cookie time: almond biscotti

Almond biscotti: practically a starbucks common place at this point.  But in some ways, the more common something is, the more impressive it is to make yourself, right?  Bread?  Whatever, the Vons loaves they have at 5pm are fresh and cheap and actually pretty good.  But bread-making, which basically involves tossing flour, water, and some yeast together and then hitting it really hard, seems like an extraordinary domestic feat.  Same thing with making iced coffee, or doughnuts, or cheese.  But such is the cooking-phobic world in which we live.  Unless you are depending on cookies as the cupcakes of the future, ignoring all signs that people are starting to prefer fried dough, with bacon.  But grad students are used to desperate, sub-prime risks, and so an investment in cookie preparation seemed reasonable.

So I made smitten kitchen’s almond biscotti (minus, OF COURSE, the orange liqueur).  They are very simple to make, except that you have to shape them into thin loaves, cook them partially, and *then* cut them into biscotti shape before the final bake.  Their recipe, which I won’t repeat here, calls for a fair amount of butter.  This has helped me really appreciate the versatility of butter.  Ok, yes, it make stuff taste good.  But it’s more than that.  In baking recipes, it produces fluffiness, lightness, flavor, longevity, and texture that no other ingredient could provide.  I love making vegan desserts, but butter has a unique and special place in cookie baking, and baking in general.  I’m sure ‘science’ will back me up.  So, I understand how not having butter could drive people crazy, like not having salt or something.

here are my pictures; not as good as SK’s I know, but I try my best, damn it, I give it my best

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