Cinnamon Sugar & Roasted Walnut Biscotti

This week is hauling right along!  So so so much going on. Well kinda.  Nothing real earth shattering…just, ya know, life.

We are enjoying an Indian Summer.  A perk of fall in Ohio, or summer’s encore performance, or just a blurp in the whole world weather system.  Did you know it has an actual definition?  It is only a true Indian Summer when the temps reach 70F, the air is dry and warm, and this must follow a frost.  Fun fact of Thursday, unless you already knew this then well, did you know giraffes have no vocal chords?  If you knew both of these fun facts…then I like you.

Running that needs to happen.  Like, literal, lace up the running shoes, crank up the tunes, and run.  I did not run once while on vacation (mom may say otherwise, my walking pace may be considered a slow jog – I have never learned how to mosey.) but we did walk our toes off … so while I got in some exercise, I need to get back into my workout routine…I have a half-marathon coming up in January! (and a few pastries and mocha lattes to work off!)

I am prepping for a baby shower this Saturday for like one of the coolest gals I know…those that are attending and reading this, I hope you are hungry.  Can you say apple cider sangria and pumpkin pie?  Booze at a baby shower.  What other way are you going to get sane 30-something (or almost) women to play silly games.  Don’t worry, we have sparkling grape juice for the pregnant lady.

There is post-season baseball.  The Giants rallied.  The Tigers monopolized the Yanks.  Who will walk away world series champions…Detroit or San Francisco?  My dad says Tigers in 4.  My brother says Giants in 6.  Guess who is an Indians fan?  I am hoping for a 7 games series…mainly because I don’t want to see the season end.  Roger Hornsby said it best….People ask me what I do in winter when there’s no baseball.  I’ll tell you what I do.  I stare out the window and wait for spring. yep.

We are at the tail end of Pharmacy Week.  So, I have to deal with all the hoop-lah that goes along with all the fan fare and dinners and award ceremonies and people just stopping me on the street thanking me for being their local pharmacist…did I mention the ticker tape parade?  We are kinda of a big deal.  People just love their pharmacists.  And yes, I am being sarcastic.  But it is pharmacy week.  We got shirts at work.  They are pink.

 

Books to finish and books to begin.  Just wrapped up The Paris Wife and The Piano Teacher.  Starting Gone Girl.  In the midst of The Violets of March.  I can tell it is reading season.

I celebrated my 29 +5/12th birthday this week, no bigs.  Which means my half birthday is next month.  I will probably make half a cake.  I am not joking.

Besides all this mumbo jumbo going on…I have biscotti to share with you. Twice baked cookies.  Sweet, crunchy, snappy, dippable Italian cookies.  I snazed them up a bit with cinnamon sugar and roasted walnuts.  Nothing fancy.  Just simple flavors that make the world right.  An aroma that slows down a hectic week and brings about memories of cinnamon sugar toast as a kid.  Best with hot, dark, rich, black coffee.  Or hot cocoa.  Ah biscotti…the Italians were on to something here.

 

5.0 from 1 reviews
Cinnamon Sugar & Roasted Walnut Biscotti
 
Makes about 1 dozen large biscotti
Ingredients
  • 2 Cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 1+ ½ Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
  • 1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
  • ¼ Teaspoon Salt
  • ½ Cup White Granulate Sugar
  • ½ Cup Light Brown Sugar, packed
  • 6 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter, room temperature
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 Egg Yolk
  • 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • ½ Cup Walnut Halves
  • Topping
  • 1 Egg, lightly beaten
  • 6 Tablespoons White Granulated Sugar
  • 2 Teaspoons Ground Cinnamon
Instructions
  1. Roast walnuts first. Preheat oven to 375F. Evenly spread walnuts in single layer on baking sheet and place in preheated oven for 8 minutes. Remove and roughly chop. Set aside to cool.
  2. Lower temperature of oven to 325F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper, set aside.
  3. Prepare the topping, mix together 6 Tablespoons sugar and 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon. Set aside.
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  5. In a large mixing bowl, beat together butter and sugar until light and fluffy (about 3 minutes.) Beat in egg, egg yolk, and vanilla.
  6. With mixer on low, mix in flour mixture. The dough may be slightly crumbly but this is expected.
  7. Stir in chopped walnuts.
  8. Turn dough out onto prepared baking sheet and shape dough into a log that is about 13 to 15 inches long and 3 to 4 inches wide.
  9. Brush top with lightly beaten egg and liberally sprinkle with about 3 tablespoons worth of topping (about half).
  10. Place in preheated oven and bake for 45 to 50 minutes, until lightly golden and firm to touch. Remove from oven and let rest until cool enough to handle. Keep oven at 325F.
  11. With a serrated knife (bread knife), gently slice log into ½ inch wide slices and place biscotti cut side down on baking sheet. Sprinkle more cinnamon and sugar topping (about ¼ teaspoon) over each biscotti.
  12. Return biscotti to oven and bake for an additional 20 minutes until lightly golden. Remove from oven and let cool completely.

