NUT, SEED & RAISIN BISCOTTI…Preciously jewelled cookies!

“Every oak tree started out as a couple of nuts who decided to stand their ground.”
Unknown

Doing rounds of blogs is never easy when you have to run a regular life too, full of routine stuff like laundry, grocery & school trips galore. Junior goes to a new grade in another week, so half the days were scheduled with PTA’s, orientations, new books & uniforms etc. The past week has been even more hectic with the kids at home (Spring Break), & I’ve had little or no time to blog hop. One blog that I often attempt to stop at is Heidi @ 101 Cookbooks because it’s always got some path breaking stuff that you get hypnotized to try. The pictures are mesmerising, & the gentle persuasive nature of her posts have you literally eating off her blog. The ‘Nut & Seed Biscotti or jewelled biscotti was such one case which I chanced by about a month ago. Heidi posted a ‘cracker’ of a biscotti, the ‘Nut & Seed’ Biscotti which looked very pretty & maybe easy to slice thin, or so I thought. Should have known better, because nuts are nuts after all, but she had me chopping the nuts of my bookmarked recipe at a frantic pace the next morning after the kids left for school. The recipe itself is simple & ‘packed with nuts’…very jewel studded indeed, like the Queen’s crown. However, it wasn’t as simple to slice thinly as the jewels had a mind of their own. I managed fairly well, but didn’t get anywhere close to the thin, gorgeous slices that Heidi did. Maybe it was because I added raisins too, or my knife wasn’t good enough, or the loaf was undercooked, though it tested done. As Helen says in the recipe “Bake for 45-50 minutes – or until the loaf tests done. If you under-cook the loaf at this stage, it makes slicing difficult.” I shall definitely give this a try again as it was deliciously studded & very YUM! Healthy & hugely successful with the kids too.
My nut mixture was a blend of 1 cup lightly toasted almonds, 1/3 cup each of lightly toasted pistachio nuts, and pumpkin seeds, and 1/2 a cup each of green & black raisins. We don’t get wholewheat pastry flour here, so I used a third cup of oatmeal flour. NUT, SEED & RAISIN BISCOTTI
adapted from 101 Cookbooks
Ingredients:
1 cup plain flour
1/3 cup oatmeal flour
2 cups mixed nuts,raisins etc (almonds, pistachio nuts, pumpkins seeds, green & black raisins)
1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
2 large eggs
2/3 cup light brown sugar, fine grain
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Method:

  • Preheat oven to 150C. Lightly butter or oil a 1-pound loaf pan and line with parchment paper.
  • Combine the flour, nuts and salt in a medium bowl and set aside. In a separate large bowl whisk together eggs and sugar.
  • Add the flour-nut mixture to the egg mixture and stir until combined. The dough will be quite thick. Scoop into the prepared pan and press the dough into place using damp fingertips.
  • Make sure everything is nice and compact, level on top, with no air bubbles. (I sprinkled some left over oatmeal flour on top).
  • Bake for 45-50 minutes – or until the loaf tests done. If you under-cook the loaf at this stage, it makes slicing difficult.
  • Remove loaf from the oven, and turn the oven up to 220C.
  • Immediately run a sharp knife around the perimeter of the loaf, remove it from pan, and set the loaf upside down on a cutting board. Using a thin serrated knife (or the thinnest, sharpest knife you have), slice the loaf into 1/4-inch thick slices.
  • Place the slices on a baking sheet. brush tops with a bit of olive oil and bake for 3-4 minutes or until the bottoms are a touch golden and toasty. Pull them out of the oven, flip each one, and brush the other side with olive oil. Bake for another 4-5 minutes or until nice and crisp. Let cool.
  • Makes 1 1/2 – 2 dozen.

Another recipe for Bookmarked Recipes, an event started by Ruth @ Ruth’s Kitchen Experiments. This week’s host is Laurie @ Mediterranean Cooking in Alaska.

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SAFFRON PISTACHIO YOGURT ICE-CREAM…Happy IWD

