October 22, 2012

A biscotti recipe that actually tastes good.

Ok, I know what you're thinking. "Really, Maddie? Is that the best you can do? A biscotti?" But don't be so quick to judge, my friends. Just as hideous fur boots have a place on the legs of underage girls at raves, biscottis have a place in life, too. I personally guarantee that if you pair one of these bad boys with your morning coffee the capacity of your daily happiness will increase by at least 26%. It helps if it's a Friday.

So I can't take full credit for these, because it's actually my mom who found this recipe and modified it in order to get it just right. But I'm going to pretend it's my own, because that's what daughters do. Kind of like when she makes a gourmet meal and I try to pass it off as my own work, when in fact all I did was toss the salad. "You're welcome everyone. Really, it's no big deal. The braised lamb and roasted butternut squash rissoto practically made itself!" What, your mom doesn't allow that? Well mine also packed my lunch for work in an honest-to-god lunchbox every day when I lived with my parents after college and still occasionally makes my dentist appointments for me.

The beauty of the biscotti is that you can add whatever you like to it. Dried mango, pistachios, chocolate, whatevaaa. The ones I made have craisins, orange zest, almonds, and white chocolate. It's surprising that I even like them, considering they are hard and to me hard cookies are pretty much comparable to satan, but the fact that it's acceptable to eat them early in the morning increases the allure.

So. Are you ready to go on a biscotti adventure?

White Chocolate Almond Biscotti

1 3/4 cup flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup butter, melted
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract
1 cup unsalted roasted almonds, chopped
1 cup Craisins
Zest of small orange
1 1/2 cups white chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350F

2. In a bowl, sift together flour and baking powder.

3. In another bowl, whisk eggs, sugar, butter, vanilla, almond extract, and orange zest. Stir into flour mixture until a soft, sticky dough forms. Add chopped almonds and Craisins to dough.

4. Transfer to a lightly floured surface. Form into a smooth ball.

5. Divide dough in half. Roll out the dough into a 12-inch log.

This is my hand model. Look at that nail polish color! And those nail beds! Just exquisite.

6. Transfer to an ungreased baking sheet. Form dough into a rectangle.

7. Bake for 20 minutes. Turn oven down to 325F.

8. Using a serrated knife, cut into 3/4-inch thick slices.

9. Stand biscottis upright (on cut sides).

10. Bake for 12 minutes. Take them out, turn each biscotti over on the other side, and bake for another 12 minutes. Allow to cool.

11. Put white chocolate chips in a ziploc bag and melt in the microwave for about a minute and a half at 20-second intervals. Are you scared this is going to give you cancer? It probably is. When smooth, cut a hole at the end, pipe the chocolate on top of each biscotti and spread with a knife. And you're done!

Biscottis are not the prettiest things to photograph, but I think we can all agree the coffee cups I painted are pretty much the most beautiful things on earth. Usually I am sarcastic so you are probably confused right now, like, is she being serious? and I am being completely serious. I feel so incredibly cool when I drink out of those like whoooaaa.

October 7, 2012

Things that bring me an unsurpassable amount of joy.

The free popcorn at Les Schwab.

Hearing my dad say "that was SICK!" with all the fervor of a 16-year-old boy. A 16-year-old boy in 2004.

That unspoken mutual agreement that passes between me and my roommate when someone knocks on our door on a Sunday. The silent agreement that neither of us will be getting up from the couch to answer the door. The chances of it being Mormons or a kid trying to sell shit far outweigh the chances that it's someone we actually like.

The shitload of new emoji's that came with the new iPhone update. Words are now completely unnecessary and way overrated in terms of communication.

Waking up on a Tuesday only to realize it's actually Friday. On the reverse, there is probably nothing worse than waking up on a Saturday only to realize it's Monday.

When guys wear white sunglasses LOL JK.

Peanut butter frozen yogurt from Menchies. 'Tis the perfect vehicle for crumbled reese's, peanuts, and warm peanut butter drizzled on top. No, this post is not sponsored by Jiff.

The fact that illustrator Lisa Congdon didn't start painting until she was in her 30s. I'M NOT TOO OLD TO BE SOMEONE!

When I leave for work with a messy house and come home to a spotless house just because my roommate decided to clean. This has never happened but I imagine it would be quite nice.

The myfriendsaremarried tumblr.

The party bus that took me and my friends to a club this weekend. By party bus I mean neighborhood shuttle and by club I mean small casino in Cle Elum that usually serves around six locals. True story.

Seeing parents genuinely enjoying their young children while in public. Creep factor high on this one in regards to me. Hide yo children hide yo wife.

A salted caramel frosting recipe that doesn't involve a candy thermometer. This isn't because I have anything against thermometers, but more because I broke mine trying to make caramel last time. Science, man.

Salted caramel is all the rage these days, and for good reason. This frosting turns out light and fluffy with an incredible slightly bitter caramel taste. I like pairing it with dark chocolate cake, but it would also be great with vanilla.

Dark Chocolate & Salted Caramel Cupcakes
Adapted from Chow
Makes 24 cupcakes

Use your favorite dark chocolate cake recipe. This one is mine. Then top with this frosting:

Salted Caramel Frosting
1/2 cup sugar
4 tbl water
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tsp. vanilla extract
12 tbl (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
3 cups powdered sugar
1/2 tsp fine salt

1. Briefly stir together sugar and water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Continue cooking, without stirring, until mixture turns a dark amber color, about 8-12 minutes.

2. Remove from heat and slowly add in cream and vanilla, stirring with a wooden spoon until completely smooth. Set aside until cool to the touch, about 25 minutes. If you want to drizzle some caramel on top of the cupcakes like I did, reserve a little caramel in a separate container for later.

3. Combine butter and salt in a bowl of a stand mixture fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on medium-high speed until light in color and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to low, add powdered sugar, and mix until completely incorporated.

4. Turn mixture off and scrape down the sides of the bowl, then add caramel. Beat frosting on medium-high speed until airy and thoroughly mixed, about two minutes. Use immediately or cover and refrigerate up to five days.