 

adapted from Bon Appetit  December 1997

Seattle 2012

I have just returned from a week on the west coast.  Or the pacific northwest, which sounds so much cooler, right?

I am right.

There were clouds and a bit of rain, and then some sunshine and blue skies, and then rain that came at us sideways, and then a bit more sunshine.

There were mountains in the distance and a sound immediately before us.

Hills were climbed and ferry rides taken.

The pacific ocean visited and an island discovered.

A ferris wheel ride at dusk and a jaunt around the space needle ( none of which help moments of vertigo…incase you were wondering.)

Coffee (enough to float a boat, errr ferry) was drank and french pastries were enjoyed.

And the best pumpkin beer was imbibed – thanks Kelly!

Seattle…you are kinda cool.  But I think you already knew that.

Now, I will begin my photo purge.  I apologize in advance.

 Kerry Park, Queen Anne Hill, Seattle

Kerry Park, Queen Anne Hill, Seattle

Original Starbucks, circa 1971…they have a barista from Akron.  Go figure.

Brick paved alley beside market.  I love a brick building built on a slope.

Rachel the Pig.  Pike Place Market.  Kids, unknown.

Tourist.  Locals apparently don’t use umbrellas.  Hardcore.

Pike Place Market, fish market.  Not the one that throws fish.  I saw fish throwing, but was never quick enough with my camera.

I really wanted to scare this kid.  I haven’t a clue what that says about me as a human.

Flower shop, Pike Place Market

Flowers, Pike Place Market

Pretty cabbage.  I don’t know, but I like it.

Pepper hanging do-dads.  Actual name.  If I was making them, that is.

Kilt wearing, guitar playing gentleman at Pike Place Market.

Before.

After.

Russian Bakery @ Pike Place Market

Elliot Bay Book Company.  Swoon.

Lake Washington.  If you use your imagination, you might see a mountain.

Banjo Player, original Starbucks.

Washington State Ferry.

Puget Sound

Ferry on Puget Sound, coming from Bainbridge Island

Puget Sound.  From ferry going to Bainbridge.

Sailboat off of Bainbridge

Ferry rides were a touch windy.

Bainbridge Island

Bainbridge Island

Bainbridge Island

Boat house, Bainbridge Island

Sorry, more boats.

Bainbridge Island

Mocha from Blackbird Bakery,Bainbridge Island

Me.  Enjoying yet another coffee and baked good.

Bainbridge Island.

The last picture of Bainbridge.  Promise.

Space Needle from Ferry.

Ferry passing.

We rented a car, weathered a storm, and ventured down Highway 101 along the Oregon Coast.

Cannon Beach, Oregon.

Oregon Coast

Path to beach.  Oregon Coast

Oregon Coast

I like rain.

The most angry of oceans.

Oregon Coast

Rock/small island.  Either way, amazing.

Mom weathering the weather.

More Cannon Beach, Oregon

Blowing sand, moving with such ease over the surface.

Man with family…

Quite possible that they were blown away.

The many faces of me.

Top Left, Bainbridge. Top Right, Me trying to look like my mom.  I think I have it nailed.

Bottom Left, Atop Space Needle ( I think the vertigo was getting to me).  Bottom Right, Bremerton

View of Puget Sound from Pike Place Market

The amount of blues and grays in this picture makes me a very happy lady.

And finally, Mt. Rainier.

Our day trip here was cancelled because of bad weather and not until our ride to the airport to leave did the mountain finally appear.

Thankfully, while flying in and also while leaving SeaTac, the mountains raise up through the clouds and are purely majestic.

And that my friends is about 75 pictures from roughly 400 pics that my mom and I snapped.

If you ever get the chance to visit Seattle or the state of Washington, remember to layer your clothes, have a rain jacket, be ready to climb a few hills, and keep your eyes open because there is a lot to take in.

Chocolate Shortbread Cookies

 

I made these two weeks ago.  Ya know, when I was supposed to be packing for my trip to Seattle (pics to come soon, promise), but was putting it off because I hate packing.  I figured baking from a new cookbook, that I picked up at the used book store for more than half off, was much more essential to life than packing for a trip that was taking flight in less than 24 hours.  A trip to a used book store when I should have been picking up travel size toothpastes and a new toothbrush carrier…but wasn’t because used book stores are way more fun than the bathroom isle at Target.  Just sayin’.

