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Tuesday, August 09, 2011
A love letter to my Nespresso machine (and a recipe for biscotti)
My darling Nespresso,
When we were first introduced I was really quite hesitant. You seemed so phony and unsophisticated (trust me, this letter gets better). How could you give me what I really needed, how did I know what you had to offer was real?
I had been hurt in the past. My previous commitment had left me luke-warm and flaky. My only other option was to turn to the evil Big Daddy down the street. He was inconsistent and dark, too dark for me but I had no place else to go.
So when you came into my life, all vintage-y cream and silver like, thinking that you were all that and a bag of chips, I was hesitant. You were so suave and said I could call you anytime and you would be there for me overnight. How could I believe that you could fully commit yourself to me so quickly.
But then. Oh, but then. You offered yourself to me in perfect portions, and you let me decide how much I wanted each day. Your milk, so smooth (or frothy, depending on what I wanted). I could have you hot, I could have you cold. You left it in my hands.
I could decide how strong I wanted you every day. Sometimes I like it when you're a little weak, sometimes I like it when you're strong. But no matter what I do to you, your performance is always flawless. And for that, I love you.
Disclaimer: this is NOT an advertisement. Nespresso has no idea who I am and I'm pretty sure they never will. I just have an unnatural attachment to my coffee machine and I had to tell the whole world (or the 20 people that read this thing). the end.
Inspired by Food Blogga
1 cup of whole plain almonds (unsalted)
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp baking powder
3 - 3 1/2 cups flour
3 medium eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract (go on, use the good stuff!)
1 tsp orange flower water*
- Preheat oven to 350*F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a small bowl lightly beat one egg and set aside. In a dry pan, tip in the almonds into a single layer and roast over low heat until fragrant, about 10 minutes. This is a simple step but please don't overlook it! It really enhances the flavor of the almonds and gives them some depth.
- In a large bowl combine the toasted almonds, sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, baking powder and 3 cups of flour.
- In a medium bowl whisk together the eggs, vanilla and orange blossom extract until combined. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir together. You may need to get in there with your hands at the end to get it to form into dough. Add remaining 1/2 cup of flour if needed, the dough should be sticky but you should be able to form it into a ball without falling into pieces.
- Divide the dough into two pieces and form each piece into a log, approximately 3" x 12" and brush the tops with the egg wash that was previously prepared. If you want smaller pieces of biscotti, break the dough into three or even four pieces and use two baking sheets.
- Bake in the over for 35-40 minutes until the tops are golden on top and are set all the way through. The dough should still be slightly soft in the middle. Cool on a wire rack until they are cool enough to handle. One loaf at a time, move to a cutting board and slice with a serrated knife on an angle (if you want to be fancy). Make sure you slice while the loaves are still warm, but cool enough to touch.
- Take the sliced pieces and lay out on their sides onto two baking sheets, be careful not to cram too many on to one sheet! Turn off the oven and put the sheets back in for 40-60 minutes. The longer you leave the biscotti in the warm oven the crisper they will become! I left mine in there for over an hour (oops!) and they are perfectly crunchy - though you definitely need a cup of coffee to enjoy them at their best! I suggest leaving them in there for 30-40 minutes if you like a slightly softer biscotti.
- If you want to get fancy, melt some chocolate in the microwave in 30 second bursts until smooth and drizzle over the cooled, sliced biscotti. Or dunk the biscotti in the chocolate to get more of the sweet stuff and leave to dry on parchment paper.
- If you don't have or can't find Orange Flower Water you can use almond or orange extract, use slightly less depending on how concentrated they are. Otherwise, you can omit this completely and they will still taste great!
- Get creative! Feel free to substitute your favorite nuts, and even add some dried fruit or chocolate chips!