My Best Biscotti – even Oma loves them

This is one of my alltime most popular recipes, and I am honoured that even my Oma adores them, as I have adored so much of her baking.

These biscotti don’t need to be dunked, as they are crispy and easy to bite on their own.  You can dunk them if you want to, or enjoy the flavour on it’s own.

You need:

1/2 cup butter

3/4 cup sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon anise liquor OR 1 teaspoon anise extract

2 cups + 2 tablespoons white flour

1  1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted

3/4 cup semisweet chocolate

1 tablespoon anise seeds, toasted

What to do:

1. Toast anise seeds in a frying pan, then crush with a mortar and pestle.  If you choose not to do this, then add ground anise or fennel seeds.

2. Toast almond slivers in a frying pan until slightly browned and allow to cool.  They are easy to burn, so watch carefully – I usually keep them on low while I start making the cookie dough.

3. Cream the butter, then add sugar, then eggs one at a time and beat until fluffy.  Beat in vanilla and anise liquor.

4. Combine dry ingredients and mix with a wooden spoon until just incorporated.  Add chocolate and nuts and stir until just combined.

5. Divide the dough into two pieces.  With floured hands form into two logs on a baking sheet.  Bake at 325F for 25-30 minutes.

6. Slice the baked rolls diagonally and place on a baking sheet.  Lower the oven to 300F and bake for 10-15 minutes, until slightly browned.  Turn over and bake for another 10-15, until that side is also slightly browned.

7. Place on cooling racks, then package and give to people you love or are trying to impress.   They keep for quite a long time – which is why they were invented in the first place.  Of course, they are the best right off the cooing rack, so don’t forget to enjoy one.  Or two.

Prosciutto-wrapped Apple

I love entertaining, but sometimes I plan a dinner at a time that ends up being too busy, and I don’t have time to make something complicated.  This is a great recipe for those times when you’re really busy, so if you’re looking for a simple appetizer recipe to satisfy the sweet and salty cravings, then this one is for you!

Just head to the grocery store and pick up:

8 slices of prosciutto

one sweet-tart apple (I used a Jazz apple)

Now just cut the apple into 8 slices, peel off the skin, and wrap each slice with the prosciutto.  Place them on your favourite plate, and impress your friends!

Enjoy!

The Perfect Cup of Tea

Tea tastes best in a real china tea cup. I am lucky to have a few hand-me-downs from Omas and Tantes, but I have found a few treasures at thrift stores as well.

How to make the perfect cup of tea, according to me

you need:

a tea pot

strainer with lots of room for the tea leaves to expand

fresh water

loose leaf tea

tea cups

teaspoons

sugar – I’m using organic demerrera now

Here’s what you do:

1. heat the teapot with hot water from the tap

2. put tea leaves in the strainer, 1 teaspoon per cup

3. heat the water and as soon as it begins to boil, pour it over the tea leaves into the empty teapot

4. put a little of the boiling water into each cup to pre-heat so your tea stays hot for as long as possible

5. let the tea steep for a few minutes – some people like it dark, some like it light.  I like it medium, so I leave the leaves in for about 3 minutes. 

6. take the strainer with the leaves out of the pot – this is important because it will turn bitter if you leave it on for too long

7. pour tea into the tea cups and stir in a little sugar if you like

8. let the first sip remind you of all the times you’ve enjoyed a cup of tea with a good friend or in a moment of peace.  May this be another one of those times.