Monday, February 17, 2014

Basic Biscotti - The possibilities are endless!

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar

1 egg
1-1/2 tsp vanilla extract

2-1/2 c unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking powder

Preheat oven to 350. Jelly roll pan with parchment paper.

In large mixing bowl, cream butter & sugar until light. Beat in egg & vanilla until well blended.

In small bowl, combine flour & baking powder; add to butter mixture & mix on low speed until well blended. The dough should be soft but not sticky.

Divide dough into two equal portions. Form each portion into a "log" about 10 inches long & 2 inches wide. Place the logs side by side (lengthwise) about 3 inches apart on the prepared baking pan.

Bake 20-25 minutes or until the tops are lightly browned. Cool pan on wire rack for about 10 minutes. Using a serrated knife, cut each roll diagonally into 1/2 inch thick slices. Place slices upright on the cookie sheet about 1/2 inch apart and bake for 8-10 minutes. Remove slices & place on wire racks to cool.

Store in an airtight container at room temperature.


Substitute almond extract for vanilla, & add 3/4 c slivered almonds after dough is formed.

Substitute anise extract for vanilla.

Decrease flour to 2 c, add 1/2 c Ghirardelli Sweet Ground Chocolate & Cocoa (or regular Dutch Process cocoa); add 1 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp chipotle powder & 1/2 tsp orange peel with dry ingredients.

Decrease flour to 2 c, add 1/2 c Ghirardelli Sweet Ground Chocolate & Cocoa (or regular Dutch Process cocoa). When dough is formed, stir in 3/4 c mini semi sweet chocolate chips. Drizzle with extra melted chocolate when cool for "Triple" Chocolate Biscotti.

Decrease sugar to 1/2 c, add 2 TBS molasses when adding egg & vanilla. Add 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp ground ginger & 1/4 tsp ground cloves when adding dry ingredients. Add additional 1/4 c flour is dough seems too sticky.

Substitute 1 TBS Limoncello for vanilla, increase flour to 2-3/4 c, add 1 TBS freshly grated lemon peel with the dry ingredients. When biscotti is cool, glaze with 1 c powdered sugar & 1-2 TBS Limoncello (stir together until all lumps disappear), adding more Limoncello to made "drippable" glaze.

Add 1 tsp ground sea salt when adding flour & baking powder. When dough is formed, stir in 3/4 c caramel bites (or unwrapped caramels snipped into pieces).

When dough is formed, stir in 3/4 c caramel bites (or unwrapped caramels snipped into pieces) & 1/2 c chopped pecans. When biscotti is cool, drizzle with melted bittersweet chocolate.

When dough is formed, stir in 3/4 c white chocolate chips & 1/2 c chopped macadamias. When biscotti is cool, drizzle with melted white chocolate.

Tex-Mex Chicken Paella

2 TBS olive oil
1.5 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast cut into large bite size pieces

3 TBS olive oil
1 large onion, diced
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 small red Bell pepper, diced
1 small green Bell pepper, diced
2 jalapeno peppers, chopped

1/4 c dry white wine

1 & 1/2 c. paella rice (or substitute medium grain white rice)
3 c. good quality chicken broth, warmed
1 tsp ancho chili powder
1 tsp chipotle powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 tsp dried orange peel

1 c frozen corn
1 can reduced sodium black beans, rinsed well & drained thoroughly

Heat 2 TBS olive oil in heavy skillet. Add chicken pieces & cook until done & beginning to brown. Remove chicken to bowl & cover to keep warm.

Heat 3 TBS olive oil in paella pan or large Dutch oven. Add onion & saute for 5 minutes or until translucent. Add garlic & red pepper & continue to saute for an additional 3 minutes. Add wine & cook for 1 minute more; add rice & cook 5 minutes, stirring frequently so that rice does not stick. Pour in the chicken broth; add the chicken and seasonings. Stir to combine. Bring to light boil, add corn & beans, reduce heat. Cover & lightly simmer mixture over medium low heat for 15-18 minutes, or until all liquid is absorbed, stirring occasionally. Stir well before serving.

Beef Ragout

3 TBS olive oil
2 lb sirloin tip roast

4-6 c. beef broth, warmed
1 c. hearty red wine
1 - 8 oz can tomato sauce

1 tsp thyme
1 tsp rosemary
1/2 tsp fresh ground peppercorns

1 large onion, quartered & sliced thin
5 cloves garlic, sliced

1 c. baby carrots, sliced into chunks
1 TBS coarse sea salt

Heat oil in large Dutch oven/cast iron pot; add roast & cook, turning often, until all sides are seared.

Pour warmed broth, wine & tomato sauce over roast; heat to boiling. Add onion & garlic. Reduce heat to simmer. Cover & simmer, stirring occasionally, for at least 2 hours. Add more broth if necessary to keep meat evenly covered. Add carrots & salt; simmer an additional 1/2 hour.

Remove roast from liquid. Shred (you should be able to just pull the meat apart) & return to pot. Simmer another 1/2 hour. Liquid should be thickened naturally; if it needs a little help, mash together 3 TBS softened butter & 2 TBS flour to make a buerre manie & stir into liquid until well blended. Heat an additional 10 minutes to thicken.

Serve over mashed potatoes.