Cookies, Italian

Nonna’s Biscotti

December 1, 2016

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There’s that one memory everyone has of Christmas. A holiday tradition from childhood that you look forward to each year. For me, it has always been our Italian Christmas Eve. Maybe it’s because of the traditions; feast of seven fishes, midnight mass, opening presents at midnight, and all the delicious Italian food and desserts. Maybe it’s because It’s the holiday that my dad always truly enjoyed celebrating. Each year, just the two of us would venture out and pick out a tree from the nursery. Including those that were too large and towering over in our living room, sure to fall over. 

I always tell my husband Adam that he’s lucky he married me, because it means he gets to celebrate an Italian christmas. And if you’ve ever met my Nonna, she would remind you how everyone wants to be Italian. 

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My Nonna has now lived in Canada longer than she lived in Italy. Still, Nonna is steadfast Italian, in every way one can be. She watches the Italian channel, buys shoes Made in Italy, only eats Italian food (except for their favourite Chinese restaurant), and she has a Pope calendar (I mean – I did buy it for her when we were in Italy, but it was replacing this years Pope calendar for next years).

When I was asked by Whole Foods to create a recipe for #MyHolidayTradish – I knew it had to be something Italian. I love the traditions we celebrate at christmas and I want to keep those traditions going. Mastering my Nonna’s biscotti recipe is top on the list. 

I called my Nonna Saturday morning to ask her for her biscotti recipe. The first thing she asked me was, “Didn’t I already give to you?” – which was probably true. I’m sure it’s scratched down somewhere on a piece of paper. But when I couldn’t’ find it, I figured it was faster to call her up and ask for it again rather than keep looking. And truthfully, I always like asking Nonna for her recipes, having her translate over the phone, always asking herself questions like “teaspoon? no, no tablespoon. How you say?” 

Biscotti is an italian christmas staple. Really, an anytime staple. However, growing up, christmas was always marked by the baking of biscotti, stored in her cookie tins – and my brother and I sneaking as many as we could off of the tray before dinner on christmas eve. 

Some things haven’t changed. 

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My Nonna will always be the ultimate biscotti baker, however, I think mine are pretty dang close. I did substitute coconut oil for the vegetable oil she uses, and I really think it works great. You can’t taste it, and I feel better about using coconut oil. She also uses more eggs than others I’ve seen, and I think this accounts for the soft cookie texture and hard exterior. 

Here’s where I find most biscotti recipes differ, and why they’re not as successful. Most recipes I’ve seen say to chill the dough, or work it into a log and shape it. According to my Nonna’s recipe, you use a spoon and do it ‘little by little’ onto the baking dish. I think she’s right – being born in Italy and all. No need for chilling the dough, or rolling it into a log. This will create a tougher cookie, and you want one that has a nice crumb.

Note – this is half of her recipe. It makes quite a few, but feel free to double it.

