a blend of Dry Roasted & Salted Almonds, Cashews, Walnuts, Brazil Nuts, Hazelnuts & Pecans. Sounds great. I’m just not a huge fan of the Brazil nuts, but I’ll eat them. It doesn’t say smooth anywhere, which is cool, too.

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The flavor was ok, but it was almost too many flavors fighting with each other. When you buy mixed nuts you can taste each one on its own. I also love chunky nut butter and it was a bit too smooth, for me. Not much salt in it, though salt was an ingredient. Not something I’ll buy again, but glad I tried it. Price was $5.99, I think. Not cheap, especially for the size. Totally worth the test.

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Beer-scotti

Yes, oh, yes.  You read it right.  Why stick with the norm?  I love making biscotti, but when opportunity knocks, find the bottle opener!  I have my monthly supper club tomorrow and the theme is Texas.  I was debating what to make and after some deep thought I remembered that a beer I love is right out of that state.  The name — Shiner Bock.  So (I feel like Alton Brown here), time to get to the lab.  I’d made one beer-scotti before, but it’d been awhile, so I had to get the juices (aka beer) flowing.

I started by combining 12oz of Shiner (1 bottle) and about 1 cup of dried cranberries in a pot on the stove to have the cranberries get nice and drunk.  Oh, sorry, absorb all the liquid.  I kept it at medium heat for about 20 or so minutes.

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Once that was done, I let them cool for a bit (and sampled a few…very good!…keep away from children, unless you need them to fall asleep).

Next I was trying to decide what flavors to use as accents.  Do I want this to be savory or sweet?  I chose to do a bit of both.  I opted for rosemary and cinnamon.  So, here I go with all these ingredients, and of the the staples of my normal recipe…

Flour, sugar, baking powder & soda, salt, cinnamon, rosemary, egg yolk, vanilla, (more) Shiner, drunk cranberries, walnuts.

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Dough ready, make it into two logs, throw it into the over at 375 degrees for 25-30 minutes.

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When the first part is done, take it out and slice it.  I use a pizza cutter.  Makes it so easy.  Samples required at this point.  WOW!  WOW!   For the second baking, I just turn the oven off and throw it back in there. I don’t time it, I know it will work perfectly because I’m not picky on the crunchiness, softness, etc. of the biscotti.  If you are wondering, the recipe called for 10 minutes at 325 degrees.

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I am so excited to take this to supper club tomorrow.  So, to summarize…pass me another.  Make that a biscotti this time.

 

Baking…1,2,3…Biscotti

It’s Friday, it’s pouring rain, what better a thing to do before dinner than bake?  You have to have dessert, right?  And it helps to prep for a party tomorrow.

One of my favorite things to bake is biscotti because it has (or truly doesn’t have to have) butter, which means those who are lactose intolerant can totally enjoy it!  And, it keeps for awhile.  The crispier, the better!!  With the recipe I use, I take the basics and alter the flavors.  Tonight, I was looking around my kitchen and opted to include dark chocolate (duh!), whiskey and walnuts.  There is a health benefit in all of those, in some way, shape or form.

 

Pic 001The aforementioned recipe I use is from a cookbook I received years ago.  You just combine:
-2+ c flour
-3/4 c sugar
-1/2 tsp baking powder
-1/2 tsp baking soda
-1/2 tsp salt
-1 tsp cinnamon
-most times I also use 1 tsp nutmeg

Blend. Then add:
-1 egg
-1 tsp vanilla

Those are the basics.  Then you just need more liquid that is flavor and other dry ingredients for flavor, from nuts to chocolates to dry fruit to more spices  You might also need some water sometimes just for that extra bit of liquid.

So for this recipe I used:
-‘some’ whiskey
-about 1/2 cup chocolate chips
-about 3/4 cup – 1 cup walnuts

 

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Once the dough is mixed, you make it into flat ‘logs’ — I can’t think of a better word — and bake it for 30 minutes at 375.

 

 

 

 

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After half an hour, take it out and cut it into ‘biscotti’ shape.  And you know, these crumbs fall off– MUST sample.  They have no calories, come on.  Then, contrary to what the recipe said, I just turn the oven off, put the cookie sheet back in there, with the cut biscotti on it and let it sit in there, be it 1 hour or overnight.  Again, the crispier the better.

 

 

Pic 007Final product, perfect!