Monday, April 5, 2010

Almond Blueberry Lavender Lemon Biscotti

Back in the day (almost a decade, yikes) I worked as a barista for Starbucks. I can still vividly remember the 4:15a alarm clock trying desperately to keep me on time to punch in at 5a. Carrie, my roommate and later bridesmaid slept through the alarm, luckily. That or she was too polite to let on it woke and annoyed her.

I'd get ready and drive to work (half asleep Asian woman driver, very dangerous), it was only about 7 minutes away, I timed it. Those busy mornings (brace yourself, this is cheesy) were some of the best times of my life. No mortgage, no responsibilities, nothing.

Here's a picture of Tien and me at our store. Geez Tien, go wash your apron. Haha, she hates me.

Biscotti always remind me of that time. We had these big glass jars full of vanilla almond and chocolate hazelnut biscotti. After I found a great biscotti recipe I changed it a little to use ingredients I had in my pantry and the result?

Almond Blueberry Lavender Lemon Biscotti.

They're awesome, the lavender and lemon combo really work well together. Seriously though, someone please find a shorter name for these.

Ready? Let's roll.

Start w/ my favorite ingredient: butter. One stick (i.e., 1/4 lb. or 1/2 c. - I think I finally have it now) at room temperature.

I used my stand mixer but you can use a hand mixer or just do it by hand and skip the gym that day. Cream the mixture w/ 3/4 c. of sugar. The only reason I deviated from the full cup in the original recipe was simply b/c that's all we had left. It's embarrassing to admit you went through the whole 10 lb. bag of sugar you got from Costco.

Forget I just said that. Moving on, lemon zest.
Zest of one lemon. Smells like summer to me. Add to the butter an let it go for a sec.

Scrape down the butter/sugar mixture.
Look at all that sugar on the side of the bowl. It needs to socialize w/ everyone else.
Eggs. Original recipe calls for two eggs. You can probably get by w/ just two eggs in this recipe too. It just wasn't written clearly that the last egg white is only for the egg wash. So I just dumped an extra egg in, what the heck. I get eggs from Costco too.
Add them in one at a time and scrape down again (w/ your personalized spatula - ok, promise that's the last time I bring that up).
Then add your flour. 2 c. of the fluffy white stuff.
1 tsp. of each of these characters. You can use almond extract too. I thought of that too late.
Then you get this pretty wet dough.
2/3 c. raw almonds.
1/2 c. dried blueberries, all purchased at my favorite place to shop, Costco.
Mmmm. Why don't I use these more?

All the kids in the pool.
Then, my true stroke of genius: lavender. Just a tsp. please, it's very strong.
Fold all the aforementioned things into the dough. Here's also where you can get creative - dried currants, apricots, dates, peanuts, pine nuts, whatever. Try your own nut/fruit combo. Go ahead, I dare you.

See what I mean about being a super wet dough? Flour your hands well or else you'll end up w/ mallet hand.
Form into logs. Give these guys a little room to grow too, they expand while they bake.

Brush w/ egg wash.

Sprinkle w/ coarse sugar, I used raw sugar. You can get that other fancy turbinado sugar. Oh, the pretense.

It sure is pretty.

15-20 minutes later, here you are. A strange looking cookie log.

Then while the logs are still warm (I didn't wait to let them cool) slice these guys up. I guess try first w/ a serrated knife, then if that doesn't work, use a chef's knife.

It didn't make sense to me anyways when I read that other recipe, the almonds are going to be hard to cut through. I need to write Anne Burrell.

Ok, lay flat and bake again. I had to bake mine for about 20-25 minutes to see any golden brown action.

But then they were. And the seas parted and Moses said.. Oh, wait. NM.

While these were still warm I poured myself a cup of tea and had a nice little break to sit back and admire the handy work.
Check out that blueberry!
Almond Blueberry Lavender Lemon Biscotti

adapted from this Anne Burrell recipe

makes about 20 biscotti

1 stick butter, room temp (about 1/2 cup or 1/4 lb.)
3/4 c. sugar
3 eggs
2 tsp. lemon zest (about the zest of 1 lemon)
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. vanilla extract (almond would work well too)
2 . AP flour
2/3 c. whole almonds
1/2 c. dried blueberries
1 tsp. dried lavender
1 egg white
2 tbsp. Sugar in the Raw

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Cream butter and sugar until light & fluffy in a stand mixer. Meanwhile, zest lemon and add to the butter mixture. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and put the mixer on low speed. Crack in one egg at a time until combined - scrape down in between egg additions. Add vanilla extract, flour and baking powder until combined. Fold in almonds, blueberries and lavender - make sure to fold in by hand so almonds and blueberries stay whole and in tact.
Divide the dough in half. The dough will be fairly sticky so flour your hands and form into a log. I used a half sheet baking pan and the log ran about 2 inches shy on each side of reaching the edge of the pan. Separate an egg and mix the white w/ about 1 tbsp. water and brush the tops of each log. Sprinkle w/ coarse sugar.

Bake for 15-20 minutes until set and cooked through, it won't be browned but that's ok. And if you really have a problem w/ it, just bake it for 25 minutes. While warm, remove logs to cutting surface and cut logs on the bias at about 3/4" thickness. I had to cut with a chef's knife (instead of the serrated knife the recipe recommended) since my biscotti were crumbling pretty bad when I got to the almonds. Lay flat (either cut side down) and bake for another 20-25 minutes or until lightly golden.

Remove and place on a cooling rack until completely cooled before storage in an airtight container.

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