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  1. Friday, December 7, 2012

    {Biscotti Week} Cinnamon Sugar Biscotti

    Today we have the last yummy recipe for biscotti week!

    Cinnamon Sugar Biscotti. I must admit, when I walked into our little biscotti class last week and saw all the various biscotti flavors at hand, the cinnamon sugar variety was the one I was least attracted to. I don’t know, I just wasn’t expecting much.

    Well, low expectations served me well this time around because HOLY MOLY this biscotti was good. At first bite I was stunned at how much I loved it, and then proceeded to eat not one, not two, maybe not even three of these delectable goodies. Seriously, I’m not sure how many I ate. Best not to dwell on such things.

    I don’t really have much to add to this recipe. It’s from Joy the Baker (again) and she got it from Epicurious. And it’s fabulous. Enjoy!

    {Biscotti Week} Cinnamon Sugar Biscotti
    From Joy the Baker (originally from Epicurious)
    Recipe type: Dessert
    • 2 cups flour
    • 1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
    • 1 teaspoon baking powder
    • ¼ teaspoon salt
    • 1 cup granulated sugar
    • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
    • 1 egg
    • 1 egg yolk
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla
    • For Topping:
    • ¼ cup granulated sugar
    • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 1 beaten egg (for brushing biscotti before baking)
    1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F and arrange two baking racks in the upper portion of the oven. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper (or silpat) and set aside.
    2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cinnamon, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
    3. Also whisk together the cinnamon and sugar for the topping and set aside.
    4. In the bowl of a stand mixer, fit with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Scrape down the bowl and beat in the egg followed by the egg yolk. Beat in the vanilla extract.
    5. Add the dry ingredients to the creamed butter all at once. With the mixer or just with a spatula, bring all of the ingredients together until a somewhat stiff dough is formed.
    6. Divide the dough in two on the two baking sheets. Shape each half of dough into a 9-inch long and 1½-inch wide log. Brush with the beaten egg and sprinkle very generously with cinnamon sugar. Bake the two sheets on two different racks in the oven for 20 minutes. Rotate the cookie sheets for even baking and bake for 20-25 more minutes until golden and firm to the touch.
    7. Remove from the oven but keep the oven on. Let biscotti cool until able to handle. Using a serrated knife, cut logs into ½-inch wide diagonal slices. (Click here to see a diagram for how to cut biscotti.) Place biscotti cut side down on baking sheet and sprinkle with more cinnamon sugar. Bake again until pale golden, about 10-15 minutes.
    8. Store in an airtight container for up to one week.

  2. Epiphanie Giveaway Winner

    And we have a winner for the Epiphanie bag giveaway!

    Elizabeth, who said, “I think the Lola bag is beautiful!”

    She’s right. I gave that bag to my mom. It’s REALLY cute.

    Congratulations, Elizabeth! For the rest of you, if you want to shop for an Epiphanie bag, hop to it – some of the styles are selling out as we lead up to Christmas!

  3. Thursday, December 6, 2012

    {Biscotti Week} Chocolate Candy Cane Biscotti

    Today I have another awesome biscotti recipe for you. I think this one was my favorite. Actually, the one I’ll share tomorrow might be my favorite. No, this one. No, that one. No, this one…obviously I can’t decide.

    This biscotti is so good because it tastes great but it’s completely, ridiculously adorable and perfect for the holidays.

