Monday, December 3, 2012

a little cake

Now that Thanksgiving has been completely digested, including leftovers that got reincarnated into soup, croquettes and of course, sandwiches and the hyperbolic mania of Black Friday and Cyber Monday are a note on an accounting spreadsheet I can think about the next holiday that is descending upon us.

I will actually be cooking a Christmas Feast this year for my Swedish spouse, and ideas are spinning around. It should not be that difficult to transform someone with Ukrainian Jewish roots into the prefect Norse host. I am going my research, and seeking advice from my mother-in-law. I still have twenty plus days, no panic and until then there are other parties to prepare for and batches upon batches of cookies to be made. This is my favorite part of the holidays -- all the cookies you get to consume. These little cakes speak to the most basic pleasure in all of us – our all-too-often forgotten inner child. Though for me that child never like chocolate chip cookies – way too pedestrian. I could not stop myself from eating way too many of my mother’s apricot rugelach. Today, a batch of macadamia/white chocolate is a basic comfort, but for this holiday I am going with a pistachio/lavender biscotti. In part because this twice baked cookie has a good shelf life, and a large batch has you prepped for a cookie swap at a moments notice.  I had a hefty lavender harvest earlier in the year, and looking at my jar of lavender sugar and dried buds I felt compelled to include them in the festivities.   

I may not have a cookie sprinkled with holiday jimmies but they will standout as I probably will later this month serving the Christmas smorgasbord.

Pistachio Biscotti - yields approx. 3 dozen
1/2-cup whole shelled pistachio - roughly chop
2 cups plus 2-tablespoons flour
1-1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/8-teaspoon salt
4 ounces unsalted butter
¾-cup sugar
2 eggs
1-tablespoon orange juice
1-teaspoon orange blossom water
2-teaspoons crushed lavender buds

Pre-heat the oven to 325 degrees.

Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together.

Cream the butter until light and fluffy in a standing mixture or with a hand held beater.  Add in the sugar and beat for a few minutes.  Beat in the eggs one at a time, making sure each is thoroughly incorporated before the next addition.  Mix the orange juice, orange blossom water and lavender into the butter.  Add the flour mixture into the butter and work until just combined.  Then mix in the pistachios. 

On a lightly floured surface form the dough into four logs, and then place a lined baking tray.  Bake the cookies in the oven for approximately 25 minutes, or until the logs are golden brown and set.  Let cool slightly, and then slice the logs into ¼-inch pieces on an angle.  Place back on a baking tray and bake again about 15 minutes to dry out.  

You may want to turn the cookies over in order to insure that both sides dry out well.

Pistachio Bisc

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