One thing I love about cooking is when I set out to make a recipe thinking it’s going to be screeching-nails-on-a-chalkboard frustrating and it surprises me by being so intrinsically simple that I could probably duplicate with with my eyes closed and one hand tied behind my back.
What can I say? I have a flair for the dramatics.
Every time I set out to make biscotti, I dread it a little bit, no matter how satisfying I know the final product will be in the end. You see, you need two bowls: one for the wet ingredients and one for the dry substances. Two bowls = 2 dishes to wash at the end of the day. I mean, directly after I finish cooking, of course. Biscotti also bakes twice – once whole at a higher temperature and once after it’s cooled and you’ve sliced, in a warm-but-not-as-hot oven (that’s the technical term).
Now the good news? That’s as difficult as it gets.
Recently, I was invited to participate in a cook-off with Starbucks and TAZO Tea. This month, I, along with several other bloggers, will create one recipe per week that incorporates Tazo Tea. The kicker? We also have to include a “secret ingredient” that is announced each Monday into the recipe.
This week? It was all about culinary lavender.
Before you indulge in these crispy, vanilla infused Italiano-style cookies that can only be described as sheer bliss when dunked in a hot, frothy latte, I need you to do me a favor. Leave a comment on this post! If I get the most comments among the other bloggers partaking in this challenge, I’ll win a gift card to the kitchen store of my choice (translation: I will buy Le Creuset cookware).
I know. It feels like a popularity contest. All you need to do tell me your favorite kind of tea, your favorite kind of cookie, how nice I look today…and so on.
Vanilla Rooibos Biscotti
Yield: 18 biscotti
What you need:
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 Tbsp pulverized Tazo Vanilla Rooibos tea leaves, from about 3 tea bags (crushed with a mortar and pestle)
2/3 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
3 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon dried lavender blossoms
What you do:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Adjust oven rack to the middle position. Lightly grease three baking sheets (lining the baking sheet with parchment paper prevents sticking and makes cleanup much easier).
2. In a medium bowl, sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together; set aside. In a large bowl, whisk sugar and eggs to a light lemon color; stir in honey, vanilla extract, orange zest, and lavender blossoms.
3. Sprinkle dry ingredients over the egg mixture; fold in until the dough is just combines. To shape the dough into a log, lightly sprinkle flour on the work surface, on top of the dough, and on your hands. Use just enough flour to form a log and to prevent sticking.
4. Bake 25 minutes or until dough pops back up when lightly pressed with a finger. (After dough has baked 10 minutes, reverse cookie sheets from front to back and move from the top rack to the bottom one. Repeat this again after another 10 minutes). You can’t judge the cooking by the color. The biscotti shouldn’t change color during the second baking, so poke them to tell if they’re done. They should feel dry and offer some resistance. Remove from oven and cool 10 minutes on a wire rack. Reduce oven to 275 degrees F.
5. Using a long serrated knife, cut logs diagonally into 1/2-inch thick slices. Turn the slices over, onto their sides; return slices, on baking sheets, to oven. Bake another 15 minutes.
NOTE: Biscotti will continue to crisp up, as they cool, so do not be tempted to over bake. Remove from oven and cool completely on wire racks. Store biscotti in an airtight container. They will keep well for a few weeks.
Disclosure: Tazo provided me with the tea, a few brewing essentials and a grocery gift card to cover the cost of supplies for this project. Tazo did not tell me what to write here and the opinions in this post are 100% honest and accurate.