I procrastinate with packing from start to finish.  And unpacking…don’t even get me started.  I am staring at the suitcase right now.  Right where I left it 3 days ago and honestly where it will remain for days/weeks to come.  I need help.

Am I the only one that hates to stuff, and yes I mean stuff in literal terms, clothes and toiletrettes into a piece of luggage that will be your dresser for the next few days/weeks/months?  I seriously dread this part of vacation.  How am I supposed to know what I will need?   I can’t see into the future.  I don’t know the exact weather – the 10 day forecast is only so accurate.  I don’t know the dress code to all the restaurants we will dine in.  And shoes.  How many pairs is too many?  And I have to keep it under 50lbs or I will be charged what?  Seriously?  Therefore, I tend to overpack if I am heading to a place for the first time.  And I will always forget something…generally a hairbrush or socks or mascara.  It is just annoying…and not fun.  And a whole lot of decision making.  And I am Miss Indecisive.   Just ask anyone who has asked me to pick a place for dinner…

Is there a help group for indecisive people?

 

Baking and used book stores are way more fun.  These are two places where decisions are easy to make.  Bake the cookies, buy the book.  Done.  Easy.

Chocolate Shortbread
 
Ingredients
  • 1 + ½ Sticks Unsalted Butter, room temperature
  • 1 + ¼ Cup + 1 Tablespoon All Purpose Flour
  • 3 Tablespoons Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • ¼ Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
  • ¼ Teaspoon Salt
  • ⅛ Teaspoon Baking Soda
  • ½ Cup Granulated Sugar, plus extra for dusting.
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 325F. Line a 8 x 8inch baking dish with parchment paper, leaving a bit overhang the edges. Set aside.
  2. Whisk together flour, cocoa, cinnamon, salt, and baking soda. Set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter and 1 Cup sugar until light and fluffy (about 3 minutes), remembering to scraped down the sides of the bowl as you go along.
  4. Slowly add dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
  5. Empty dough into middle of prepared pan and with a spoon/spatula/fingers, evenly spread dough out into prepared pan. Place in freezer for 15 minutes to firm.
  6. Remove from freezer and with a fork, prick holes all over dough. Place in preheated oven and bake for 20 to 22 minutes until just firm to touch.
  7. Remove from oven and while still hot, cut cookies into squares or rectangles, and liberally sprinkle with extra granulated sugar.
  8. Let cookies cool completely.

adapted from Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook

Apple Butter Bacon Pizza

Apple butter is probably one of my favorite foods this side of the Mississippi.  Now if you go west of the Mississippi, all bets are off.  I mean, who knows what I will encounter.  Wisconsin and a whole state of cheese are west of the Mississippi…While apple butter would surely hold a spot in the top 5, cheese surely may knock it down a few notches.  However, cheese and apple butter in combination, as in sliced and slathered on a cracker…now we are getting some where.  But I am getting ahead of myself.

Apple butter.  Wanna know my favorite way to eat it?  No?  To bad, this is my blog.  My favorite way to enjoy this scrumptious spread is by the spoonful.  That is right, straight from the jar, by the spoonful.  Or fork.  Or knife.  The utensil doesn’t really matter…I would use my finger, but that would be uncouth, and couth, well couth I have .  Sometimes.

Apple butter, if you are new to the world of fruit butters, actually contains no real butter.  Sorry butter lovers.  No butter has ever been harmed in the making of a fruit butter.  Apple butter is simply a concentrated version of apple sauce.  Apples and cider (or water) are cooked long and slow together, concentrating the flavor and caramelizing the sugars, giving it that deep brown color.  Oh apple butter, how I love thee.  While apple butter is great simply by the spoonful, slathered on saltines (my second favorite way to enjoy), biscuits, or toast…or another favorite, substituted for jam or jelly on a peanut/almond butter sandwich (so good!)…it is suberb in baked goods and savory dishes.  I have used it here, and here, and you can find a ton of recipes here.  As you can see, I am not a newbee to the world of apple butter.  I am an apple butter conisieur if you may.

 

Being a coniseiur, one would assume I have narrowed down the best brand…and you would be correct.  My go to for apple butter is Musselman’s.  Hands down, the best out there.  I am always stocked with a jar in the pantry and an open one in the fridge.  So you can imagine my thrill, when Musselman’s contacted me to devlope a recipe for them, using their apple butter.  A chance to eat more apple butter?  Where do I sign up?

