Thursday, July 5, 2012

TWD: Hazelnut Biscotti

Hello from London! It is hard to believe, but after much planning (not enough) and a lot of insanity (due to the lack of planning), my life in London has begun.
Here is my new residence! (at least for the next 3 months until my boyfriend and dog come to join me)
I’ve been here for about a week and a half now and have almost completed my first full week of work! Everyone has been very, very nice and even though it has been a bit overwhelming with how much I am trying to absorb in a short amount of time, it has been nice to feel like I am an essential part of a team again.
The hardest thing, I think, is that when I am really stressed out I bake – or cook – but mostly bake, and that has been fairly difficult. It has been a long, long time since I have had to start a pantry from scratch and an even longer time since I have been almost completely equipment-less.
The gentleman I am lodging with is the very definition of a consummate bachelor. (I found a pot of cream in his fridge that was a few months old and, according to his daughters, his mom still cooks a lot of his meals). Needless to say, there is no standing mixer in his kitchen, or cookie sheets, or even any real mixing bowls. I anticipated a bit – bringing my toolkit from the home stocked full of whisks, spatulas, my knives, and a scale – but what I didn’t anticipate was my sheet pans not actually fitting in his oven.
What this meant was, for my first Tuesdays with Dorie recipe in the UK, I had to do much, much more advanced preparation than normal. My scale broke, so I had to go find a kitchen shop that sold digital scales (I hadn’t thought to bring cup measurements). Thankfully a friend here gave me a cookie sheet that she doesn’t use. It only took two grocery stores to find hazelnuts (the ricotta for some homemade gnocchi was much harder).
So, after many, many bus and tube trips around my little area of northwest London, I managed to make the biscotti. And they have been very well received. Both the gentleman and his 23 year old daughter who is visiting have enjoyed multiple pieces. And even though I don’t normally eat very much that I bake, I have eaten a few pieces myself with cups of tea at work.
I think I can safely say that these are easy to make, given that I could accomplish them even with almost no equipment. Though I will say that peeling the hazelnuts was a bit time consuming.
I didn’t add any alcohol – I wasn’t going to go out and buy hazelnut liquor just for 2 tablespoons – and I think it actually helped cut the sweetness in the finished cookies, though they still did taste very, very nutty. Also, for fun, I drizzled some of the cookies with some 70% melted chocolate. Not too much (didn’t want to dip) but I thought it would add a little more dimension to the flavor.
If you would like full recipe, please head over to HomemadeAndWholesome or BakingAndBoys! (who also fantastically drizzled them in chocolate)
Next week, a catch up recipe! Probably the Hungarian Shortbread… and a bit more on London life.