Before I start on the cookies, I have to share the sad, sad news about our ice-cream maker. As you may know, we got it last weekend as an early Christmas gift and were tra-la’ing all over the show about how many magical flavours we could come up with. After tasting Man-thing’s creation the in-laws even claimed that we could provide Christmas pudding, which is terribly high praise! Alas, Man-thing’s “place of honour” in the cupboard was not properly explained to me (since when it comes to that machine Man-thing is 100% in charge), and so I didn’t see the transparent plastic paddle/churning device atop the mechanism. Long story short, it went down a hole in the side of our built-in cupboards and now there is no way to retrieve it without sawing through the cupboards and making a mess :'(. Needless to say, this is the stuff of distraughtness. When investigating with a mirror and flashlight we even discovered a Lindt chocolate which had rabbited its way down the hatch earlier this year. We’ll be having dinner with the in-laws tomorrow evening, so will work on solutions to free the trapped gadget, if at all possible, as well as liberate the innocent chocolate. Either way, I think we’ve all learnt valuable lessons on packing things away properly, and being vigilant when faffing about violently in enclosed spaces!
Anyway, the closer we get to xmas, the more cookie recipes are being churned out by all the lovelies across the internet. It becomes rather difficult to choose when one’s bookmarked folder for cookies runs into the dozens of recipes. Luckily there are always “hungry” husbands to feed! I finally finished my little cookie bags for the wenches at work, and must say these are all recipes I’ll be making at home for us to munch on. These recipes easily make decades worth of cookies and generally don’t require any fuss at all – just how it should be!
Last night I quickly managed to churn these out – my very first biscotti! They usually seem like such difficult buggers to make, being rather crispy yet not dry – a fine balance I guess is needed to ensure that one doesn’t create chocolate-flavoured cardboard. The recipe comes from The Iron You, and I must admit I didn’t pay careful attention to the photo tutorial, so when I printed out the recipe and headed downstairs, Man-thing and I had a wild time debating what exactly constitutes as “cylindrical” and how one can roll out a cylindrical shape without making it a square. Next time I’ll actually scroll more carefully, since what I came up with was pretty much what is shown in those photos *headdesk*
Wow! I halved the recipe and still got +-40 cookies out of my batch (I think? I may be losing my mind – there were so many!). I ran out of nutty wheat flour, which is VERY sad-making, so I used 3/4 cup cake wheat flour, 1/4 rye flour and 1/4 oat bran (because why not?), and they came out delectable. Somehow the inside is somewhat soft with the lovely outer little bit of crunch (except not even!). I am absolutely making this again, but perhaps with some crystallized ginger thrown in for sparkle in my mouth.
ETA: Please note that in hindsight it turns out I read even less of the instructions than I originally thought, and completely skipped the parts about slicing and then re-baking the different sides. I made another batch last night, hoping to share with some colleagues, and it was simply too dry for my tastes. I guess this is where the fear of the inedible biscotti comes in – even dunking it in coffee wasn’t all that pleasant since it was too hard for my tastes. Therefore I personally recommend only baking it for that first 15-20 minutes and then munching them as slightly softer biscotti – that way when you dunk a bit it will melt in your mouth. NOM!
The second cookie batch I made yesterday comes from My Inspiration – nutty lemon poppy seeds! I got a huge 1kg pack of poppy seeds for my birthday from two of the recipients of these little packets, and have had no idea of what to do with them, so this holiday will be about finding as many poppy recipes as possible – these cookies are a great start, methinks!
I also used fine rye flour for these, since I’ve never used buckwheat and have too many different flours that need finishing before I can buy more – in the end I finished my one bag of rye flour which ended up at 1/2 a cup, so I plonked the last 1/4 from brown rice flour, which I find gives a very beautiful texture, if slightly crumbly and crisp.
MODS: I admittedly let the buggers sit in the oven 2 or so minutes too long – the top was perfect but the bottom was rather brown, so I decided to make a fast, distracting glaze from 1 TBSP powdered sugar with 2 TBSP milk and 1 TBSP lemon juice. I suppose one needs to up the ratio of sugar to make the glaze whiter and less runny, but that little bit was already so sweet I couldn’t do it! Either way, Man-thing’s eyes nearly popped out of his head when he tasted it – he’s so used to my low-sugar treats that whenever I make something saccharine he gets this glowy look to him, as if all the stars have aligned in heaven.
All in all not all that much going on in the packets, but rather just little tasters and snacks to let the lasses know I appreciate their being around and being such a crazy source of pal-ness. I tend to be very anti-social and have lots of anxiety when going out or meeting up with people, but these ladies always put me at my ease and make it a pleasure to socialize. 😀