I love to bake. I love the process of it, from the measuring to the mixing. I love watching the ingredients come together and take shape as something completely different. I love the smell that permeates the house as it bakes, and I love turning on the oven light to watch it rise and turn golden. It's fascinating.
For several years I've daydreamed about owning a bakery (I even have a name picked out). It's fun to dream about, but in all likelihood, it's not something I will be able to do. From time to time, I ponder the idea of setting up a booth at our local farmer's market to sell cakes, cookies, muffins, granola and the like. I think that's doable. I'd have to be very disciplined to get up so early on a Saturday. Then there's the question of when would I do the baking -- the night before? Something to think about.
For now, I enjoy baking for the pure fun of it. Last week I made these almond biscotti. It was only the second time I've made biscotti (the first was to make these pistachio chocolate biscotti), so I'm still working on perfecting the technique. The dough for this almond biscotti recipe became very, very sticky. Rather than add more flour (which this article suggests), I struggled to shape the dough into two logs. It was very frustrating! Here's a tip: flour your hands or coat them with cooking spray to make it easier. I wasn't sure how the final product would turn out, but the biscotti are very tasty and very crunchy -- delicious with coffee, hot chocolate or cold milk. Enjoy!
2-1/2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup slivered almonds, toasted (I used sliced almonds instead)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Using an electric mixer, beat in eggs and vanilla until combined. Add almonds and beat until combined.
2. Divide dough in half and transfer to a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet. Form each half into a 2-1/2" wide, 3/4-inch tall log. Bake until dough is firm but gives slightly when pressed, about 20 to 25 minutes, rotating sheet halfway through. Let cool on sheet on a wire rack for 20 minutes.
3. With a serrated knife, cut logs into 1/4-inch slices on the diagonal and arrange, cut side down, on two parchment-lined rimmed baking sheets. Bake until biscotti are crisp and golden, about 15 minutes, rotating sheets and flipping biscotti halfway through. Let cool on sheets on wire racks. Store in an airtight container, up to two days, or freeze for up to three months.
Serving size (2 cookies): 150 calories, 4 g fat (1 g saturated), 4 g protein, 23 g carbs, 1 g fiber.