Cranberry Almond Biscotti

biscottiThese were the first biscotti I learned to make. Since then I’ve adapted this recipe to make several other flavors, so feel free to experiment! For bakers in Japan, these cookies are terrific because they use oil instead of butter.

Ingredients
2 tbsp olive oil
6 tbsp sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp almond extract
1 egg
1 cup flour
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/3 cup almonds, chopped (50g or 1.75 oz)
1/4 cup dried cranberries, chopped

Instructions

Mix olive oil, sugar, vanilla, and almond extract in a bowl. Add egg and mix well. Add flour, salt, and baking powder and mix until combined. Batter may be thick. Add almonds and cranberries and mix until evenly spread through the batter.

Spread batter onto a baking sheet in a log shape, about 30cm / 12 in long and 12cm / 5 in wide. Bake at 150 C (300 F) for 35 minutes.

Remove from the oven and let cool for about 10 minutes. Slice diagonally with a sharp knife. You can make them as thin or thick as you like, but if they are too thin they tend to break in half, so be careful.

Lay the sliced biscotti on their sides, and bake again at 130 C (275 F) for 10 to 15 minutes until dry.

Traditionally, biscotti are eaten dipped into tea, coffee, cocoa, or wine, but they are also delicious on their own.

As I mentioned, you can make almost unlimited flavors of biscotti. Here are some of the combinations I have tried myself (but I have lots of other ideas, so be creative!). I think it’s best to have some kind of nut for the crunch, and I usually use dried fruit. You can add a citrus flavor with fresh orange or lemon zest. Some people also put chocolate in the batter or dip the bottom of the finished biscotti in chocolate, but I haven’t tried it.

– almond
– almond/cranberry
– almond/orange
– blueberry/lemon/lavender/walnut
– pistachio/cranberry
– banana walnut

Corn Chowder

When I was in university, one particular place on campus served a great corn chowder every Wednesday, and I made sure to be there at lunchtime once a week to get my soup, because it was so delicious. They used an herb that I couldn’t identify until I went home and smelled everything in my cabinet. It turned out to be thyme, and since then I have always added it to my corn chowder!

Ingredients
3-4 strips bacon (optional – leave out for vegetarian version)
1 small onion, chopped
1 medium potato, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 can corn, undrained (400g / 14oz)
1 chicken or vegetable bouillon cube
1/3 cup hot water
1/2 tsp thyme
1-1/2 cups milk
2 tbsp flour
salt & pepper to taste

Instructions

Cut bacon into strips and cook in a saucepan. When the fat starts to render, add the chopped onion and cook together. (If omitting bacon, start with the onion and a little vegetable oil.)

Add potatoes, corn, bouillon, hot water, and thyme. Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes, or until potatoes are tender.

Add 1-1/4 cups milk. Whisk the remaining 1/4 cup milk with 2 tbsp flour until smooth, then add into soup. Stir over medium heat until thickened.

We sometimes like to top this soup with chopped green onions and shredded cheddar cheese.