What's Cooking in Carolina?

Mainly creative menus and recipes (usually healthy) and always from scratch with tips for party planning, theme parties, weddings and decorating tips so you can give swank parties or dinners to delight your guests from a part time caterer, owner/operator of a coming soon Entree Vous, but mainly a cook and eater who grows much of her own food and loves to laugh.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Anise Almond Biscotti

Although the weather has warmed up quite a bit, we are still finishing up on wintry foods. This week we had corn and crab chowder and country style steak. Tonight we're converting to summer by grilling some chicken teriyaki and serving it with a salad. Maybe spinach! That's leaping into summer mode. Check out some of our recipes at Swank Catering.

In the meantime, I've been experimenting with Biscotti. I made four different recipes, and I mean really different recipes. One had olive oil, the rest had butter. The consistency of them was very different. I tried making the long ones and had real problems with breakage. So I went back to a medium size, even though I prefer them small. I am making them for a small coffee gelato shop, experimentally.

These are the kinds I made over the last few days.

Almond Anise

Pistachio Cranberry

Chocolate Orange

White Chocolate Macadamia Nut

And the winner is.......well, although the prettiest is the pistachio, my favorite for flavor is Almond Anise. So my ingredient for the week is Anise, also known as anise seed or aniseed, submitted for weekend Herb Blogging, hosted this week by my friend Kate who has a wonderful blog Thyme For Cooking. Go and see what she's cooking and growing, which is consistently incredible; but especially go back late Sunday or Monday for the WHB roundup to see what foodies are cooking around the world. Back to Anise: According to The Food Lover's Companion, anise is known as far back as 1500 B.C. It is an annual plant and member of the parsley family. Both the leaves and the seeds have a distinct, sweet licorice flavor. The greenish brown oval anise seed flavors a variety of sweet and savory dishes. It also flavors drinks: Patis, arrack, annisette and ouzo. Anise seeds have been used as a digestive for centuries, and in India they are chewed after a meal not only as a digestive but to sweeten the breath. I grown quite fond of it and may even try planting it this year.

Michael Chiarella's Tra Vigne’s Biscotti

Makes about 40 cookies

3 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1 1/2 tea baking powder

1 tea salt

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, at room temperature

2/3 cup turbinado sugar (he calls for crystal sugar, but it's too expensive and hard to find)

1/3 c packed light brown sugar

5 large eggs

6 T anise seeds

1 cup unblanched almonds, toasted

Sift together flour, baking powder and salt. In mixing bowl with paddle attachment, cream butter with both sugars. Add eggs, flour mixture and aniseeds. Beat on low until it just comes together. Add almonds and mix until just distributed. Do not overwork. On a floured surface, shape into a ball, flatten, put in a bowl in the frig to chill about 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 325. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Divide dough into 2 pieces. Roll each into a log about 3" diameter. Roll in more sugar, if desired. I didn't. Place on prepared sheet, flatten slightly. Logs should be several inches apart.

Bake until firm and light brown, about 1 hour. When poked it should feel firm to the touch and not collapse or cave in. Remove from oven and lower temperature to 300.

When cooled completely, move to a cutting board and cut into 1/2" slices with s serrated knife. Cutting on the diagonal is a nice touch. Lay the slices down on a baking sheet and return to the oven for 50 minutes. Depending on your oven, you may need to turn them. Let cool completely and store in an airtight container.

Another quick idea we just uncovered for Anise. Have you seen the April Gourmet Magazine? They have the cutest idea for an "April's Fool" dessert. You basically make a recipe similar to the one above but bake it in a loaf pan. You cut them into slices, so they look like a slice of bread. You take extra large eggs and cut the tops out. You sterilize them in boiling water and try completely and fill first with a light lemon pudding (the whites) then with a lemon curd (the yolks). You serve them out of the shells and it looks like eggs and toast. It is so cute, I have to try it. I'll bet you can go on line and find the pictures and the recipe.


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  • At 4:35 PM, Blogger Katie said…

    We have anis growing in our garden but I'm never quite certain what to do with it.
    When I was young I helped my mother make 'anis candy' but that was with oil she bought at the pharmacy, of all places.
    I shall have to learn more about this herb.
    Love the biscotti - what time is coffee?

  • At 10:21 PM, Blogger Deborah Dowd said…

    I am not a lover of anise, but the pistachio ones look great! I have been wanting to try making biscotti, but now I have no excuse!

  • At 8:34 AM, Blogger jeena said…

    Mmmm your recipes look delicous!
    you have Great blog from Jeena :)

    visit jeena's kitchen healthy recipe blog

  • At 11:59 PM, Blogger Kalyn said…

    I'm very impressed. I don't know anyone who makes this themselves, but they look lovely.


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