Thursday, December 16, 2010
White Chocolate Lemon Biscotti

Lemon Biscotti dipped in White Chocolate

These biscotti were whipped up short notice to fill a sudden craving my mom had for something sweet. I've had quite a few biscotti recipes bookmarked and was really intrigued by all the different methods used. Some recipes used butter, others oil, or even both. And a few recipes I came across used neither. For my purpose, I decided to go the traditional route and make my biscotti with olive oil.

Now, if you know me well enough by now, I hardly ever make a full recipe. However, this time I went one step further and actually didn't complete the full list of instructions. Biscotti gets its crunchy texture from a "twice-baked" method. The dough is formed into a log, baked, removed from the oven, sliced, then baked again. This makes biscotti the perfect dipping cookie for coffee, teas, or simply milk. However, I don't drink coffee or milk and although I love tea, I don't have it all too often. So I decided to make "soft-baked" biscotti. After baking the dough as a log, removing it from the oven, and slicing it, I allowed the cookies to cool and left it at that. Then I dipped the bottoms in white chocolate...well actually, I tried to dip them, but without success. What I found worked better and yielded a more aesthetically pleasing result was simply spooning the melted chocolate onto the bottom of the biscotti, then spreading it cleanly with a small angled spatula. Then I set them carefully down on their rounded (undipped) side and allowed them to dry.

Well, whichever way you decide to make these--crisp or soft, dipped or spread with chocolate--I assure you, you'll love the combination of delicate

Lemon Biscotti Duo

Below I'm posting the recipe in its entirety. Including the steps that I decided to skip. Because I tend to adapt recipes, I often make mistakes when retyping them into my blog. So please if you see any discrepancies, let me know and I will amend it as soon as possible.

White Chocolate Lemon Biscotti (adapted from here and here)

1/4 cup light olive oil
3/4 cup white sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon lemon extract (or to taste)
2 teaspoons lemon zest
2 eggs
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/4 cups (6-ounce) bar premium white chocolate, chopped

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. In a large bowl, mix together oil and sugar until well blended. mix in the vanilla and lemon extracts and zest, then beat in the eggs. Combine flour, salt, and baking powder; gradually stir into egg mixture.

Divide dough in half. Form two logs (12x2 inches) on a cookie sheet that has been lined with parchment paper. Dough will be very sticky; wet hands with cool water to handle dough more easily.

Bake for 35 minutes in the preheated oven, or until logs are light brown. Remove from oven, and set aside to cool for 10 minutes. Reduce oven heat to 275 degrees F.

Cut logs on diagonal into 3/4 inch thick slices. Lay on sides on parchment covered cookie sheet. Bake approximately 8 to 10 minutes, or until dry; cool.

Meanwhile, melt the white chocolate in a double boiler or using your preferred method. When the biscotti is cool, dip, spread, or drizzle white chocolate and allow the cookies to dry on a cookie sheet before storing in an air tight container.

Friday, December 10, 2010
Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting and Streusel

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting with Brown Sugar Crumble

After a long hiatus, this blog is finally back in action. During the past few months of this break I've been able to concentrate on school and clean up my diet. Perhaps a greater influence on my blogging than my academic schedule has been my attempt to overcome my dependency on sugary sweets. Today I am very happy to say that one of these bad boys is the first homemade treat that I've had in months. And as delicious as it was, there was something different. The way I felt when I ate it was different...less ravenous. I savored every bite of it, but when it was over I didn't run back for more.

Now although this new found lifestyle may mean great things for me, I'm not exactly sure what the significance is for my blogging. This holiday season will definitely warrant much more baking and testing of my self control. So for now, I'll resist making any predictions until the end of the holidays. Enjoy yours, as I enjoy mine...and try these cupcakes!

Pumpkin Cupcakes Taking a Dive

These cupcakes were made using the leftover batter I had after making a pumpkin bundt cake for an end-of-the-semester/Christmas party on Wednesday night. Like the cake, they are topped with a cinnamon cream cheese frosting, but are taken a step further with a sprinkling of brown sugar crumble.

Pumpkin Cupcakes (allrecipes)

2 cups white sugar
1 1/4 cups vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups canned pumpkin
4 eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine sugar and oil. Blend in vanilla and pumpkin, then beat in eggs one at a time. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Pour batter in muffin tin, filling cups 3/4 full.

Bake in the preheated oven for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of a cupcake comes out clean.

Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 cups sifted powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon

In a medium bowl, cream together the cream cheese and butter until smooth. Mix in the vanilla, then gradually stir in the powdered sugar. Mix in cinnamon, add more if desired. Store in the refrigerator after use.

Brown Sugar Crumble

1/2 cup quick-cooking oats
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup butter, melted

Line a sheet pan with foil. Combine oats, flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and melted butter together. Crumble onto sheet pan, cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Bake crumble for 10 minutes or until brown, watching carefully.

Pumpkin Cupcakes