    Chocolate Candy Cane Biscotti
    Barely adapted from Land O Lakes
    Recipe type: Dessert
    • ½ cup butter, softened
    • ½ cup sugar
    • 3 eggs
    • 2½ cups all-purpose flour
    • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
    • ⅔ cup finely crushed peppermint candy canes
    • ⅔ – 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (if it’s Christmastime, use the red and green chocolate chips that Nestle makes)
    • Dark chocolate for melting and dipping
    • more crushed candy canes (or you can by little candy cane pieces in the bakery section – it’s in a container like sprinkles come in)
    1. Heat oven to 350°F. Combine butter and sugar in large bowl. Beat at medium speed, scraping bowl often, until creamy. Add eggs; continue beating until well mixed. Reduce speed to low. Add flour and baking powder; continue beating until well mixed. Stir in crushed candy and chocolate chips.
    2. Divide dough into fourths on lightly floured surface with lightly floured hands. Shape each into 9×1½-inch logs. Place logs 3 inches apart onto lightly greased large cookie sheet.
    3. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until tops are cracked and ends just start to turn light brown. Remove from oven; reduce oven temperature to 325°F. Cool logs 10 minutes on cookie sheet.
    4. Jane note: this biscotti is kind of fragile, so handle with care, both at this point in the recipe and later when you dip them in chocolate. If you’re careful they will not break”¦and it’s worth it because they taste so darn good!
    5. Carefully remove logs to cutting surface. Cut into ½-inch slices with sharp serrated knife. (Click here to see a diagram showing how to cut biscotti.) Discard or eat ends (I recommend the eating option). Arrange pieces on same cookie sheet, cut-side down. Continue baking for 12 to 14 minutes, turning once, or until cookies are lightly browned and crisp on both sides. Remove to wire cooling rack; cool completely.
    6. Dip each biscotti half way into melted dark chocolate; shake off excess. Or dip the bottoms in so they are dipped lengthwise – click here for a picture. I prefer this way. Place onto waxed paper. Immediately sprinkle with little candy cane pieces. Let set at room temperature until chocolate is hardened (about 1 hour).

  4. Wednesday, December 5, 2012

    {Biscotti Week} How to Cut Biscotti

    When my friend Erika was teaching us how to make biscotti last week, a lot of us couldn’t visualize how to cut the biscotti until we actually saw her do it. Someone asked that very question with yesterday’s first biscotti post, so I’m just going to do a little drawing. Hopefully this will help!

    Basically you form a long log. The width sort of depends on how you are going to cut it – straight or angled. Most recipes give you a guide for what size to make the log. The fun thing about biscotti is the world is your oyster! The flavor possibilities are seemingly endless, as are the sizes and way you cut them. I personally like an angled cut, so the biscotti looks a little oblong-angle-ish, if you know what I mean. Square or angled, big or small, it’s delicious any way you cut it!

    More biscotti recipes coming…stay tuned!

    How to Cut Biscotti PDF version of graphic

  5. Tuesday, December 4, 2012

    {Biscotti Week} Chocolate Cherry Biscotti

    Every December I’m on the lookout for a holiday treat to give to friends and teachers. It has to be scalable, delicious AND look cute! It’s a tall order but I believe I have found the perfect special something for this year: biscotti.

    I’m not some big biscotti person. I don’t ever buy it and rarely eat it. I mean, it’s good, but I just don’t think about it much. Last week I made biscotti with friends for the first time and have decided that homemade biscotti is a completely different thing. An amazing, crispy but fresh-tasting and wonderful thing. A thing that I can now add to my “can’t resist eating it” list. Because I really needed to add something else to that list.

    Last week my amazing friend Natalee organized a Christmas craft night. She got four of our friends to each take a station and teach us: wreath making, holiday card display wreath, Christmas glitter ornaments and biscotti. I, of course, signed up to make biscotti. If there’s food involved, I am there! My other friend Erika directed our biscotti making efforts and she did a wonderful job. It was delicious, fun and informative (did you know biscotti bakes twice? I had no idea!). It was such a great night!

    Since I loved all of the biscotti we had that night, I thought I would share the recipes with you this week! Perhaps biscotti will make it to your holiday cookie plate this year, too!

    Today’s recipe is Chocolate Cherry Biscotti, which is adapted from Gourmet and Joy the Baker. It is AWESOME. That is all.

