Archive for the ‘cookies’ Category

Here it is, January 3rd. You may have faced the end of 2007 with new resolutions in mind – go to the gym more, stop biting your nails, eat more cheese, whatever. If your resolution was to drink less, I’ve got a great recipe to get rid of your stash.

I’m not a big drinker myself, and we had some friends for dinner who brought over a bottle of red wine to share, leaving a good half-bottle behind. I remembered our trip to Providence, RI, when we tasted some really interesting red wine biscuits in an Italian market. They’re slightly sweet, but mostly spicy – perfect for an after-dinner coffee. Unless you’ve given up caffeine, in which case I can’t help you.

Red Wine Biscuits

2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp black pepper
3/4 tsp fennel seeds
1/2 cup dry red wine
1/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 egg white, whisked

Process or mix together the flour, sugar, pepper, fennel, and baking powder. While blending, slowly add the oil and wine and process until the mixture forms a dough. It should stay together pretty well, and you shouldn’t need a floured surface to work on, as it’s not sticky at all. Traditionally, these biscuits are made in ring shape, and you should have enough dough for 2-3 dozen, depending on how small they’re made. Keep in mind that the smaller the ring, the crispier the biscuit – I like them pretty firm, like a good biscotti, so the next time I make them, I’ll probably shape them a little smaller. They’ll spread a tiny bit, but not much on a baking sheet. Brush with the egg white and bake at 350° until the bottoms are golden brown, about 25 minutes. As these cool, they’ll firm up even more and the spiciness will increase, so you may not get a good sense of them straight out of the oven.


They’re mini, hard, spicy donuts filled with wine. What’s not to like?

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Can’t stop baking!


In the oven directly after posting this: almond biscotti (with coarsely chopped raw almonds and a dash of almond extract), with mini chocolate chips on one side, and extra fennel seed on the other. That plus plenty of hot cocoa and it should be a pretty warm winter. Yeah.


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Why did no one tell me how easy it is to make biscotti? I’ve been on a bit of a cookie craze, and the folks at work are starting to get plumper!

Last week it was Mint Chippers (yummy – shortbread-like texture, minty chocolate flavor – delish) and Coffee Meringues (speaking of easy – I’d never made meringues before, and they’re so very simple – who knew?), and this week – biscotti.

I feel a habit coming on, because after this first batch, my mind is spinning with flavor combination possibilities – almond and fig, mini chocolate chips and pepper, pistachio dipped in white chocolate… These might just be coming out of my oven soon. Anyway, for the recipe that started it all, I used a basic biscotti recipe and doctored it with fennel seed and walnuts. Since walnuts have such a strong buttery flavor, I loaded up on the fennel seed to give these crispy cookies some bite.

Walnut-Fennel Biscotti

1 1/2 cups sugar
10 tablespoons melted butter
3 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 1/2 teaspoons ground fennel seed
1 cup coarsely chopped lightly-toasted walnuts

1 large egg white

Biscotti means twice-baked cookie, so this is a two step baking project – perfect for these chilly San Diego winter days (shut up, it’s cold)!

Mix sugar, butter, 3 eggs, vanilla and ground fennel seed in a large bowl. add flour, baking powder and salt and stir until well blended. Stir in walnuts. Divide the dough in half and shape each half into a loaf, about a foot long and 3″ wide. It’ll spread a little in the oven – here’s the size of a baked loaf:


Put both logs on a baking sheet lined with silpat or parchment. Whisk egg white in small bowl until foamy; brush over top and sides of each dough log – that’s what will give you that golden sheen on top of your cookies.

Bake logs at 350° until golden brown, about 30 minutes. Cool logs completely, but leave your oven on – you’re not done yet!

slices.jpgUsing a serrated knife, cut logs on the diagonal into 1/2-inch-wide slices. Arrange slices, cut side down, on same baking sheet. Bake 12 minutes. Turn biscotti over; bake until just beginning to color, about 8 minutes. Transfer to rack and cool. Brew the hot beverage of your choice, dig in and begin plotting your next biscotti adventure.

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