Lemon Pistachio Biscotti with dark chocolate drizzle !! Perfectly crisp and delicious!

Gosh ! Don’t you just love  Biscotti ? Well I do ! Atleast now. Twice baked goodies of perfection originated in Italy and as American as apple pie, these  find their way into my pantry now more often.

Lemon Pistachio Biscotti With dark chocolate drizzle

There was time it was viewed as dry dust by me. More like saw dust. Hard as rock and bone dry, I was puzzled by it’s universal love. Maybe I had just got a bad batch, I reasoned. But nope after a couple of tries just nodded my head pleasantly and fixed a smile on my face whenever I was offered one, all the while thinking perhaps it was an acquired taste and how not choke on it!  I mean how much can one love those hard as rock, dry as saw dust cookies…. even when dipped into espresso?

Then, I chanced upon these glorious home made treats from a fellow worker. Moist but yet crispy with tons of flavor !  ( Yes, I do realize its quite oxymoronic in its description). She was generous enough to bake me some for Christmas. Rather her mom was a sweetheart ! And then over the years I developed tender feelings towards it. That’s just me, sort of need to crack the science in it.

Lemon Pistachio Biscotti With dark chocolate drizzle

And another version at TJ’s marketed as the soft biscotti caught my fancy. Rather DH bought a tub and we I indulged in it a bit too much over the weeks. Whatever the case, I fell in love. Oh!, not that dewy, butterflies in the stomach kind , my lips are are truthful, but the OMG I can bake this at home kind.

So after much wheedling for the recipe and a few pointers and misfires, this recipe from a friend and mish mashed with the one on Allrecipes site works perfectly!

Crispy and crunchy and perfectly dippable but eminently eatable as a standalone cookie,with a generous combination of lemon and pistachios and with a touch of softness so you enjoy the cookie ! Add a tiny, tiny touch of wow with the gorgeous drizzle of dark chocolate ! C’mon now, what’s your excuse for not reaching out for one ?

Lemon Pistachio Biscotti With dark chocolate drizzle

  • Baking temp : 375F
  • Baking time : About  25 minutes + 10 minutes 
  • Prep time : 15-20 minutes
  • Yield : 24-48 cookies

 Ingredients

  • All purpose flour / APF : 3 1/4 cups/ ( I use unbleached and unbromated one)
  • Canola/Vegetable/Sunflower oil : 1/2 cup
  • Sugar : 1 cup ( 1/2 white + 1/2 brown or all white granulated)
  • Large Eggs : 3 ( at room temperature)
  • Baking powder : 1 Tablespoon
  • Lemon extract : 1 Tablespoon
  • Grated zest of lemon : 2 tsp.
  • Chopped raw pistachios : 1/3 cup ( chopped roughly)

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Line 2 baking trays with parchment paper. This recipe absolutely needs parchment/ baking paper. Greasing the sheets with oil or dusting with flour might not really produce the same kind of success.
  3. In a separate bowl mix 3 and 1/4 cups of flour and baking powder and whisk well to ensure they are mixed. While measuring out the flour, just scoop and level the flour. DO NOT make it a packed cup.
  4. In  the bowl of your stand mixer or the large mixing bowl you are going to use, break open  3 eggs and beat together with oil and sugar and lemon extract and lemon zest. Just a couple of minutes will do. You are aiming for a homogeneous mix of all.
  5. Add the flour to this egg- oil -sugar and flavor mix in stages until all incorporated. The dough will be heavy and sticky. DO NOT add any more flour than what is called  for.
  6. Scoop out the dough onto the 2 prepared  cookie sheets by dividing it as equally as possible.
  7. Flour your hands well. Yep I prefer flouring my hands rather than flouring the sheet or the dough. Just dip your hands or dust it well with the flour. Now pat each dough to about 1/2 inch thickness and the length of your cookie sheet. I kept the width of the dough to about 9 inches ( ala the starbucks kind) so it did not extend all the way to the end. But if you keep the width to about 4 – 5 inches then you can form a neat rectangle that extends to the length of the cookie sheet.
  8. Bake for 25 to 28 minutes in the preheated oven, until golden brown.
  9. Remove from the oven and let it cool for a couple of minutes. DO NOT wait too long then the cookie log will harden to a point beyond usability. Using a pizza cutter or a very sharp serrated knife, make 1/2 inches to 1 inch slices thickness.
  10.  Place the slices cut side up back onto the baking sheet. Bake for an additional 5-7 minutes on one side.
  11. Then flip it and back for another 3 minutes or so on the other side. Please do keep an eye out. You want these toasted golden brown and not burn to crisp.
  12. Remove and cool on a wire rack.
  13. Once cooled very well, melt some dipping dark chocolate and drizzle to create a lovely pattern.
  14. Let the drizzle set and enjoy the fresh baked biscotti with a cup of espresso, latte or like in my case a good cup of tea!