 

Apple butter bacon pizza is where my brain went.  I am sucker for anything salty and sweet.  Sweet and Salty.  Sugar.  Salt.  I am a goner.  Once my brain went there…there was no turning back.  And this time around, pizza was my vessel for the salty sweet combination.  If you are wondering if apple butter would make a perfect pizza sauce, then you would be correct and do you wanna be my friend?  Never mind.  Any way… apple butter slathered on a homemade or store bought crust and then topped with layers of toasted pecans, crispy bacon, caramelized onions, and lots of shredded gouda cheese is the perfect pizza for a chilly friday night.  Watch out though…with the salty sweet combination…you may not be able to stop at just one slice or one pizza!

Apple Butter Pizza
 
Serves 4
Ingredients
  • 1 (15-inch) unbaked pizza crust (from scratch recipe follows, or use store-bought refrigerated pizza dough)
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons unsalted butter
  • 1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 cup Musselman's Apple Butter
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 6 strips cooked bacon, roughly chopped
  • 1 ½ - 2 cups shredded Gouda cheese
  • ⅓ cup pecans, roughly chopped
  • About 2 cups baby arugula to finish
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 450 F.
  2. In a medium skillet or cast iron skillet, heat olive oil and melt butter over medium heat. Add onions. Toss onions to coat.
  3. Let onions cook, without stirring, for about 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, give the onions a stir and add a pinch of salt. Let onions cook for another 5 to 7 minutes, without stirring.
  4. At this point, remove skillet from heat momentarily, and add balsamic vinegar. Stir to incorporate. Place skillet back onto heat and continue cooking until onions are caramelized and broken down, about another 10 minutes or so. Remove from heat and set aside until ready to build pizza.
  5. Place unbaked pizza crust on a cookie sheet or pizza stone and bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven.
  6. Evenly spread apple butter over crust and sprinkle a pinch of red pepper flakes over the apple butter. Spread caramelized onions over apple butter, and then sprinkle chopped bacon and pecans evenly over the onions. Top with shredded Gouda. Place in oven (still at 450 F) and bake for an additional 8 to 12 minutes, or until cheese is bubbling and browning.
  7. Remove from oven and let sit for about 5 minutes before slicing.
  8. Slice pizza and top each slice with fresh baby arugula to finish.
  9. Note, cooking times may vary if using store-bought refrigerated pizza dough.

Pizza Crust

1 (15-inch) crust

Ingredients

3/4 cup warm water (about 110°F)

1 package active dry yeast

1 Tablespoon flour

1 Tablespoon sugar

1 ¾ cup flour, divided

1 ½ teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons olive oil

 

Directions

1.       In a small bowl, whisk together warm water, yeast, 1 tablespoon flour and sugar. Let sit for 5 minutes. It should form a foamy like layer. If it doesn’t, your yeast is dead, and you need to start over with new yeast and make sure your water isn’t too warm.

2.       In a mixing bowl, with dough hook attached, mix to combine 1 ¼ cup flour and salt. With mixer on low, slowly add yeasty mixture and olive oil. Continue to mix until flour is all incorporated, and then slowly add remaining flour (tablespoon by tablespoon) until the dough forms a soft ball that is no longer sticky. This mixing should take about 8-10 minutes. Turn dough out into a lightly greased bowl, cover, and let rise for about 60-90 minutes, until doubled in size.

3.       Once the dough is doubled in size, punch down dough and let rest for an additional 5 minutes. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and roll or stretch dough into a 15-inch circle. Place dough onto a cookie sheet or pizza stone.

**This blog post was sponsored by Musselmans and while they offered to provide me with apple butter to create this recipe, I declined seeing how I already had 2 jars in my pantry, ready and waiting.**

Dutch Apple Pie Bars

I have this urge to go absolutely bazerk with all things apple.  To flood these pages with so many apple recipes that you will not want to look at another apple until next fall.  Which isn’t really nice or fair of me.  But it is an urge.  An urge I have a deep need to act on.

Urges have a way of just creeping up on me.  Unexpectedly and out of the blue.  I am walking along, minding my ‘p’s’ and ‘q’s’ and then without warning, BAM…I have a sudden compulsion to do something strange and/or crazy weird.   OK…  Odd is more like it.

Common urges include…

If you are pregnant, I will have this urge during those nine months (and more so towards the end) not to rub/pat your protuding belly, but to poke it.  Rubbing it, while still strange, is more of the norm…I want to straight up poke you.  I won’t, promise.  But I will warn you about my urge, which oddly makes me feel like I have completed the task without violating you at all.  Win, win.

