November 3, 2009

Maple Walnut Biscotti

When I'm sad, I bake. Stressed? Bake. Bored? Bake. Overwhelmed? Anxious? Happy? Bake, bake, bake and then bake some more. The comforting task of measuring ingredients and knowing that it's going to turn into something delicious helps to center me. Life might be spinning out of my control, but in my little red kitchen I can create something that makes my house smell great and makes my husband smile.

On Sunday night, our family lost a great woman. Alex's grandmother died and we all feel her loss very deeply. Omi was one of a kind; totally unique and an absolute original - and she loved showing her individuality. She lived a really rich life, full of art, travel, family and good food (she loved dessert) and I am so fortunate to have been given nearly 10 years with her. I'm not sure if she would have liked this biscotti flavor, but I like to think that she would have tried it anyways - just to tell me what she thought of the recipe.

adapted from Dorie Greenspan
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 tsp maple flavoring
3/4 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat the oven to 350. In stand mixer cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla.

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and cornmeal and add to the stand mixer. Mix until it's just incorporated, not too much! Fold in the walnuts by hand.

Scrape half the dough onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Using a spatula and your fingers, form the dough into a log, 12 inches long and 1 1/2 inches wide. Repeat with the second portion of the dough. It helps to wet your hands before and during, since the dough is sticky.

Bake at 350 for 15 minutes or until the logs are light golden but still soft to the touch. Let cool for 30 minutes but keep the oven on.

With a long serrated knife cut 3/4 inch slices diagonally from each log and stand them up, spaced slightly apart, on the baking sheet. Return to the oven for another 15 minutes until firm and golden. Store airtight for up to 2 weeks.