Thursday, November 17, 2011

Biscotti and Macaroons

I've been busy directing a production of Urinetown: The Musical at Rhodes College (and it's a pretty darn good production if I say so myself).

We have a brush up rehearsal before we begin the second week of shows, so I thought I would bring some treats to some hungry college students.

Oh, and, if you're in town, come see Urinetown!

Walnut, Fig, and Rosemary Biscotti

I am by no means a baker, and these are super simple to make. The rosemary and lemon zest make add a happy surprise to this not too sweet cookie.

2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 stick unsalted butter, room temp
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 Tbl fresh rosemary, chopped
1 Tbl lemon zest
3/4 cup dried mission figs, diced
1/4 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped

Preheat oven to 350.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour and baking powder. In a separate bowl, mix together sugar, butter, salt, vanilla, and rosemary with an electric mixer.  Mix in eggs one at a time.  Slowly add dry ingredients until just mixed.  Stir in walnuts and figs.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and form dough into a log (about 3"x13").  Damp hands help out tremendously with this step as the dough is rather sticky. Cook until golden brown, about 35-40 minutes.  Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.  Resist trying to move it to a cooling rack, lest that sucker should break half in two.

Using a serrated knife, slice log into 1/2" cookies.  Place a cooling rack on top of a baking sheet and place cookies on top of the rack.  This will help crisp up the cookies without having to turn them. Return to the oven for another 15 minutes.

Coconut and Apricot Macaroons
These remind me of Passover and when I was a young Jewish boy.

One day I will learn how to make those delightful French macaroons, but until then I love these sweet little bites!

14 oz sweetened shredded coconut
14 oz sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 extra-large egg whites at room temperature

1/2 cup dried apricots, diced
1/4 tsp kosher salt

Preheat the oven to 325. 

Combine the coconut, condensed milk, apricots, and vanilla in a large bowl. Whip the egg whites and salt on high speed in the bowl of an electric mixer until they make medium-firm peaks. Carefully fold the egg whites into the coconut mixture. Keep them egg whites fluffy!

Drop the batter onto sheet pans lined with parchment paper into roughly 1 1/2" blobs.  Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until golden brown. Cool and serve.

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