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Posted on Thu, Sep 3, 2009 : 8 a.m.

"You Should Only Be Happy" ... dunking biscotti

By Mary Bilyeu

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Bilyeu "You Should Only Be Happy" Stone
The High Holidays -- Rosh Hashanah (New Year) and Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) -- are fast (too fast!) approaching; and those of us who are either Jewish or who have connections to the Jewish community are feeling the pressure. I still have to bake my round challah with raisins and sesame seeds (symbolic of hopes for a sweet and bountiful new year), which I only do annually. I have to find and clean the adorable little dish that’s shaped like a hive with a bumblebee on it, which serves the traditional apples and honey.
Bilyeu Cappuccino Biscotti.JPG
I don’t know what else I’ll be serving at my Rosh Hashanah dinner, but it’s a given that the main course will be my beloved Cider Chicken - chicken braised in apple cider, herbes de Provence and Dijon mustard. It will all come together, as it always does for any holiday … but I can feel a few more grey hairs popping out as I contemplate it all!

So, given that I work within the Jewish community in addition to celebrating the holidays myself (admittedly in a mostly secular fashion - I’m all about the food!), there have been increasingly long hours and progressively more stressful days at work as the countdown continues. Lunch - is there such a thing? Time to talk when my son calls me during the day? Yeah, right! A few moments to catch up with my co-workers in the morning? Only between rings of the intercom and the phone, and only if I can find them behind the piles of paperwork we each have on our desks. So what’s a girl to do to cope with it all???

Bake. Some people relax with massages, others eat ice cream, some get ornery and vent … and I bake. Reading recipes helps me to focus and to weed out distractions. The aroma of cookies or muffins or cupcakes is immensely comforting. And then - best of all! - there are goodies to eat and to share. So, last night I indulged myself in a little therapy session … I baked biscotti to bring to work today.

These biscotti are pareve (pronounced “pahrv”), which means that they’re neither meat nor dairy; therefore, they can be served at any meal at any time of day without worrying about mixing the two food groups. (In accordance with the laws of Kashrut, the dietary laws: “Thou shalt not boil a kid in its mother’s milk.” -- Exodus 23:19.) But you’d never know from the richness of the semi-sweet chocolate or the hint of cinnamon that these are not only dairy-free, but they also have the redeeming health benefit of whole wheat flour.

The High Holidays are getting ever-closer … I should start taking requests from my co-workers for the next two weeks’ worth of baking projects!

Bilyeu Dunking Biscotti.JPG

Cappuccino Biscotti

1 cup flour 1 cup whole wheat flour 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 1/2 teaspoon baking powder 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt 1 teaspoon cinnamon 1/3 cup strong coffee, cooled (plus more, if needed) 1 egg 1 tablespoon vanilla extract 2/3 cup pecans, chopped 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips 1 tablespoon Earth Balance butter substitute

Preheat oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with greased foil or with a Silpat. In a large bowl, combine the flour, whole wheat flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. In a measuring cup, combine the coffee, egg and vanilla; pour liquid over the dry ingredients and combine well. Stir in the pecans. If the dough will not bind and is too dry, sprinkle on just a bit more coffee.

Lightly flour the countertop, and knead the dough briefly until it’s not sticky. Cut the dough in half and form each piece into a log 2” wide. Place onto the baking sheet and flatten the logs slightly.

Bake for 30 minutes, then let the logs rest for 10 minutes. Slice the logs diagonally, either discarding or nibbling on the ends. Place the slices onto their sides on the baking sheet, and bake for 6 minutes per side. Let cool.

Melt the chocolate and the “butter” together, and place into a freezer baggie (they’re sturdier than sandwich baggies). Snip off a small corner, then drizzle the chocolate onto the biscotti. Let the chocolate set, then serve.

Mary Bilyeu has won or placed in more than 60 cooking contests and writes about her adventures as she tries to win prizes, feeds hungry teenagers and other loved ones, and generally just has fun in the kitchen. The phrase "You Should Only Be Happy" (written in Hebrew on the stone pictured next to the blog's title) comes from Deuteronomy 16:15, and is a wish for all her readers as they cook along with her ... may you always be happy here!


Mary Bilyeu

Thu, Sep 3, 2009 : 11:42 a.m.

Hi, Jen -- I had thought I might need to make some of these without the chocolate drizzle, because of a friend's dairy allergy; I wasn't sure they'd actually be fully pareve when I started. I've been told that Trader Joe's sells pareve chocolate chips, but they weren't open at 11 p.m. when I was baking! But, lo and behold, my generic Kroger brand chips were labelled "parve" -- who knew??? And the Earth Balance "butter" is the best substitute I've found yet (after exhaustive trials), both in terms of how it works in the recipe and how it tastes. It's still not REAL butter, but it's not bad!

Jennifer Shikes Haines

Thu, Sep 3, 2009 : 11:28 a.m.

I'm a big biscotti girl, too. I'm making two batches next week for someone who "won" me via a fundraiser at Community. They are, indeed, comfort food and very therapeutic to make! I love your recipe, Mary, especially the hint for keeping this pareve.

Mary Bilyeu

Thu, Sep 3, 2009 : 11:09 a.m.

Thank you, Peggy! I was already talking to Jeremy this morning about how I was going to do the chicken and post about it -- I want to share it before Rosh Hashanah in case anyone decides to make it for the holiday (which I highly recommend; I would say it's one of my specialties, and it won a prize from Empire Poultry several years ago). So I plan to make it early, photograph it, share the recipe, then freeze it for some blizzardy day in January; then I'll make a batch for my holiday dinner on the 19th, because part of the festivity is having the house smell wonderful as it cooks!

Peggy Lampman

Thu, Sep 3, 2009 : 10:38 a.m.

Oh Yum! Looks fabulous! I hope you'll share you're chicken in cider recipe with mouth waters to even think about it! Peggy