    Chocolate Cherry Biscotti
    Adapted from the Gourmet Cookbook and Joy the Baker
    • - 1⅓ cup dried cherries
    • - 2½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
    • - 1 cup sugar
    • - 2 tablespoons honey
    • - ½ teaspoon baking soda
    • - ½ teaspoon baking powder
    • - ½ teaspoon salt
    • - 3 large eggs
    • - 1 teaspoon vanilla
    • - 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
    • - 1 large egg beaten with one teaspoon of water, for an egg wash
    • - milk and/or dark chocolate for melting and drizzling
    1. Soak cherries in boiling water to cover in a small bowl until softened, about 10 minutes. Drain, then pat them dry with a paper towel.
    2. Put a rack in the middle of oven and preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Butter and flour a large baking sheet, knocking off excess flour.
    3. Whisk flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Add eggs, vanilla and honey and mix with an electric mixer at medium speed until dough forms. Add cherries and chocolate chips and mix at low speed.
    4. Turn dough out onto a well-floured surface and knead several times. Halve dough. Using floured hands, form each half into a slightly flattened 13-by-2-inch log on baking sheet, spacing logs about 3 inches apart. Brush logs with egg wash.
    5. Bake until golden 25 to 30 minutes. Cool logs on baking sheet on a rack for 10 minutes. (Leave oven on.)
    6. Transfer logs to a cutting board. With a serrated knife, cut diagonally into ½-inch thick slices. (Click here to see a diagram for how to cut biscotti.) Arrange slices, cut side down in one layer on a baking sheet (it’s fine if slices touch each other). Bake, turning once, until golden and crisp, 20-25 minutes. Transfer biscotti to racks to cool.
    7. Once cool, drizzle biscotti with milk chocolate, dark chocolate or both! Let sit until chocolate sets, about an hour.
    8. Please note, Joy's recipe for honey pistachio biscotti says 1½ cups of flour, but you need to use 2½. The original Gourmet recipe calls for 2½ cups and Erika said the first time she made it with less flour and the dough didn't work.


  6. Sunday, December 2, 2012

    Week 306 Menu

    Hi, everyone! My menu is super late today. And I don’t have a photo. Because we’ve been at war. At least it feels like it. We were up all night with Owen, including a trip to the ER where we found out he has croup. So, Nate and I started the day out completely dazed, exhausted and overwhelmed…and then I found lice in one of the girl’s hair this morning. Because we didn’t have enough to worry about. Thank GOODNESS my sister is in town and it’s the weekend or I don’t know what we would have done!

    Chicken Piccata
    – Mashed potatoes

    Butternut Squash Soup

    – Take out (swim lesson night)

    – Leftovers

    Kitchen Sink Quesadillas

    – Cate’s birthday party! I’m sure we’ll grab a bite somewhere when the party is over!


    Looking forward to seeing your menus! And hope your week is starting off better than ours! Here’s to getting a good night’s sleep…yeah right! 😉

  7. Friday, November 30, 2012

    More Epiphanie Love {Giveaway}

    Back when I chose the Ginger Epiphanie bag as my camera/diaper bag, I thought I’d found perfection. And the Ginger was perfect…for a while. Until this summer, when I got a new Epiphanie bag. The Lyric. I LOVE my Lyric. Love. Love. Love. It’s such a great bag and I gush about it so much, my friend Katja went and bought the same exact bag. And now we’re twins at school pick-up. ‘Cause we’re cool like that.

    I love the pockets on the front…one for my phone, one for my keys!

    Oh, Epiphanie, how I love thee. Let me count the ways…I love having a stylish bag that also keeps my camera safe…I love having those camera-lens-divider-thingys because they also keep my purse junk organized…I love the high quality feel of the leather…I love all the cool colors…I could go on and on!

    Enough gushing.

    This giveaway is now closed.

    Let’s do a giveaway!

    One of you super duper lucky, randomly-selected commenters will get to choose your very own Epiphanie bag! Woohoo!

