about bliss

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.

10 comments:

  1. I want to read about Aurora, she sounds like fun. Even though I have to say when I saw the name I immediately thought Sleeping Beauty! Guess I am around my 5 yr old a little too much! Biscotti looks delicious and I love the mug!

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  2. every baker is a heroine (or is that, every heroine should be a baker....)! your biscotti look fantastic.

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  3. I definitely connected to my inner Aurora! These were phenomenal! And yours look absolutely beautiful!

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  4. cherry and almond sound better to me as well.

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  5. I love your story of your baking heroine! Would you consider sharing some of your / her recipes? Having made Dorie's biscotti, I'd love to try some other ones too.

    Another heroine I wish would share her recipes -- Sunshine the baker, of "Sunshine" by Robin McKinley. Have you read it? Romance, food, vampires, dark fantasy -- a great combination!

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  6. yum! I agree! I made these this morning and have never made biscotti before. I was very pleased and have changed my opinion on biscotti as a whole. However, I will be like you and make my own. The ones in stores are just too old. LOL

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  7. Thanks for sharing your writing with us. Sounds great! And your biscotti look wonderful too!

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  8. I have a friend whose husband swears by intelligista coffee and will drive 2 1/2 hours to LA to get it. I'm going to have to try it, luckily a store near me sells it.

    Your biscotti look great!

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  9. Fun read! Glad you enjoyed the biscotti! You must be a heroine!

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  10. maybe i'll share some of aurora's story next time:) thanks for all of your comments this week AND your book suggestions:)

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