Ginger Chocolate Biscotti

The first time I tasted a biscotti I thought it was a really stale biscuit. I kept going with it though, gnawing at the hard little morsel like a terrier with a bone until it was all gone. I was a guest and would never say no to anything I was given to eat in someone elses house. Looking around me, while gently massaging my poor gums, and discretely dusting all the crumbs that lay on my chest I realised that everyone else was dunking their biscuits in to either a coffee or little glass of sweet wine.

Ah… I tried again, reaching for another hard biscotti. If nothing else, my back teeth would a get a good work out. Dunk, dunk, dunk…a tentative nibble. Ohhh, now that’s the ticket!

Why didn’t some one tell me before?

Now for these little biscotti, there has been a varied trail of evolution behind them. The first batch tasted too plain, it lacked depth of flavours. The consistency was fine but the taste wasn’t grabbing me. Next batch, added green ginger wine and changed the sugar to a darker one. Much better in flavour, but did I need the chocolate?  Third batch, chocolate gets ditched, green ginger wine and dark sugar stay. I think the winning combination. However if you do want to give them a try, tweak them to your own taste buds.

The great thing about biscotti is that they are really versatile with their flavour combinations.

Ginger Chocolate Biscotti

2 eggs

3/4 cup brown sugar (if you can get a dark unrefined one, it gives more depth to the flavour. eg. Muscavado or dark molasses sugar)

1 tps vanilla essence

2 tbls green ginger wine

1/3 cup chopped uncrystallized dried ginger

1/3 dark chocolate chips (optional)

1 1 /3 cup plain flour

1/3 cup s/r flour

Mix all the ingredients together, and give a quick knead on lightly floured surface. Divide mixture in to two and roll out, approximately 1.5 inches wide. Pop in the oven at 180C for about 30 minutes. Take out and carefully slice on the diagonal with a serrated knife (bread knife). Lay biscotti down and back in to the oven for a further 10-15minutes at 160C either sides.

These little biscotti are good dunked into an espresso or a little dessert wine, (and if not, then prepare your back teeth).

Also an easy Christmas gift.

(top picture without chocolate, bottom with.)

Orange and Cardamom Biscotti

Some times you need something a little civilised. A little treat, a little daintiness perhaps…

This particular day something civilised was making some biscotti and having some dessert wine to dunk them in. Dunking…not so civilised. Dessert wine…very civilised!

Dessert wine is always sweet. I believe its supposed to be served sweeter than whatever your dessert is. You sip it in a civilised fashion, not guzzle…(note to self.)

To be enjoyed in restrained amounts- dunk a few biscotti in there however and I say drink what ever amount needs to be drunk.

The Monkeys helped me out with the cooking of the biscotti. Little Monkey had woken from a nap clingy and grizzly. Not wanting to leave my arms, it was raining heavily outside so that didn’t leave too many options of what to do with the boys. So with an eager Monkey Boy wanting to help and Little Monkey clinging to my hip like someone had super glued him on- cooking biscotti was locked in for the afternoon.

Now this was the that part wasn’t so civilised. With little thumbs stuck in egg shells, more than ample amounts of cardamom being flung in and flour being strewn on the floor- they were done. So easy, they can be done with one adult hand, two Monkey Boys hands, and two flaying Little Monkey hands while still clinging on to a hip.

Best eaten dunked into a little dessert wine or coffee after dinner, when its quiet and…civilised.

Orange and Cardamom Biscotti

3/4 cup raw sugar

2 eggs

2 tps grated orange rind

Beat together, and then add

1 1/3 cups of plain flour

2/3 cup of almond meal

1 tps ground cardamom (or what ever is left in the bottle!)

Mix it altogether to form a dough, and roll out to form a long log. Cook at 180 C for about 35 mins. Cut log on the diagonal and bake at 150C until dry and crisp- turning once in between.

(adapted from a Women’s Weekly Cookbook)

Gift idea– bag full of biscotti and a lovely bottle of dessert wine.

*The dessert wine we had was a Southern Highlands Wine. Located within my locavore area, it’s a stunning winery that has tastings and a gorgeous barrel room that can be hired out for functions- (…as it so happens we had our wedding reception there.)

Very civilised…

why cafes and kids simply don’t mix

I live in the city. I live in a flat. I have 2 young energetic kids.

Now back in the day I loved nothing better than to sit back sipping my decaf soy latte. Then I moved on to the little macciato’s, cappuccino’s had a look in for a while and then back to the decaf latte again while pregnant. Add a little biscotti, some people watching, the weekend paper, it doesn’t get much better. So I know my cafe culture. I love my coffee culture. Its one of the best perks of living in a city. The choice of many great coffee haunts.

So what happens when you have a child? You drag them along too of course. You cling on to that cafe culture as long as you can. We don’t have a grassy back yard, where the kids can run around, so parks and playgrounds are utilised nearly daily, or even twice daily. And if it happens to be raining? Why a playdate at the local cafe for a babycino sounds quite lovely.

Now with one child a cafe date is ok. It’s not great, but you can do a little chatting, mop up the spilled milk, back to chatting, help the child back on to the chair after falling off etc etc. You can still cling on to that coffee dream that cafes are still for you, just as a family now.

Then the 2nd one comes along. Lets face it, the dream is shattered. Even with two adults to referee, and a toy box (if the cafe is really kind), it’s just not worth the pain of it all.

The youngest screams for more biscuit, the oldest trickles milkshake down the leg of the table, the youngest snatches the best toy off his big brother, the oldest dongs his brother on the head with said toy and gives him a quick pinch for good measure. The ‘ahhh, this is a lovely coffee ‘ moment is so brief, you vow not come again with the little monkeys.

Then 2  months go by, you forget the pain of it all as the mesmerizing coffee smells tease your nostrils again, wooing you in. So you drag the monkeys in with promises of milkshakes and biscotti again, in order to clutch on to that fleeting memory of old cafe days.

Episode repeats itself, with younger monkey fluttering his eyelids at the waitress as she starts sweeping the metre wide crumbs from under the table and older monkey stepping on outside dogs tail while trying to pat it as we make a hasty retreat once more.