    Same drill as always. Leave a comment to enter. That’s it! If you feel like it, go ahead and tell us what your dream Epiphanie bag is. As much as I love Lyric, I think Charlotte has caught my eye. (Attention guys! They have a men’s line of bags now, too!) Comments must be posted by Midnight PT on Thursday, December 6. 


    Plenty of space for my stuff. And when I have my camera with me, the bag is tall enough that all the stuff still fits on top of the camera, in the same organized fashion. It works really well!

    Good luck with the giveaway! And big thanks to Epiphanie!

  8. Wednesday, November 28, 2012

    Holy Long Recipe, Batman! (Confiture de Lait)

    Remember a few years ago when I went to the Fancy Food Show with my lovely French, food-blogging friend Vanessa? And how she introduced me to confiture de lait, a.k.a. milk jam, a caramel sauce made from milk that is a specialty item from Normandy? And how my life was never the same because from that moment on I knew milk jam existed but had no way to actually buy it? You don’t remember? Well, trust me. It’s all true.

    You may be wondering even after my roundabout description above, what the heck is milk jam? It’s just that…a jam of sorts made from milk and sugar. It’s kind of like sophisticated sweetened condensed milk. And it’s heavenly.

    Since you can’t buy it in the States, I decided to make confiture de lait myself once. And I failed. Miserably. This past month, however, I felt like I needed to give it another try, maybe using a slower cooking technique. I followed this recipe for confiture de lait exactly because it looked like it would turn out very nicely. I had a day where I was going to be home all morning and doing a bunch of other cooking anyway, so I figured it wouldn’t be a big deal. If I started cooking the milk around 9 am, it would be done by the time I had to pick kids up at school at 2 pm. No problem. Easy peasy.

    Yeah, not so much.

    ELEVEN hours later I had a small pot of confiture de lait. Yes, you heard me. Eleven. I picked Anna up at school then rushed home to stir. I picked Cate up at school then rushed home to stir. I dropped the girls off at dance then rushed home to stir. I picked up the girls from dance then…you guessed it…rushed home to stir. It was bananas, people. Bananas.

    So, was it worth it? Nope. It wasn’t. My milk jam just wasn’t the same as the stuff from Normandy. Mine is still good, but just not the same. And, to top it all off, once I refrigerated the confiture de lait after it had cooled, I ended up with a giant, hard, sugary lump of milk jam in the center of the container. Only half of the batch ended up being useable. Quel horreur!

    It’s story-sharing time! Tell us about the most time- or work-intensive recipe you’ve ever made. And tell us if it was worth all that time, labor and love. And, if it was worth it, please share the recipe because it must be amazing!

  9. Libby’s Giveaway Winner

    Time to announce the lucky, randomly-selected winner for the Libby’s giveaway! Drumroll, please…dudududududu…

    Brandon, who said, “If it tastes as good as it looks, we are all in for a treat!”

    Congratulations, Brandon! I think we’ve made blog history…one of my very few and far between male commenters won a giveaway!

    Big thanks to Libby’s for a wonderful giveaway!

  10. Sunday, November 25, 2012

    Week 305 Menu

    I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving! Our weekend has been fun and sweet, filled with small moments like these that overwhelm me with gratitude.

    The kids have been pretty good the last few days and we’re not sick of them or the leftovers. It’s a miracle! I suppose we still have one more day of the weekend to get through. 😉

    Turkey sandwiches with cranberry and cream cheese
    – Fruit and chips

    Turkey a la King
    – Rice and veggie

    – Take out

    – Leftovers

    – Nate and I are going to the Pac-12 Championship game. GO STANFORD!
    – Food at the stadium for us, pizza at home for the kids

    Chicken Piccata
    – Mashed Potatoes and veggie

    – Spaghetti
    – Salad and bread

    Can’t wait to see your menus! Interested to see if you’re still swimming in leftovers or are ready to move on from Tom Turkey! Thank you, as always, for posting!