Lemon Poppyseed Biscotti

March 4, 2014

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I have been impressing myself lately.  Usually, I do not stray from a recipe, I do it exactly as is.  This is why I like baking, you follow the recipe and it turns out, it’s a science.  Well, I have become quite adventurous with biscotti.  I have finally found a ‘base recipe’ that I am able to play around with flavours.

This week I had numerous people asking for more biscotti, so I made 3 batches!  I made cherry almond, chocolate and lemon poppy seed.  A few weeks ago Mom asked about making lemon poppy seed ones, I initially shriveled up my nose and thought, ick! Who would make that?  Well it turns out quite a few people d0!  I was looking for a recipe and there were tones, I was pleasantly surprised.  After reading dozens of recipes I figured I would ‘wing it’ and hope for the best.

Lemon Poppy Seed Biscotti

2 1/2  cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp salt
1 cup ground almonds
4 large eggs
1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tbsp (generous) lemon zest
2 tbsp poppy seeds

Directions:

1. Preheat oven 350ºF

2. In a medium bowl combine flour, baking soda, salt, poppy seeds, lemons zest and ground almond,  set aside

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3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine sugar, lemon juice and eggs.  Beat on high with whisk attachment until it holds a ‘ribbon’ for a few seconds. (approx 5 min)

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4.  Add flour mixture and mix on lowest speed until just combined

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5. Form into 3 even logs

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6. Bake until firm to the touch and golden, mine are usually 35 minutes

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7. Transfer to a wire rack and cool

8. Slice and turn to oven and back until desired hardness, mine were about another 25-30 mins, depends on the day

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9. Cool on a wire rack and enjoy!  Lasts a few weeks in a storage tin.  Tupperware and plastic bags will also work

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For me these were just OK.  Everyone else said they really liked them.  The texture was great, but I found them lacking in flavour but, admittedly in previous post, I am a bit of a lemon freak, when I have something lemony I want a punch of lemon, not a hint.  I think another reason I wasn’t a huge fan is, they really were not that sweet.  That being said, I still ate them! haha.

Next week I will try something new!


Oatmeal Raisin Biscotti

February 22, 2014

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Here we are back at the biscotti!  I really, really wish Mike had not asked me to make those biscotti for him a few years ago, because I just can’t stop!!! It’s not just me, I have a lot of the family hooked as well.  I have been making 2 batches every other weekend.  I have been getting a little more adventurous with my biscotti, now that I have a good base to go with.  This time I wanted to try something completely different, oatmeal raisin!  I was inspired by this recipe Oatmeal and Raisin Biscotti

Oatmeal Raisin Biscotti

2 1/2  cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1 cup ground almonds
4 large eggs
1 cup raisins
1/2 cup old fashioned oats
1/2 cup almonds

Directions

1. Preheat oven 350ºF

2. In a medium bowl combine flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and ground almond, and set aside

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3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine sugar and eggs.  Beat on high with whisk attachment until it holds a ‘ribbon’ for a few seconds. (approx 5 min)

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4. Add oats, mix on low until just combine

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5. Add raisins and almonds, stir until just combined

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6. Form into 3 equal logs and bake until firm to the touch, approx 35 mins

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7. Allow to cool.  Slice and turn to oven and back until desired hardness, mine were about another 25-30 mins, depends on the day

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8. Allow to cool on a wire rack – enjoy!  Stores very well for weeks (if they last that long) in a tin

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These were delicious!!! I really liked the cinnamon raisin combination.  The oats really did not come though as much as I had thought.  Might try grinding them up and use in place of the ground almonds.

I will definitely be making these again.  I stepped out of my comfort zone (straying from a recipe) and it worked!  Very inspired to try more new flavours!


Pistachio Cranberry Biscotti

January 12, 2014

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My name is Erica and I am addicted to biscotti!  There I said it! Now, how do I stop?

Over Christmas I made 3 batches of biscotti and had gotten quite used to having one, two, three OK, FOUR with my morning tea. Four, can you believe that? (hanging my head in shame).  Well, the holidays were over and back to work I went, back to routine, same ole, same ole.  I gotta say, starting the day without those FOUR biscotti is a lot harder than I anticipated!  And it is not just me, Mom and Poppa seem to be also hooked, they were both wondering when some more would be coming, haha!  Today I caved and made 2 batches, my usual Chocolate and a new one, Pistachio and Cranberry.  Poppa and I like the Chocolate, but Mom says they are ‘too sweet’, 2 words I have never spoken, but I aim to please.  I love the texture of the Chocolate ones I make so I got adventurous and tried to adapt it to what I was making.