Lemon Pistachio Biscotti With dark chocolate drizzle

Peanut Butter Swirled Chocolate Brownies – Quick Fix Kind!

This particular brownie is an ode to my youngest … A3 , as I would like to call him. It’s funny how much peanut butter this child can live on. You name it and Peanut Butter (PB) makes it better for him. Flatbreads to plain sliced honey wheat bread – everything tastes better with PB. Actually it’s kind of funny because my oldest would not touch it with a 10 foot pole (Unless he was starving in a deserted island and the Skippy jar would save him! Honestly I think he might debate the merits of it though… ) and my middle one is ambivalent about it but my youngest, the smile on his face for a PBJ makes it well worth it. With the wet spring weather and last days of old man winter, I think this particular day calls for brownies. Any kind of them would do. But since my youngest left with a I cannot believe I have to go to school today, I felt this might bring out the bring smile on him. Nothing beats the smile of your loved one after a downer day!

Brownie Tower!
Brownie Tower!

 A doctored brownie mix – a quick fix brownie with swirls of peanut butter. Rich, gooey, chocolaty brownie with the smooth sweet and salty swirls of peanuts. Life is good!

Lay them out
Lay them out

Prep time : 10 min   Bake time : 35 minutes    Serves  : 6-8 

Ingredients:

  • Brownie Mix : 1 pack ( I used the regular one, not the family sized one)
  • Eggs, milk and oil : As per the instructions on the box
  • Peanut butter : 1/3 cup
  • Brown sugar : 2 Tbsp ( optional ) 

Instructions:

  • Pre heat the oven to the required temperature on the box. Most brownie mixes call for 325F to 350F.
  • Grease a 8 by 8 inch square pan and keep aside.
  • Prepare the brownie mix according to the instructions on the box . ( I used a Ghirardelli double chocolate mix. It called for 1 egg, 1/3 cup of oil and 1/4 cup of water and to be gently stirred in).
  • Scoop out the batter in the greased baking pan.
  • In a microwave safe bowl, warm the 1/3 cup of peanut butter to soften it. Not melt it but soften it to a stage where it will be easily swirled. I used the smooth and creamy kind and since it already was sweet enough, I did not add the 2 tbsp. of extra sugar to sweeten it.
  • Add these near melted dropfuls of peanut butter and swirl gently.
  • Bake as per the instructions. Mine took about 35 minutes.
  • Cool, cut and serve with a tall glass of milk!
Waiting
Waiting

 

Verdict: Worth it!

Chocolate Nut and Berry Clusters

Cleaning up the pantry sometimes yields surprise finds. So take this for instance.. I had a couple of bags of semi-sweet chocolate chips. Honestly when I did find these , my thought was to fall back into baking a nice banana chocolate bread. But then again, surprise…surprise .. You  really cannot do the banana bread without bananas.. Ahem! Okay so off they went on the counter while I foraged more. The search yielded cashews, almonds, walnuts and then some dried berries. You see where I am going with this right? Aha.. Not really a tough one is it? Out of the finds of the pantry, I give thee .. Absolutely amazing choco berry nut clusters! Ta-Da!

Measured out choco chips
Measured out choco chips

Decadent melt in the mouth, chocolate nut and berry clusters! All you need is a microwave safe bowl and this is ready in  minutes. 3-4 minutes to melt the chocolate and a few to chop the nuts if desired. Takes about an hour or two for the clusters to set at the room temperature. Now that I think about this , I feel this is a throwback to the Cadbury’s dairy milk fruit and nut – a luxurious treat of the yonder years when I grew up in India. And also incidentally the only kind DH would indulge in. I on the other hand love dark chocolates. I would to love to make this in the dark chocolate combination. But that again is the beauty and versatility of this particular nibble. Your mind is the only recipe book you need to refer to..

You really cannot go wrong with this of course!

Nuts and Berries of your choice
Nuts and Berries of your choice

INGREDIENTS

  1. 2 cups of semi sweet white and dark choco chips mixed.
  2. 2 cups of raw almonds, walnuts, cashews and dried cranberries and blueberries. Measure and chop roughly if desired or you can make it with whole nuts too.
  3. A pinch of salt to bring out the chocolate. Sea salt is better of course. 

