Monday, April 20, 2015

Lemon Lovers Biscotti

By now everyone is familiar with biscotti- the anise flavored, twice baked, hard as a rock, perfect for dipping companion to a strong cup of coffee. There was a time when you couldn't go into any coffee spot without being confronted by a large cookie canister filled with over sized biscotti standing at attention. In my time as a baker I must have made a million of them, give or take. And It wasn't long before I felt the need to experiment. White chocolate ginger biscotti, anyone?

These biscotti are all well and good, but not everyone is a fan of the monster size and jaw cracking texture.  The truth is, there's a whole other school of thought which touts a softer biscotti that's still suitable for the side of your cup.

That's where I'm coming from with these Lemon Lover's Biscotti, made especially for this month's Sourdough Surprise. The addition of almond flour and the lack of a second baking resulting in a softer texture. While sourdough starter, lemon rind and a lemon glaze land a tangy burst of flavor.  Made in a smaller or demi version, it's perfectly acceptable to have more than one, or more than two or three!

lemon lovers biscotti

1 stick butter
1/2 cup organic cane sugar
1 egg
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup almond flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup starter
rind of one lemon

1 cup confectioners' sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice (or enough to achieve a thin glaze)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream butter in a stand mixer; add sugar and egg.  Mix on medium, scraping the bowl as necessary until all is combined.

Stir together flour, almond flour and baking powder; add to butter mixture on low speed and mix to combine.  Add starter and lemon rind and mix just enough to form dough. 

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Scrap out about 1 cup of dough; form into a thick log. Place log in the middle of one long side of baking pan.  Work the log from the middle out to either end until it's 1 X 12 inches.  Repeat with the rest of the dough.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden around the edges and firm to the touch on top.  Cool completely.

In a medium bowl stir lemon juice into confectioners' to form a thin glaze. Pour over tops of biscotti log and spread with a spatula cover.

Slice biscotti on the diagonal with a serrated knife into 3/4 inch cookies. Makes about 40 cookies.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Baked Penne

Sometimes you need a good, cheesy pasta dish that's easy to put together, feeds a crowd (or a couple of hungry people), tastes amazing and qualifies for Meatless Monday. This Baked Penne is just that. Go heavy on the broccoli and light on the cheese and this is a healthy, no guilt, indulgent dinner. Bonus points for using whole wheat pasta.

baked penne

2 cups whole wheat penne
1 head broccoli florets, cut into bite size pieces (about 5 cups)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onions
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon oregano
1 15 ounce can tomato sauce
2 tablespoons tomato paste
3/4 cup ricotta cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella

Steam broccoli until tender but still firm. Rinse in cold water and set aside. Cook pasta according to package instructions until al dente. Stir ricotta cheese into pasta and set aside.

Heat oil in a medium pot on medium high heat; add onion and cook until translucent.  Add garlic and oregano; cook one minute more. Stir in tomato sauce and tomato paste and heat through.

Preheat oven to  350 degrees. In an oven-proof baking dish layer sauce, pasta, broccoli and cheeses. (I got 2 layers, starting with sauce and ending with cheese.) Place baking dish on a cookie tray. Bake for 25 minutes. 

All this and a can of tomato sauce.