When my parent’s basset hound falls asleep ..we all sigh with relief because he is like a 40+pound toddler/beast/monster.  We can relax a bit because his nose is still and not getting him into a heap of trouble…did you know basset hounds like Rolaids and bubblegum and can sniff them out in a 50 mile radius?  They do.  And they can.  And they will.  And boy are they curious dogs.  But when he falls asleep…this sudden urge to play with his floppy ears, droopy jowls, and big ole’ paws overtakes me.  I want to wake the sleeping monster.  They ay this happens with babies too, but I don’t believe them.  Let them sleep.  Best for everyone.  Plus, babies don’t have big floppy ears.

A cake, iced and ready to go.  I need to stick my finger in it.  I need to taste that icing.  I don’t think I will ever grow up.

A candle burning.  Filling the house with a smell of cotton or cinnamon.  Casting shadows on the surrounding walls and ceiling.  And what do I want to do?  Play in the wax.  I wanna stick my finger in hot wax and slowly build my own candle over my finger tip.

I have a slight urge to rearend folks who drive with their foot on the brake.  Brake riders.   A constant beam of brake lights while you are maintaining or even increasing in speed will drive me bonkers.  A sudden wave of road rage over takes me and the urge to ever so slightly bump – a gentle nudge if you will.  A slight – stop this crazy habit because it is not necessary and you are causing havoc on the highway and you are ruining your brakes and if you continue this habit you will cause an accident -jolt.

When passing by one of my brothers…I will always have an urge to give them a wet willy.  To stick a spit covered finger in one of their ears will never lose its hilarity.  The shocked grossed-outness that sweeps across the face and then the instant pull of the shirt collar up to wipe off my saliva from their ear canal….yeah that will never get old.

 

OK….so yes, while I shouldn’t act on all these urges – i.e.  road rage and wet willies…others are totally harmless.  Especially that whole plastering of apples across the pages of this blog.  I know I made apple pie just a few weeks ago but these are like totally different.  Well kinda.  Sorta.  Apple pie but without battling with a flaky crust.   Apple pie that can be eaten with your hands…Apple pie dessert that is more party/potluck friendly.  Have I mentioned the crumb topping?

And don’t foget…You can sponser me for the Liver Life Challenge.  Just drop by my page and sponser me.  It is that easy!!!

Apple Pie Bars
 
Makes at least 12 to 16 bars
Ingredients
  • 1+1/2 Sticks Unsalted Butter, room temperature
  • ⅜ Cups White Granulated Sugar
  • 1+1/2 Cups All-Purpose Flour
  • ¼ Teaspoon Salt
  • ½ Cup Roasted Pecans, finely chopped
  • 6 Apples (I used Granny Smith and Fugi), peeled, cored, and cut into ¼in. slices
  • 3 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
  • ¼ Cup Light Brown Sugar
  • 1+1/2 Teaspoons Ground Cinnamon
  • 1+1/2 Sticks Unsalted Butter, diced and chilled
  • ¾ Cup Light Brown Sugar
  • 1 Cup Flour
  • ¾ Cup Instant Oats
  • ¾ Cup Old Fashioned Rolled Oats
  • ½ Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
  • ¼ Teaspoon Baking Soda
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375F. Line a 9x13inch pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. Make crust first. Beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy - about 2 minutes. With mixer on low, mix in flour, pecans, and salt...mix until combined.
  3. Press dough into the bottom of prepared pan and with a fork, poke holes into the crust. Place in preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes until it start to turn golden brown. Remove and let cool while you prepare filling and topping.
  4. Prepare filling. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, melt 3 tablespoons butter. Stir in brown sugar. Add apple slices and toss to coat. Cook for about 10 minutes until apples begin to soften.
  5. Stir in cinnamon.
  6. Continue to cook apples for an additional 10 minutes, stirring frequently. You may need to add water to prevent scorching ( I had to add about ¼ cup towards the end) The apples will be very tender and caramelized when done. Remove from heat and spread evenly over crust.
  7. Prepare topping.
  8. In a large mixing bowl, combine chilled butter (diced), both types of oats, brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, and baking soda. Cut butter into the dry ingredients using a pastry blender or two knives until the mixture resembles coarse meal.
  9. Scatter crumb topping across apple filling. Place in preheated oven for about 40 to 50 minutes until topping is golden brown and filling is bubbly.
  10. Let bars cool on wire rack before cutting. Store in airtight containers.

Adapted From Food and Wine.