Monday, May 4, 2009


Mac is a pretty big little guy. He's short, but his chest is as big around as mine. Chris often comments that Mac looks like he's the same size as me, and this weekend I pulled out my flexible tape measure and proved it. That just makes him great for hugging!

Mac also has a new best friend: a glow-in-the-dark Chuckit! ball I picked up at Whole Foods a few weeks back. He takes the ball everywhere with him in the house and outside; he even sleeps with it. When he takes it outside the glow factor recharges in the sunlight, so when he brings it back in it glows green in his mouth. The ball is a little soft so we thought for sure he'd destroy it (tennis balls, stuffed animals and the like don't last too long in our house), but it has stood up to his chewing quite well. I have to give it a glowing review...


* * * * *

I made biscotti yesterday - dunking a crunchy biscotti in my morning coffee makes Monday mornings a bit more tolerable. Baking Bites recently talked about the Cook's Illustrated review of chocolate chips, and Ghirardelli’s 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Chips were the winner. I picked up a bag, and I have to say I really like the large size of the chips:

They are flatter and more disc-shaped than the Nestle's I generally buy. The Ghirardelli chips also melted very smoothly. I went with a recipe off of the Ghirardelli site for my biscotti, with a few changes to accommodate what I had on hand.

Marbled Biscotti
yield: 4 dozen cookies

3/4 cup chocolate chips (original uses semi-sweet)
1/3 cup butter, at room temperature (original uses unsalted)
3/4 cup granulated white sugar
2 teaspoons baking power
1 pinch of salt
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup macadamia nuts, finely chopped (original uses hazelnuts)
(1 1/2 teaspoons grated orange zest)

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Lightly grease two cookie sheets. Melt the chocolate chips in a heatproof bowl over barely simmering water, stirring occasionally until smooth (or use microwave). Remove from the heat and cool. In a large bowl, beat the butter with an electric mixer on medium speed until it is creamy, about 1 minute. Add the sugar, baking powder, and salt; beat until blended. Beat in the eggs and vanilla until combined. Stir in the flour with a wooden spoon.

Divide the dough in half and transfer one half to another bowl. Stir the melted chocolate and ¼ cup of the macadamia nuts into one-half of the dough. Stir the orange zest (I used about a teaspoon of lemon juice instead, but didn't taste it in the end cookie) and remaining nuts (I omitted these) into the other half. Divide each half into four equal parts. Using lightly floured hands, shape each portion into a 1¼-inch by 10-inch rope. Place a rope of each color side by side on one of the prepared baking sheets. Twist the ropes around each other several times. Flatten slightly to make a 2-inch-wide log. Repeat with the other ropes (I twisted two sets, and just placed the regular dough on top of the chocolate dough for the other two), placing the resulting logs about 4 inches apart on the baking sheets. Bake for 25 minutes or until the logs are firm to the touch. Cool on the baking sheets for 15 minutes or until cool enough to handle. Lower the oven temperature to 300ºF

Transfer one log to a cutting board and, with a serrated knife, cut the log into twelve 1-inch-wide cookies. Repeat with the remaining three logs. Remove one oven rack and place the 48 cookies directly on it. Return the rack to the uppermost position in the oven and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until crisp. Transfer the cookies from the oven rack to a wire cooling rack and let cool completely. Store at room temperature in a tightly covered container.


1 comment:

Liz and Kurt said...

biscotti - yum! I need to live closer to you.