Tuesday, October 14, 2008
twd: lenox almond biscotti
chocolate almond biscotti, intelligentsia coffee, and my favorite black dog cafe mug
When I was working on my Master's degree at Michigan State, I took a fiction writing class for fun. I dreamed up the perfect heroine, named her Aurora (hoping to conjure up allusions to Elizabeth Barrett Browning's poetic bildüngsroman Aurora Leigh), and placed her into fun situations, like playing saucy scrabble matches and munching homemade biscotti with the inscrutable, Kerouac-esque hero Sam.
A few months later, I moved to Auburn, Alabama to work on my Doctorate. Fiction writing courses weren't in my immediate schedule, and so I was thrilled to find a group of women who met every few weeks to workshop creative writing. With great nervousness and trepidation, I printed out eight copies of the Aurora stories and distributed them to the group. They liked the saucy scrabble game, and thought Sam was a suitable hero. But Aurora? She wasn't real. She made her own biscotti, and, really, who did that?
I do! I protested, revealing that the line between fact and fiction was slim at best.
I still make my own biscotti (and still write my heroines as bakers)...Double Chocolate Walnut; Dried Cherry and Almond; Lemon Poppyseed.
This week, TWD baked the Lenox Almond Biscotti, thanks to Gretchen of Canela & Comino. I decided that my playing around would take the form of chocolate chunks and slivers mixed in with the sliced almonds and almond extract. I used white whole wheat flour, without a noticeable difference. The biscotti spread out so much in the pan I was worried they would be too flat, but they turned out alright. After the second baking, the biscotti were still a little soft, so I decided to crisp them up again. This recipe includes cornmeal, which heightens the crunch and textural dimension of the cookies, and also, somehow, makes them seem a little more rustic. I like it, but I still prefer my Dried Cherry and Almond biscotti for overall flavor and texture.
Biscotti are easy to make, and a perfect treat because they last so long out on the counter (unless, of course, you have many hungry eaters roaming your kitchen). They're a moment of joy to accompany that afternoon cup of coffee, and maybe, they'll give you flights of fictional fantasy and help you connect to your inner Aurora--that slightly cooler, more endearing, and quirkily charming version of yourself who is ready to march through the pages of a novel, offering biscotti and poetry to all she meets.