Nonna's Biscotti
An Italian classic and holiday favourite. A crunchy, crisp cookie that's twice baked.
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Ingredients
  1. 3/4 cup sugar
  2. 3/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  3. 4 eggs
  4. 1 lemon, zested
  5. 2 cups all-purpose flour
  6. 1 Tbs. + 3 tsp. baking powder
  7. 1 cup sliced almonds, toasted
Instructions
  1. To toast almonds, heat them on medium pan and cook until fragrant, stirring frequently.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat mat.
  3. In small bowl, whisk together the flour and baking powder.
  4. In medium sized bowl whisk together the sugar, coconut oil, eggs and lemon zest. You can use a hand-held blender or whisk.
  5. Slowly add in the flour. If you're using a hand-blender mix on low slowly. If using a whisk, switch to spatula and fold in flour.
  6. Add Almonds and combine.
  7. The dough will be sticky, and not firm.
  8. Divide into thirds - You will bake three 'logs'
  9. On a lined baking sheet, spoon the dough out to form two long logs. *note* Do not use hands, it will be sticky and this will overwork the dough. Instead, use a spoon and divide batter onto prepared baking dish to form two - 10 to 12 inch-long X 2 or 3 inch-wide X 1 1/2 inch thick logs - spacing about 2 inches apart. They don’t expand much, so it’s ok if they are close to the edge of the baking sheet. You will have enough for a third log.
  10. Bake the logs until they’re golden brown, about 20-25 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool the logs completely on the sheet on a wire rack, about 10-15 minutes.
  11. While the first batch cools, bake the third log.
  12. Transfer the cooled logs to a cutting board. Use a serrated knife and cut logs into 1/2-inch-wide slices on a diagonal.
  13. Arrange the slices cut side down on the same baking sheet. Bake for 8 minutes. Turn the biscotti over and continue baking about 8-10 more minutes, just until they’re starting to brown.
  14. Transfer the biscotti to a wire rack and cool.
  15. Store on the counter for up to 1 week. Or store them in the freezer for months.
Adapted from Nonna
Adapted from Nonna
b a k e a h o l i c http://www.bakeaholic.ca/

 

This post was sponsored by Whole Foods Market in collaboration with their #MyHolidayTradish campaign to share my holiday food memories.

Brownies, Gluten Free, Pumpkin

Pumpkin Goat Cheese Swirl Brownies

November 16, 2016

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 I swear I will post recipes that don’t involve pumpkin soon, but not just yet. 

I feel like pumpkin is the star of fall recipes, and then we begin to go gingerbread and peppermint crazy come winter and christmas.

With remembrance day officially come and gone now, I feel like the holiday season is just over the horizon. Our calendar is slowly filling up with get togethers and parties, starting with our fourth annual neighbourhood party next week at our house. I’m secretly excited because it means that we get to put up our christmas decorations even earlier this year. 

Truth be told, we already have our tree. We were walking through The Bay one afternoon and noticed their christmas trees were all on sale. Last year we looked for a faux-tree, but all of the ones we really liked were sold out already. We bought the tree in October, so I can see why they would all be sold out when the holidays actually roll around. I guess the early bird gets the tree. 

So – we now have a faux tree. The past few years we have gotten a real one, but I like the idea of having a fake one to decorate early. Plus, less mess and watering. Bonus. 

Christmas baking will begin soon, too. Every year I try and narrow down the baking to a few favourites. But we all know I go overboard. I can’t help but bake, and force those around me to eat it. I like to think of it as the spirit of giving. As in, give me another brownie. 

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These Pumpkin Goat Cheese Swirl brownies are so. so. good. I was dreaming up new brownie recipes, and the idea of goat cheese and pumpkin stuck in my head. Sort of like the cream-cheese swirl. The goat cheese gives it a good tangy-taste with warm pumpkin spice. 

Pumpkin Goat Cheese Swirl Brownies
A deliciously chocolate fudge brownie with pumpkin goat cheese swirled on top. The goat cheese makes a tangy twist with the chocolate.
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Brownies
  1. 1 cup Oats
  2. ¼ tsp Baking soda
  3. ½ tsp Baking powder
  4. 1/2 cup butter
  5. 1/2 cup Dark chocolate, chopped
  6. 1/4 cup espresso, strong coffee, or boiling water
  7. 1/2 cup Brown sugar
  8. 3 Eggs
Swirl
  1. 1/2 cup pumpkin
  2. 1/2 cup soft goat cheese
  3. Pumpkin Spice
  4. 1 Egg Yolk
Instructions
  1. Pre heat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Line an 8 x 8 inch baking dish with parchment.
  3. Powder the oats in a high-speed blender to make a fine powder.
  4. Mix powdered oats, baking soda and baking powder in bowl.
  5. In a pan, add chocolate and butter and cook on low heat till chocolate and butter melt.
  6. Add espresso and brown sugar in the pan and cook till sugar melts.
  7. Remove pan from heat and let the mixture cool for a minute.
  8. Add eggs, one at a time and beat well after each addition with hand-held blender.
  9. Mix the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients and mix well.
  10. Pour the batter in the prepared pan.
  11. In separate mixing bowl, beat the goat cheese, pumpkin, egg and spices together. Add as much pumpkin spice as you like. I like mine spicy, and add in more nutmeg as well.
  12. There are two ways to add the pumpkin to the top of the brownies. First, you can scoop small dollops to the top and drag a knife through them to mix into the batter. Or, you can use a piping bag to pipe the pumpkin mixture on top in a pattern.
  13. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until edges pull away from sides and centre is set.
  14. Remove the pan from oven.
  15. Allow to cool to room temperature on the counter before lifting out of the baking dish.
b a k e a h o l i c http://www.bakeaholic.ca/
Breakfast, Dairy-Free, Gluten Free, Wheat Free

