Last night, I had biscotti for dinner. Not a biscotti after dinner. Nope, biscotti for dinner. I think I ate about five of 'em, gently dunking each one into an espresso. I'm not proud of it but I am strangely content about it. See, yesterday was another one of those court days. Court for immigration attorneys generally consists of two types of hearings- masters and individuals. Masters are basically a fast and painless check-in. On any given afternoon, there can easily be forty people in court for masters. Individual hearings are the real deal where the judge listens to the merits of your client's case.
I've always felt that masters are more relaxed than individual hearings. But after yesterday's masters, I may have changed my mind. See, yesterday I had eight master hearings. Eight! On average, an attorney will have one, maybe two, and maaaaaybe three masters if things are particularly busy. Eight is just nutty. I now know what Jon and Kate on Jon & Kate Plus 8 must feel like (minus the hundreds of helpful cast people, of course). This particular judge does a roll call for attorneys to ensure they are present with all of their clients. He (and the entire court) got a good laugh when I stood up and indicated that I was present with my eight clients.
So by the time I got home, I pretty much felt like a bus had rolled over me. Eight times. Oh, and don't worry, I looked it too. Somewhere between client four and five, my eyeliner started smudging so I was sporting the glamorous racoon-eye look. By client seven, my hair decided to rebel and do a Vanilla Ice thing on my head. And when I got back to the car and looked in the mirror, I noticed a giant yellow highlighter line on the side of my face (likely because I tend to wave my hands around crazily when I talk and sometimes, I forget that I'm holding a highlighter).
Simply put, it was a dessert for dinner night. Not the kind of night where you eat a healthy dinner and then have a delicate biscotti as dessert. Oh no, drastic times call for drastic measures. This was the kind of night where you build dinner around biscotti. Thankfully, I'd made some biscotti over the weekend and some were still around (partially, or mostly, because the hubster is still on his healthy kick). I did what any rational girl would do. First, put on pajamas. All the better if the pajamas all plastered with your favorite cartoon character (I am partial to SpongeBob SquarePants). Second, make espresso. You want it strong (unless coffee keeps you up at night. After years of drinking copious amounts of coffee, I'm essentially immune to all caffeine. If you're not, milk is a sufficient substitute). Third, take the container of biscotti and the espresso to your computer. Plates are merely superfluous at this point. Fourth, type http://www.perezhilton.com/ into your browser. Fifth, revel in the latest celebrity gossip while eating your biscotti.
Now that I have feeling in my brain again, I can talk about the intricacies behind the biscotti. Truth is, there are none. It's a rather simple recipe that will give you a giant batch of biscotti perfectly tailored to your preferences. Like the classic Italian anise flavor in your biscotti? Ground some anise seeds and throw them in the batter. Dream of a sophisticated biscotti perfect for the summer? Dump some grated lemon zest into the batter (save some zest for the topping). Want your biscotti to be a bit more cakey and not as crunchy? Bake for a shorter period of time after the biscotti are cut in pieces. Like different textures in your biscotti? Add chopped nuts or dried cranberries to your dough. Want to cover the entire biscotti in chocolate as opposed to just one half? Do it. You will be glad you did.
Yields: 2 dozen
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
dark or semi-sweet chocolate, for melting
almonds, finely chopped
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Line a heavy large baking sheet with parchment paper. Whisk the flour and baking powder in a medium bowl to blend. Using an electric mixer, beat the sugar, butter, and salt in a large bowl to blend. Beat in the eggs 1 at a time. Add the flour mixture and beat just until blended.
Form the dough into a 13-inch long, 3-inch wide log on the prepared baking sheet. Bake until light golden, about 40 minutes. Cool for 30 minutes.
Place the log on the cutting board. Using a sharp serrated knife, cut the log into 1/2 to 3/4-inch-thick slices. Arrange the biscotti, cut side down, on the baking sheet. Bake the biscotti until they are pale golden, about 15 minutes. Transfer the biscotti to a rack and cool completely.
Stir the chocolate in a bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water until the chocolate melts. Dip a portion of the biscotti into the melted chocolate. Gently shake off the excess chocolate. Place the biscotti on the baking sheet for the chocolate to set. Sprinkle with chopped almonds. Refrigerate until the chocolate is firm, about 35 minutes.
The biscotti can be made ahead. Store them in an airtight container up to 4 days, or wrap them in foil and freeze in resealable plastic bags up to 3 weeks.
Adapted from The Food Network