Before we get started, let’s talk about pistachios!  I do love pistachios, especially the red ones.  I know they all taste the same, but just something about them, I like the red ones better.  I guess it is just more fun when your hands get all red and leave some evidence.

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It is also kind of fun to eat them ,just like eating the peanuts that have not been shelled.  You aim to get it open on the first try, but inevitably there is that one, that does not have a crack and is impossible to break open with just your thumb!  The shell also slows you down, you have to work for the reward.  Which brings me to preparing the biscotti, boy did they slow me down!!  Opening a few and eating them is fun, opening enough to get a cup of them, not so much! It took me almost 20 minutes.  All I could think was, these better be good!

Pistachio and Cranberry Biscotti

Adapted from Fresh from the Oven

2 1/2  cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp salt
1 cup ground almonds
4 large eggs
1 cup pistachios
1 cup dried cranberries

Directions:

1. In a medium bowl combine flour, baking soda, salt and almond powder, and set aside

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2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine sugar and eggs.  Beat on high with whisk attachment until it holds a ‘ribbon’ for a few seconds. (approx 5 min)

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3.  Now using the paddle, add the flour mixture and stir on lowest speed until just combined

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4. Add pistachios and cranberries – mix for a few seconds to combine

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5. Evenly separate into 3 logs, on a lined cookie sheet

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6. Bake at 350ºC until firm to the touch – mine were about 35 minutes – transfer to a wire rack to cool, but not completely

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7. Slice and return to oven to desired ‘crunchiness’.  This can be tricky as they will harden up as they cool.  I like mine to be quite crisp, I cooked mine for about 25 more minutes. Will also depend on your oven.

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8. Return to wire rack until cool – best stored in a tin, but a plastic container will also work

Enjoy!

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These were delicious!  This was one of the very few times I veered off of a recipe and it actually turned out!  The Pistachio flavour really came out once baked and it complemented the tang of the cranberry.  The texture was perfect!  Quite crunchy but softened just the right about with a quick dunk in my tea.  Poppa even liked these ones.  I will make these again, I guess all that pistachio shelling was worth it.

Now, I will not be having four with my morning tea, I will try my best to have only one, maaaaaaaaaybe two.  I did have one this morning with my Tim Horton’s extra-large steeped tea with milk (heaven in a cardboard cup) and it was delightful!  Though I didn’t feel guilty at all as I enjoyed it AFTER my 4k run, I’d say I earned it!

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Daring Bakers – A Blast from the Past!

July 27, 2013

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In a “celebration” of past Daring Baker and Daring Cook challenges, Lisa challenged all of us to search through the Daring Kitchen archives and pick any one we’d like! The REAL challenge was picking which delicious recipe(s) to try!

I have not participated in the Daring Bakers for quite some time.  Honestly, I was just not fond of things that were picked to be made, I just can’t justify making something that I know I will not enjoy.  When I logged on at the beginning of the month I was trilled to see this months challenge, we were able to pick any challenge from the past.  This meant that we could make one that we really loved, one that we missed, or one that was done before we joined, so many possibilities!

At first I immediately thought I wanted to make the Chocolate Valentino, a flourless chocolate cake that I had admired for years!  It was the challenge the month before I joined, I have always wanted to make it and even added it to my Bucket List of Baking.  As I was looking for the recipe, in the Daring Bakers Archive, I happen to come across a recipe for biscotti.  This peaked my interest as I seem to be obsessed with biscotti at the present time.  As I looked further into the recipe I KNEW this is what I would make.  The recipe had one huge difference from any other biscotti recipe I had made, this one had butter in it.  From all the biscotti research I’ve done over the past while it seems that the addition of butter seems to be an ‘American Biscotti’. They apparently are less crunchy to their Italian counterparts who don’t use butter or oils. I have seen many recipes that called for butter but always skipped over them, now is my chance to try one out!

Chocolate Biscotti

Daring Bakers December 2006

Adapted from Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan, Houghton Mifflin Company, Nov 2006

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tbsp instant espresso powder (I omitted this)
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
6 tbsp unsalted butter at room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup chopped almonds, blanched or unblanched
3/4 cup chocolate chips

Directions
1. Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350º F. Line a baking sheet with parchment or a silicone mat.

2. Sift together the flour, cocoa, espresso powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt.

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3. Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar together on medium speed until pale, about 2 minutes

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4. The mixture may be crumbly. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the eggs and vanilla and beat for another 2 minutes; don’t worry if the mixture looks curdled.

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5. Reduce the mixer speed to low and mix in the dry ingredients in 3 additions, mixing only until a dough forms. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

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6. Mix in the chopped nuts and chocolate

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7. Turn the dough out onto a work surface and knead in any dry ingredients that might have escaped mixing.