Blender Pumpkin Spice Pancakes

November 15, 2016

Blender Pumpkin Spiced Pancakes - Bakeaholic.ca

pumpkin spice blender pancakes // bakeaholic.ca

 

Pumpkin Spice Blender Pancakes - Bakeaholic.ca

Vancouver has been hit by two storms this week, with another on the way today. So far we’ve lost power three or four times, beginning with Thursday night. Friday it went out a few times, but luckily came on shortly after coming home from work. I don’t really mind the power outage, however I still haven’t learned how to open our garage door manually when the powers out (oops), so I always count on Adam to get my car out in a power outage. The last of the storm is supposed to hit today with high winds and even more rain. 

The cold, blustery weather makes you want to curl up with a blanket and a good book with pumpkin-scented candles. I realized the other day, while searching for said candles, that I’m in need of a visit to bath and body works to get some more candles (much to Adam’s dismay.) His theory on candles is that you’re literally burning money – ha. ha. Secretly I think he likes them – especially the pine tree scented ones!

Weekends are meant for pancakes, and cuddling under blankets.

My favourite way to make pancakes is in the blender – I can’t remember the last time I used a whisk or hand held blender. The high powered blender makes the batter silky smooth, and airy so the pancakes rise perfectly. Plus, you only dirty one appliance. Simply blend together, and pour. I use a griddle to make them as well, after my mother-in-law bought us one for a wedding shower gift last year when she realized we didn’t have one. I was so excited to use it! It’s the best thing to ever happen to pancakes. You can make pancakes for a crowd, quickly and easily. 

I hope you’re all taking cover this weekend and staying warm and dry. I suggest you make these pancakes before the power goes back out, again. 

Pumpkin Spice Blender Pancakes - Bakeaholic.ca

Pumpkin Spice Pancakes
Dairy & Gluten-Free, these Blender Pancakes are easy to make and perfectly spiced for a warm fall breakfast.
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Ingredients
  1. 1 1/2 cups rolled oats (gluten-free)
  2. 1 medium ripe banana
  3. 3/4-1 cup Earth's Own So Fresh Almond Milk (add more as needed if too thick)
  4. 2 eggs
  5. 1 cup pure pumpkin puree
  6. 1 tsp. pumpkin spice
  7. 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  8. 1/4 tsp. baking powder
Instructions
  1. To make the oat flour, in a high powered blender (or food processor), pulse the oats for 1-2 minutes until fine flour forms.
  2. Add in the banana, pumpkin puree, non-dairy milk, eggs, spice, baking soda and baking powder. Blend on low, and increase speed until well blended - batter should be airy.
  3. Pre-heat your griddle as per the instructions, or prepared pan over medium-high heat.
  4. Pour batter and cook for 2-3 minutes each side - flipping once you see the 'air bubbles' surface.
  5. Top with pure maple syrup.
Notes
  1. Leftovers can be refrigerated for 2 days.
b a k e a h o l i c http://www.bakeaholic.ca/

 

Thanks Earth’s Own for sending me So Fresh Almond Milk!