METHOD

  1. Take a couple of cookie sheets or baking trays and line it with parchment paper or baking sheet.
  2. In a pyrex glass bowl or any microwave safe bowl, add the chocolate chips and melt it in high for 3 minutes in 1 minute intervals. Stir it in after each 1 minute interval. The end result is a creamy smooth mass of melted chocolate.
  3. Add the chopped nuts and dried berries to the melted chocolate and stir it in. Add the pinch of salt and stir it in. Give it one more stir to ensure there is as much even distribution of the nut berry mix with melted chocolate.
  4. Using a tablespoon, measure out scoops of these on the parchment paper lined trays.
  5. Cool these completely before storing them ( about 1-2 hrs. depending on the room temperature). Need it in a rush? Stick these in the freezer or chiller tray of your fridge.
  6. Serve these with decadent mounds of vanilla ice cream or just eat them plain.
  7. Best stored in the refrigerator.
Pick me!
Pick me!

Moist Coffee ( Espresso) – Cocoa Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

What do you do when you have bananas attracting fruit flies ( well almost ) and you have an impromptu out of town trip on your hands ? Well you have many options, I say.. Transform the bananas into

  1. Banana bread
  2. Banana and nutella concoction of various kinds
  3. Choc and banana combination .. Ooh!!! heavenly…..
  4. Experiment – coffee, cocoa and banana and white choc chip.

I mean seriously you cannot go wrong with any of these combinations , but the last option was just begging to happen.. So here we go..

Adapted from Various sources

Yields 14-16 muffins Prep time : 15 min   Baking time : 20 -25 min

Ingredients:

  • 3 large over-ripe bananas (1 1/2 cups), mashed 
  • 1 1/2 cups self rising flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/3 cup baking cocoa – unsweetened
  • 2 teaspoon instant espresso powder or instant coffee powder
  • 1/3 cup white chocolate baking chips
  • 1 egg, whisked very well
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup unflavored oil or olive oil
  • 1/3 cup milk 

Method:

  • Preheat oven to 350℉.
  • Paper line or prep muffin pans for the required quantity .
  • Add in the baking soda to the flour and mix it very well. Next add in the instant coffee or espresso powder and whisk it very well as well. Follow it with the unsweetened cocoa powder next
  • In a mixer or blender of your choice, combine mashed bananas, sugar, and oil. Mix until well blended.
  • Add milk and egg.Blend well as well.
  • Add the dry ingredients to the wet and fold in the choc chips in it.
  • Fill muffin cups 3/4 of the way full. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  • Allow to cool for 15 minutes in the pan before transferring to cooling rack to cool completely.

 

Oats and Almond Butter Choco Cookies – Eggless and delicious!

A mouthful of  a name.. But that’s all right, cause this is one cookie you will fall in love with.  A breakfast cookie, crunchy crumbly cookie, a bite into low sugar decadent piece this is. And thanks to Sonal’s post on her blog and the Epicurean delights group on FB, this recipe beckoned to me. Plus I was on the lookout for a flourless one as well, eggless too. The clincher, this is not one of those overtly sweet cookies.
 
I honestly wanted to follow the recipe to the T, but then again I had a jar of almond butter sitting in the refrigerator. It did need to get used up , so switching things  a bit, I ended up with this cookie.
Also I used unsweetened cocoa powder and used brown sugar entirely.

Ingredients:

  • Almond Butter: 1 cup (I used the creamy one made from roasted almonds)
  • Oats ground : 1 cup(Roasted quick oats are pounded to get this)
  • Brown sugar : 1/2 cup packed.
  • Baking powder : 1 tsp
  • Unsweetened cocoa powder :1/3 cup
  • Milk :1/3 cup (Added in intermittently to help the binding the dough)

Method:

  • Preheat the oven to 350deg F and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  • Whisk all the dry ingredients in a bowl.
  • Add in the almond butter and mix thoroughly. At this point the mix is partly crumbly and part sticky.
  • Add in the 1/3 cup of milk intermittently to get a soft pliable dough. You don’t want a runny mess on your hands, so depending on the brand of oats in use, you might need more or less of the required amount of milk.
  • Drop in spoonful’s of batter  and press gently or roll into small lime sized balls and slightly flatten them on to the cookie sheet. I was actually able to roll it out into small globes because of the almond butter.
  • Bake at 350 deg F for 15-18 min.
  • Enjoy them warm with a glass of milk or just eat them plain!
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