Almond biscotti

Kirstin may soon be rocking the suburbs.

A bittersweet turn of events, I was offered a job with mediocre wages and fantastic benefits. Mom was so pleased to hear that her daughter will no longer be uninsured (take that, expensive private health insurance!). That’s sweet. Bitter is having to figure out what to do about my fun-paid internship that I only started three weeks ago.

The D.C. suburbs, where I may soon be working, they’re a strange thing. For one thing, D.C.’s suburbs exist outside of the actual district, in Maryland and Virginia. Sort of like how New Jersey is a suburb for Philadelphia and NYC (don’t deny it, what other major metropolitan city do you have, Jersey?).

Another thing is how incredibly well-tuned these suburbs are to encourage long commutes. Ungodly long commutes. The metro stops get farther and farther between each other and instead of dropping you off in the middle of a bustling city center, Starbucks and hip lounges at your fingers tips, they drop you at “transit centers.” Get off the metro, get on a bus. Get off the metro, find your car in a vast parking lot, and drive. Those are your only options (unless you happen to be one of the strange group of people I encountered who got on at one metro stop, going toward the end of line, and got off at the next to run into the metro that was waiting to go back in the opposite direction…? Please someone explain that logic to me!).

My option, me-without-wheels, is the Fairfax Connector. Red and yellow buses with flashing route numbers that range from 101 to 980 meant to drag commuters even farther away from the walkable urban life I’m used to. Metros are predictable, buses are not. After my (apparently successful) job interview, I had another 1 1/2 journey back home.

Note to self: To survive ridiculous new commutes, snacks are a necessity.

(and maybe a book too)

In my opinion, a good biscotti recipe is hard to come by. The dough has to be easy enough to work with so that it bakes properly the first time, making it slice-able and ready to bake for a second time. In the past, I’ve ended up with a pile of crumbs trying to achieve the perfect diagonal biscotti shape, but believe me, readers, this recipe works. The only finicky parts about this recipe are beating the sugar and egg long enough to get the right consistency (just keep going, but don’t let your stand mixer almost fall off your table, it scoots if you’re not watching it) and making sure to dry them out enough with the second trip to the oven. Don’t be scared to bake it longer than the recipe calls for, because different variables can affect how long your biscotti will need to cook.

– Almond biscotti – adapted from Italian Dessert Recipes
Yields about 8 biscotti
1/2 cup roasted almonds, chopped
1/3 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp almond extract
1/2 tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
7/8 cups flour (approx 115 grams, or 14 tbsp)

Lemon & white chocolate glaze (optional):
juice of half a large lemon
1/3 cup powdered sugar
2 tbsp white chocolate chips

– Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat egg and sugar on medium speed for about five minutes until thick and ribbony (mixture should drizzle off the beater in a smooth, continuous line when you lift it up). Stir in almond extract. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in separate bowl. Add dry ingredients to egg mixture and sitr to combine. Fold in almond pieces. (You should have something that’s closer to a dough than to a batter, add a bit more flour if your mixture is too sticky and runny)
– Form a log on a baking sheet that’s covered in parchment paper or a silpat. Bake for about 25-27 minutes, or until log is firm and lightly browned.
– Prepare glaze, if you like. Combine lemon juice, powdered sugar, and white chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave for about 10-15 seconds at a time on medium power, stirring each time, until glaze is smooth.
– Reduce oven to 325 degrees and let log cool for about ten minutes. Cut into biscotti shapes (on a diagonal, about 3/4 inch wide) and return to baking sheet, cut side down. Bake for 10 minutes. Flip biscotti to other side and bake for an additional 10 minutes, or however long it takes to dry them out. (Mine needed 30 minutes total)
– Let biscotti cool before glazing.

Dunk into your favorite cup of coffee and pretend you’re sitting at a chic Italian cafe.

Ciao, darlings!