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8. Divide the dough in half. Working with one half at a time, roll the dough into 12 inch long logs. Flatten both logs with the palm of your hand so that they are 1/2 to 1 inch high, about 2 inches across and sort of rectangular, then carefully lift the logs onto the baking sheet.

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9. Bake the logs for about 25 minutes, or until they are just slightly firm. The logs will spread and crack – and that’s just fine.
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10. Remove the baking sheet from working with one log at a time, using a long serrated knife, cut each log into slices between 1/2 and 3/4 inch thick.
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11.  Stand the slices up on the baking sheet and bake the cookies again, this time for just 10 minutes (mine were in for about 30 minutes).
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12. Cool on a wire rack
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These biscotti were pretty good.  I was very worried that they would be more ‘cake like’ as i read about, because of the addition of the butter.  I did cook them longer than they said so I could crunch them up a bit.  The texture was quite different, they were much more like a cookie.  They didn’t have that ‘hard bite’ that I associate with a biscotti.  I also found them to be quite crumbly, especially when biting, quite messy.  Not a whole lot of flavour, but ok.  I am glad I tried them, but will probably not make them again.  I think I will stick to the traditional Italian version of biscotti.
Thanks for a great challenge, I love when a Daring Bakers Challenge makes me step outside of my comfort zone.

Cherry Almond Biscotti

June 30, 2013

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I tired a new biscotti recipe last week.  I love the flavour of the Almond Cherry Biscotti that I usually make, but I can’t seem to get them to ‘harden up’.  They always seem to be too soft, more like a cookie.  Don’t get me wrong, it does not stop me from eating them, but I thought I would try something different.

I found this recipe on Everything-Biscotti.com.  This is a great resource if you are into biscotti.  I was able to get some great tips and some more recipes I would like to try.  This recipe was Almond biscotti, I like the almond cherry combination so I added cherries to the recipe.

Easy Almond Biscotti

Adapted from Everything-biscotti.com

2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup almonds
3/4 teas baking soda
1/4 teas. salt
1/2 teas. vanilla extract
1/4 teas. almond extract
2 eggs
1 egg white
1/2 cup dried cherries (my addition)

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 F and place oven rack in center of oven.  Line cookie sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

2. In a large bowl combine flour, sugar, baking soda and salt

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3. Add almond and cherries, stir to combine

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4. In a small bowl combine vanilla, almond extract, egg and egg white

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5. Add egg mixture to dry ingredients. Stir until well combined.  Dough will be dry. Dump onto a floured surface and kneed about 10 times to bring everything together

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6.  Form into 2 equal logs, approximately 1 inch thick. Place on prepared sheets

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7. Bake for 30 minutes or until the log is firm to the touch and golden.  Place logs on a wire rack to cool, approximately 15 minutes

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8. Reduce the oven to 325F.

9. On a cutting board, with a serrated knife, cut on a diagonal approximately 1/2 inch thick

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10. Place cut side down on cookie sheet and bake from 12 minutes.  Turn each biscotti over and bake for another 12 minutes.  Cool on a wire rack

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This recipe was pretty good.  I quite prefer the texture of these biscotti over the ones I usually make.  These were much more crunchy and dry.  As for the flavour, they were a little weak.  Next time I would add a lot more almond extract, perhaps up to a teaspoon, I could barely taste the almond.  I will make these again with a few changes.  Can’t wait to try another flavour soon!

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Chocolate Biscotti

December 9, 2012

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I have to admit, this time last year if someone had of told me I would be making, eating and ENJOYING biscotti, I would have told them they were nuts!  Those horrible hard sticks that break your teeth, ewwww!  Well, a year later I must confess I now love biscotti.  I am not sure if I should thank or curse Mike at work for encouraging me to try my hand at making them (only because he wanted some, haha).  Since then I have researched quite a few recipes, though I have only tried a few because I can’t stop eating them.  I made two batches on the weekend, almond cherry and a new Chocolate one from; Fresh from the Oven, I have wanted to try a chocolate one for a long time, I had all the ingredients and these ones looked delicious!

Chocolate Biscotti

Adapted from Fresh from the Oven

2 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder – I used ruby red
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 tsp  salt
1 cup walnuts
1/3 cup almonds
1 1/2 cups Chocolate chips
4 large eggs, at room temperature

Directions:

1. In a food processor, pulse the flour, cocoa,baking soda,salt, 1 cup of chocolate chips and walnuts, until chocolate chunks and walnuts are coarsely ground

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2. In a bowl of electric mixer using the whisk attachment, beat the whole eggs, and granulated sugar until the mixture holds a ribbon-like trail on the surface for a few seconds when you raise the whisk.

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3. Switch to the paddle attachment. With mixer on low-speed, add the flour mixture.

