Category: Publications

Biscotti

I love biscotti. That crisp first bite, the bitter/sweet contrast of a good dark chocolate, the nutty crunch—what could be better? That’s why I’ve written a biscotti cookbook, which is coming late fall 2018 or early spring 2019.

The word biscotti means “twice baked.” The first bake sets the loaf, and after cooling and slicing, the second bake dries the individual biscotto into a crispy cookie. I’ve made numerous attempts over the years at baking my own biscotti, with mostly abysmal results. They crumbled to dust every time I tried to slice them, and soon my favorite treat had become my nemesis. I was tempted to give up, but ultimately I rallied. I’m a culinary-school graduate after all—surely I could rise to the challenge. After many hours of online research and instructional videos, success was mine! Once I mastered that first batch I was hooked.

A Little Biscotti History

Biscotti are ubiquitous at this point—you can find them in just about any bakery or coffee shop you walk into. But the original biscotti weren’t quite as appealing as the version you now munch with your macchiato. They were flat, very dry, and very hard. They were utilitarian; portable with a long shelf life, making them easy to take on long trips. Some versions could last a year with no noticeable deterioration, though they got a little less mileage on the open seas due to animal and bug infestations.

Prior to the Industrial Age, there were few food resources available to travelers and military troops that were suitable for long journeys. Fresh foods were consumed first, and since there were rarely places to restock, especially for those at sea, biscotti became a standby. The original versions were hard as rocks, one had to dip the cookie into hot tea or a warm gruel to soften it up before eating. I imagine sailors gnawing on these like babies with teething biscuits!

Though the oldest recipe dates back to eighteenth-century Italy, twice-baked goods are not unique to that country. Other versions include English hardtack, Jewish Mandelbrot, the Dutch rusk, the German zwieback, and the Greek paximadia.

Happily, after the Industrial Age introduced canned and frozen foods, the original bland biscotti wasn’t discarded entirely but instead turned into a delightful, tasty treat with the addition of sugar, flavorings, nuts, dried fruit, and chocolate.

Biscotti can now be enjoyed at any time of the day: with a latte for breakfast, with tea in the afternoon, or with a glass of Vin Santo in the evening. They also partner nicely with ice cream, gelato, or sorbet. Biscotti are as portable as ever, so take a few with you on your daily travels!cookies1.1024.IMG_3621

Strawberry Ice Cream

PB&J ice cream sandwiches

Ice cream is one of America’s favorite treats and strawberry ice cream is a classic. To celebrate the publication of my cookbook, Endless Summer: 54 quick and creative ice cream and dessert recipes, I’m publishing my recipe for strawberry ice cream.

Here’s the story behind Endless Summer. The Monday before Christmas (2013) I got a call from my client at Zoku LLC. They had a new product, individual ice cream makers, and wanted to know if I’d like to write an ice cream book to accompany this new venture. Having worked with them before, I knew they operate on a tight deadline and this one was particularly challenging. Write the book in six weeks!

Ice Cream Recipe Book

Endless Summer is available  at Williams-Sonoma stores and online, as well as amazon.com and other venues. The book is sold separately from the Zoku Ice Cream Maker and works for traditional ice cream machines. There are 54 recipes for ice cream, gelato, sorbet, granita and some dairy-free frozen desserts as well as recipes for sauces, apple pie, profiteroles, ice cream cones and more. I am particularly pleased with, well all of them, but a couple of favorites are the Pumpkin Pie, White Chocolate & Fudge Swirl, and Coconut Milk, Lemongrass, Ginger & Jalapeño (one of the dairy-free desserts). With Zoku’s permission, here is the recipe for strawberry ice cream.

Check out Zoku’s website to see all their fun individual appliances, such as the Quick Pop Maker and the Slush and Shake Maker. Great recipe books for these, too!

Strawberry ice cream from the ice cream machine.

One and one-half cups strawberries cut into pieces to maximize flavor.

Puree the strawberries, sugar, lime juice, vanilla and salt in a blender or food processor. Add the cream and milk and pulse to combine. Chill ice cream mixture and stir well before using.

 

 

Strawberry ice cream base.

Follow the instructions included with your ice cream maker for churning and freezing.

PB&J ice cream sandwiches

Get our recipe for peanut butter cookies and make PB&J ice cream sandwiches!

Print

Strawberry Ice Cream

Tip: To maximize the strawberry flavor, cut large strawberries in quarters and small one in half to get a full measure.

  • Prep Time: 20 mins
  • Total Time: 20 mins
  • Yield: 1 quart

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups rinsed and hulled fresh strawberries
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 1/4 cup milk

Instructions

  1. Puree the strawberries, sugar, lime juice, vanilla and salt in a blender or food processor. Add the cream and milk and pulse to combine. Transfer to a storage container and refrigerate for at least five hours or overnight. Stir well before using.

Notes

To make the PB&J ice cream sandwiches, take one cookie and place 4 ounces/1/4 cup ice cream on the backside of the cookie and cover with another cookie and gently press.