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Yup – A Baker!

If there is a heaven – and I get there – I’ll be the baker.

As a child, baking was part of many delightful moments, which multiplied at Christmas time. It was always exciting to come home to the aroma – and taste – of just-baked cookies. Now, by the time I arrived in the world (the youngest of four) my mom had abandoned baking from scratch, and I accepted as truth that cookies and cakes came exclusively from the Pillsbury dough boy, Betty Crocker and Duncan Hines.

But in my final year of high school I lived with my sister, Connie, and she baked – muffins, cookies, bread, pizza dough – everything. I was mesmerized. To me this was as magic as Tinker Bell and Mary Poppins . . . and it still is. From the moment I held my first electric hand mixer in my very own kitchen, baking has been one of my great joys. And while I’m grateful to my sister for many, many things, baking is one of the very best gifts she’s ever given to me.

Why am I sharing this with you? Because in 2006, when The Phone Lady was celebrating its first Christmas, I chose to give my clients baking in the form of my homemade Cranberry Almond biscotti. (Biscotti simply means “twice baked” in Italian.) The reaction was – and continues to be – the same one I feel when I bake – joy. And I can’t deny that they are very yummy!

Over the years many of you have asked for the recipe. So in the spirit of joy that is Christmas, here in words and pictures, is the biscotti recipe. I send it out to you with a wish for a holiday filled with what you love best and aNew Year that delivers dreams come true.

 

Cranberry Almond Biscotti

Ingredients for single recipe

3/4 cup butter; 1 cup white sugar; 2 eggs; 1/4 teaspoon vanilla

2 1/2 cups flour;  1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon; 3/4 teaspoon baking powder; 1/2 teaspoon salt; 1/3 cup ground almonds; 1/4 cup dried cranberries

Mix together the dry ingredients, then add the cranberries and stir to gently coat them. It is important to note that in these photos, I'm working with a doubled recipe. And the red cookie tin? Sentimental - my sister kept flour in a similar tin when she first introduced me to baking.
Mix together the dry ingredients, then add the cranberries and stir to gently coat them. It is important to note that in these photos, I’m working with a doubled recipe. And the red cookie tin? Sentimental – my sister kept flour in a similar tin when she first introduced me to baking.
Mix together butter sugar eggs and vanilla.
Mix together butter sugar eggs and vanilla.
Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients. Mix well together until you have a moist cookie dough.
Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients. Mix well together until you have a moist cookie dough.
Divide dough in two (for single recipe) or four (if you double the recipe) on cookie sheets lined with parchment paper.
Divide dough in two (for single recipe) or four (if you double the recipe) on cookie sheets lined with parchment paper.

 

 

Create smooth, rounded "loaves" out of each portion of dough, i.e. you'll have two "loaves" if you are doing a single recipe, four if you've doubled it.
Create smooth, rounded “loaves” out of each portion of dough, i.e. you’ll have two “loaves” if you are doing a single recipe, four if you’ve doubled it.

 

Use a sharp knife to divide each of your "loaves" in two. You can skip this step if you wish. You'll end up with longer, more dense biscotti.
Use a sharp knife to divide each of your “loaves” in two. You can skip this step if you wish. You’ll end up with longer, more dense biscotti.
Make two large cookies
Flatten each section of dough into a large cookie shape. I use my hands but a rolling pin also works. Then put into a 350F oven for 30 minutes.
Remove from the oven when the edges of each "cookie" are just slightly browned.
Remove from the oven when the edges of each “cookie” are just slightly browned.
With a sharp knife, slice each "cookie" lengthwise to achieve the traditional biscotti shape.
With a sharp knife, slice each “cookie” lengthwise to achieve the traditional biscotti shape.
Put each biscotti flat-side down on the cookie sheet. Return the trays to the 350F oven for 10 to 15 minutes. Remove and turn over each biscotti and return to the oven for a further 10 to 15 minutes. This is the process that creates the cookies' unique "crunch".
Put each biscotti flat-side down on the cookie sheet. Return the trays to the 350F oven for 10 to 15 minutes. Remove and turn over each biscotti and return to the oven for a further 10 to 15 minutes. This is the process that creates the cookies’ unique “crunch”.
Cool the biscotti on brown paper.
Cool the biscotti on brown paper.
Share with others or ...
Share with others or …
enjoy them yourself. Merry Christmas from The Phone Lady!
enjoy them yourself. Merry Christmas from The Phone Lady!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

0 thoughts on “Yup – A Baker!”

  1. Thanks MJ for sharing your recipe. The biscotti was AMAZING! I think I ate mine all in 2 days (blush) but it was just soooooo good. You certainly are a lady with many talents!! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

  2. Awesome, Mary Jane – now I know the magic behind the morsels! They were defintely delicious!!

    I love that you shared the pictures along with the recipe – it looks very doable and inspiring to give it a try. Cheers!

  3. Very nice Mary Jane, thank you for sharing the recipe I’ve had the good forture to receive from you — yum! And thanks especially for your support of Red Bear Healing Home Society. Merry Christmas!

  4. Thanks for sharing your story and the recipe. I too lived with my sister my last year of high school and I too LOVE to bake. Can’t wait to try the recipe and share (maybe!) with others.

    Hope you have a lovely holiday.

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