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4. When it’s well combined, add in the nuts and chocolate and stir by hand, using a large spatula.

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5.  Divide into 3 and form into flat logs on a parchment paper lined baking sheet

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6. Bake until logs are just firm to the touch, 25-30 minutes. Transfer baking sheets to a wire rack to cool completely, about 20 minutes.

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7. When the logs are cool enough to handle, use a serrated knife to cut biscotti. Arrange slices, cut sides down. Bake until biscotti are firm to the touch and completely dry 15-17 minutes.

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I think these chocolate biscotti are my favourite!  They are so chocolately and have a hint of nut flavour from the ground nuts.  I love the texture of these ones, they are more firm with a smaller crumb, not quite as crumbly as others I have made.  This is the final picture because they were all gone before I got around to taking ‘the nice picture’.
They were amazing dunked in a cup of mint tea, I will admit to having 4 in one cup of tea! A definite keeper!

**UPDATE!**

Almost a year later I remade these biscotti, they were as delicious as I remembered.  This time I was able to get a picture of the final product

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Almond, Cherry and White Chocolate Biscotti

February 8, 2012

A few weeks ago I got a request to make Biscotti.  Biscotti? Really? I had never had a biscotti, to me they just seemed like rock hard cookies you had to gnaw on, kind of reminded me of teething biscuits.  I think it was because I am not a fan of “dunking”.  I just never understood why people would “dunk” their cookies in a glass of milk, making a perfectly good cookie all soft and soggy…ewww! Even though I had never made them, my Daring Bakers instincts kicked in and I was up for the challenge!

First off I figured I should learn a little about what a biscotti really was.  Biscotti are twice-baked biscuits originating in Italy. The biscuits are long and narrow, made dry and crunchy through cutting the loaf of dough while still hot and fresh from baking in the oven.  Biscotti are usually accompanied with a beverage for dunking.  Originally made for dunking in wine, they are also enjoyed dunking in coffee and teas.

After much searching, ( I had no idea there were as many varieties of Biscotti) I decided on something simple for the first batch.  The only request that was made was that it had “almond” in it.

Cherry, Almond & White Chocolate Biscotti

From gimmesomeoven.com

Ingredients:

2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/8 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. oil
1 tsp. almond extract
1 tsp. vanilla
4 large eggs
1/2 cup dried berries (cherries or cranberries)
1/3 cup sliced or slivered almonds
white chocolate baking squares or chips (optional)

Method:

1. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt together in a bowl.  Set aside.

2. Mix eggs, oil, and extracts in a bowl with an electric mixer.

3. Then add in dry ingredients and mix together until combined.

4. Then add in berries and almonds – and either mix by hand with a wooden spoon, or very briefly with the electric mixer.

** I added the nuts and mixed until combined.  Removed half the dough and added the cherries to the rest, so I had to different kinds**

5. Turn the dough out onto a lightly-floured surface.  Knead lightly a few times to be sure that berries and almonds are well-distributed.  (Dough will be sticky, so you may need to lightly re-flouring your surface once or twice.)

6. Shape each half into long logs, and flatten to 1″ thickness. Place on a baking sheet.

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7. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes.

8. Remove rolls from baking sheet and cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack.

9. Cut each roll diagonally into 1/2″ slices.

10. Place the slices cut-sides down on a baking sheet.

11. Bake for 10 minutes.  Remove, and turn each slice over, and bake for another 10 minutes.  Remove and cool on wire racks.

To add white chocolate, simply melt your desired amount in a double boiler or (carefully!) in the microwave.  Use a fork to drizzle it over the biscotti slices.  Or you can dip each slice in a bowl of the melted white chocolate.

Out of the oven, cooled, pictures taken, I have stalled long enough…I will taste.  I have to admit I was not looking forward to it, but figured I should at least try them before I give them away.

Verdict…They were not bad, quite crunchy!!! Again I had a flashback to 20 years ago of my little cousins gnawing on those awful almond teething cookies.  But I did go back for another bite…they were growing on me.  I figured if I was going to have a biscotti I should do the “dunk”!  So, I brewed up my favourite loose leaf herbal peppermint tea and go in for the “dunk”….

I hesitated a bit….thinking of that soggy cookie….but I go for it

I was pleasantly surprised! It was pretty good!  It did not go soggy, it was not gooey, just right.  Soft enough to chew and not have to gnaw, but not mushy.  Hmmm, I went in for the second dunk! At which point I grabbed the cup and biscotti and headed over to the couch, might as well enjoy in comfort.   I’m not sure if it was a good thing having made these, just another cookie I have to try to stay away from!!!!! I am already looking at a few others I would like to try.


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