Sundays are for baking is a roughly monthly newsletter with writing, recipes, photos, and more!
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Hello, everyone! Welcome to another issue. Today’s is a special one because Sundays are for baking is turning 1 year old!! I posted my first issue on March 14th, 2021, in honor of pi(e) day, with an Irish soda bread recipe. Since then I’ve posted 16 full issues and several bonus issues. Tomorrow is pi(e) day once again, and today I’m sharing a special anniversary issue! Read on for a delicious chocolate-dipped almond biscotti recipe, a collection of some of my favorite newsletters from the last year, and a recent poem, along with some photos!
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Chocolate & almond biscotti
Biscotti is a wonderful thing to have in the house. Have it for breakfast with your beverage of choice, eat it on the go, combine it with ice cream for dessert. You can’t go wrong. Biscotti, as I understand, originated in Italy, and its name derives from the Latin word for “twice-baked.” Biscotti are indeed baked twice, resulting in their characteristic crunchiness. I’ve used the recipe that follows (adapted from this blog) a few times; I’ve gotten both crunchier and chewier biscotti, but they have always turned out delicious. And I am very happy to be using all-purpose flour and whole wheat flour in this recipe.
The most recent batch of chocolate-dipped almond biscotti I made was particularly decadent—chewy with a thick layer of chocolate. Lots of big chunks of almonds. Mm. In reflecting on the texture, I realized the biscotti I made were akin to mandel bread, or mandelbrot, which is a Jewish twice-baked cookie—mandel bread is also crunchy, but it is generally richer (less dry) than biscotti, because it is made with more fat.
How to make them
I highly recommend coating the biscotti with chocolate length-wise so that you have chocolate in every bite, rather than coating one end of the biscotti in chocolate. These cookies keep well, they make great gifts, and they are easy to store!
4 tablespoons unsalted butter —> I used cold butter cut into pieces and combined it with the sugar in step 2 with the back of a wooden spoon
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon almond extract —> if you don’t have this, it’s not a huge deal to omit, but I recommend adding…it’s so good…
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract —> I would not leave this out, especially if you omit the almond extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour —> the original recipe calls for 1 cup all-purpose flour and 1 cup white whole wheat flour - use what you have!
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup roughly chopped almonds
demerara sugar (or turbinado, granulated) for sprinkling
semi-sweet chocolate chips for melting
Recipe adapted from Kristine’s Kitchen
Prepare the dough:
1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Chop the almonds and set aside.
2. In a large bowl, combine the butter with the sugar.
3. Add eggs, almond extract, and vanilla extract and mix until combined. —> I used an electric hand-mixer and a wooden spoon for this.
4. In a medium bowl, combine the flours, baking powder, and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until well combined. Use a hand-mixer on low-speed or beat by hand, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
5. Stir in chopped almonds. (I also added a little milk to my dough to help bring everything together at the end because the dough was a little stiff/dry.)
6. Divide the dough in half and, using your hands, make each half into a ball and then an 8-inch log. Transfer each log to the parchment-lined baking sheet. Press each log with your fingers until it is about 3/4 inch thick. Gently press the sides and ends of the logs as you even out the dough and flatten it.
7. Sprinkle each biscotti loaf with demerara sugar.
1. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes—until the loaves are lightly golden and their centers are mostly firm and bounce back when touched.
2. Let the biscotti loaves cool for 30 minutes.
3. Cut the loaves on the diagonal into biscotti pieces with a sharp knife. Aim for the same thickness across pieces and end to end (ie, cut straight), so that the cookies bake evenly. Turn the biscotti cut-side up on the parchment-lined baking sheet.
1. Bake for 12 to 16 minutes—until the cookies are dry. The centers of the cookies will be slightly soft, but the cookies will crisp further as they cool. —> If you have an uneven oven you might need to rotate the baking sheet during the bake time. Last time I made these my biscotti were fairly crammed in on one tray, so I also flipped them all over for the last minute or so of bake time, so that they would dry out on all sides.
2. Let the biscotti cool completely. If you stop here, these almond biscotti are amazing as is! But if you want to add chocolate…
Dip biscotti in chocolate:
1. Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil on the stove. Hold or rest a heat-safe bowl or a smaller saucepan over the larger saucepan of water, creating a makeshift double boiler. (Be careful! And feel free to use a proper double boiler if you have one.)
2. Melt a few large handfuls of semi-sweet chocolate in the smaller saucepan or bowl, stirring constantly, until it is melted enough for dipping/spreading. —> There are specific ways to temper chocolate properly, but I’ve found this works—I just aim not to let the chocolate get very hot or very cold.
3. Pour the melted chocolate into a dish and dip the cooled almond biscotti in it, cut-side down. You can also spoon and spread the chocolate on if that’s easier. Let any excess chocolate drip off before placing the biscotti chocolate-side up to set completely at room temperature.
4. Enjoy! Store leftover biscotti in an airtight container for 1 to 2 weeks.
Happy 1-year anniversary to SAFB
Some of my favorite issues from the past year
My first issue, with an Irish soda bread recipe! Make it THIS WEEK for St. Patrick’s Day (on Thursday)!
A CHALLAH bread tutorial directed by my mom, a baking champion!
A spring issue that includes a recipe for salted chocolate chip shortbread cookies—maybe my favorite thing that I’ve made for SAFB!
A collaboration with special guest, Deanna! I LOVED putting this issue together—it’s one of my favorites forever—and now is the perfect time to make Deanna’e pie crust for your pi(e) day pie of choice!!
A fall-y deep dive into streusel and apples—mm…
billowing trumpet of small flower-petal-shaped clouds, illumined by the sun
Thanks for reading! I am feeling proud and happy for having created a year’s worth of issues, and I hope they have brought you some joy, and also some delicious baked goods, even amidst difficult times/a difficult world.
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