“I’d much rather be a woman than a man. Women can cry, they can wear cute clothes, and they’re the first to be rescued off sinking ships”
Gilda Radner
This frozen dessert came out more beautifully than I thought it would. I have been meaning to post it for a bit, but something or the other kept cropping up. The hub sang praises with every spoonful, & no, not because he wanted another helping, but because he truly enjoyed the flavours. Saffron & pistachio compliment each other perfectly, in colour & in soul! It was more creamier than I imagined it would be, it did have a slight tartness of yogurt which added to it’s refreshing taste. The chopped pistachios folded in towards the end gave added texture to this lively & low fat ice-cream. I created a saffron caramel sauce to go with it. It had a delicate saffron fragrance, & paired with it beautifully.
Frozen yogurt is a refreshing, tangy dessert that combines the flavors and textures of ice cream and sherbet. Frozen yogurt is a relative new-comer in the dessert market. The history of frozen desserts dates back thousands of years to Asia where water ices were first made. Although Roman literature describes how the Emperor Nero was treated to exotic fruit juices and wines chilled with mountain snow, it was not until the 13th century that Marco Polo introduced Asian water ices to Italy. The popularity of these frozen desserts spread throughout Europe and within a few centuries, European colonists introduced ice cream in the U.S. This post is out for International Women’s Day today. For all those wonderful bloggers who make our world better everyday. For the men too, but today, especially for the women. I can name a few to begin with, & could go on & on. A few who come to my mind as I write
  • Amy @ Familia Bencomo…my first blog girlfriend who I met over Serendipity & her contest just a year ago. She’s gotten busy so doesn’t blog much, but we catch up on facebook now & then.
  • The Food Blogga gal, Susan, who amazes me with every post, but amazes me even more by reaching out to me from time to time with a mail to keep in touch. Susan…am lagging behind to. Have your mail in my things-to-do folder Susan.
  • Purnima @ Fantasy Cookblog who is my special friend in Kuwait, generous with words & praise, who constantly makes so much off my blog. The good thing is that I get a picture & am email from her the instant she tries a recipe.
  • Diva @ Sugarbar…a complete mad-hatter who always racing around with unbounded spirit; a sweetheart!
  • My new friend Kilvy (Vasiliki Karyda) in Munich who has been cooking since she was 5. Following my blog, among many others, she’s now very inspired to begin her own blog, & I’m trying to lend her a hand.
  • Meeta, whose was one of the first blogs I discovered, & was very charmed by her blog name What’s For Lunch Honey? Never has a lunch gone without that scream passing through my head ‘What’s for lunch honey?’
  • Nic who I met at Cherrapeno last year & we hit it off instantly. That girl is talented, that girl is fun & that girl is generous beyond words.
  • Dear dear Helene @ La Cuisine Helene who bought me a bag of chocolate chips on reading in a post sometime back that we don’t get chocolate chips here.
  • Hanaa @ Hanaa’s Kitchen who is also another new blogpal. Thrilled to learn yesterday that our wedding anniv falls on the same day!!
  • Nachiketa @ The Variable who can talk non-stop for hours, who has infectious levels of excietment & foodie enthusiasm.
  • Val @ More Than Burnt Toast, Ivy @ Kopiaste, & Giz @ Equal Opportuniy Kitchen, the 3 superwomen, 3 amazing bloggers who are doing a wonderful job with Blogger Aid. A GREAT initiative!!
  • Good ole Arundati @ Escapades who fun-lovingly takes all my nudges & banter, & has successfully been able to grow basil from the seeds I mailed her. So what if she killed them a couple of times…
  • Arfi @ Homemades who lives in paradise & makes the most of it. She is brilliant with her camera, her foodie creations, & has a BIG heart too!
  • Aran @ Canelle et Vanille, Helen @ Tartlette & Vera @ Baking Obsession…I know that each visit is going to be a virtual treat with unlimited eye candy unlimited, refreshing ideas & pictures to swoon over.
  • …& so many many more great women. Happy IWD to all of you!!

Inspired by Meeta’s last Daring Bakers post of Saffron Coconut Ice-cream, I set off to make this. It was one that I just couldn’t shake off my mind. SAFFRON PISTACHIO YOGURT ICE-CREAM
My recipe
Ingredients:
Hung yogurt (out of 1 1/4 ltrs of yogurt)
1 1/2 cups low fat cream
1 – 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
A good pinch of safrom
1/2 cup of pistachio nuts, chopped
Saffron Caramel & pistachios for garnishing

Method:

  • Take 1/4 cup of the cream, add the saffron to it, & microwave it for 30 seconds. Leave to cool & for the flavours to mature for at least 30 minutes.
  • Beat the hung yogurt till smooth. It should be nice & thick, & hold peaks. Add the cream, the saffron cream, the sugar & beat well. Taste & adjust sweetness if required.
  • Put into a freezer box & beat every hour to distribute the crystals. ( You lucky ones with ice-cream machines, just carry on to the last step…)
  • After about 4-5 hours, when it’s beginning to get nice & thick, fold the chopped pistachios through & leave it to set for another 4-5 hours, preferably overnight.
  • For the Saffron Caramel Sauce, I simmered some caramel from my jar in the fridge with a good pinch of saffron for 2-3 minutes. then I just left it to cool for about an hour for the flavours to steep.
  • Remove the ice-cream to the fridge an hour before serving, drizzle with saffron caramel sauce, top with chopped pistachios & a few stands of saffron. ENJOY!!
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