Lavender and Lemon Biscotti
Wishing all my followers and friends a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
As Edna Ferber, a famous novelist and playwright quoted ” Christmas isn’t a season. It’s a feeling.” She was so right. Whether you celebrate Christmas as a religious festival or just as a festive holiday, the whole world gets encompassed in this joyful event. Its a reminder that good can prevail over evil, giving to others is a joy, we all can coexist together in peace and harmony. Come December and people appear more happy, more at peace, more forgiving. January is different, we all return to reality, sadness, daily life struggles, evilness around, hate, war and general gloom.
The last theme for 2018, Fruits and Flowers was suggested by Priya Iyer who blogs at The World Through My Eyes. Check out her posts on the resurgence of millets in my plate and her restaurant review on Rajdhani’s Swad Kesariya.
Just recently I had done a post on rose flavored mini cupcakes so I didn’t want to use rose again. It took me a while to decide what I was going to use when suddenly I remembered I had a small tin of dried Provencal Lavender in my fridge. I thought I had left it in Montreal but am glad I found it in my fridge. Must say the small tin was lightly expensive but hubby happily indulgences me as I don’t spend on fancy clothes or jewelry. Whenever we travel I have two wishes, one to be able to buy special ingredients or props and travel business class whenever possible. I can sacrifice Gucci bags and Versace sunglasses for a good comfortable seat on the plane.
Coupled with the theme and my daughter’s request to bake some cookies for her take back to Dubai, I decided to strike one more item form my long list of ‘to try’ and decided to add lavender to biscotti. How often do 3 wants or wishes come together beautifully all wrapped in one?
What are biscotti? Never say ‘biscottis’ as biscotti is the plural of biscotto. These twice baked, crunchy, dry oblong bakes are originally from the city Prato. Almonds and pine nuts were added to these bakes which had no butter or rising agents and was used as travel food by the Romans. They were traditionally enjoyed dipped in Vin Santo a sweet dessert wine.
Modern time biscotti are different. Baking agents, yeast, eggs are added to make them crunchy and crispy and not hard as rock. Nowadays instead of the tradition almond and pine nuts, other interesting ingredients are used like spices, dried fruits, other nuts, chocolates, liqueurs, exotic flavors and zests. These days its common to find biscotti served with black coffee, expresso or other coffees.
Shhhh, let’s not let the Italians know that as I’m typing this post I’m enjoying a biscotto dipped not in coffee or sweet wine but tea!
NB: This year, FoodieMonday/Bloghop has decided to take a break for the first time ever since it started, next Monday there will be no post so see you all in 2019.
LAVENDER AND LEMON BISCOTTI
Makes about 12-14 depending on how big the logs are
2¼ cups plain flour (all purpose flour)
1½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
2-3 tsp dried lavender buds
2 tbsp lemon zest (lemon rind)
100g butter, soft
¾ cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs
- Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together in a bowl.
- Add lavender buds and lemon zest and mix well.
- Add sugar and butter in another bowl.
- Cream the mixture till it becomes soft and creamy.
- Add vanilla extract and one egg. Whisk the mixture to incorporate the egg into it.
- Add the remaining egg and whisk.
- Add the flour mixture and bring the dough together into a ball.
- At this stage the dough will be a bit sticky and soft. Let the dough rest for 10-15 minutes.
- In the meantime preheat the oven to 180°C.
- Line a baking tray with parchment paper or grease it lightly with butter.
- Mix the dough into a ball and put it on the prepared tray.
- Shape it into a log about 10 inches long and 3 inches wide.
- Bake the dough for 20 minutes till it becomes crispy on top and is light golden in colour.
- Take the tray out of the oven and let the baked log cool down for 10-15 minutes.
- Cut the first slice in a slant and cut into slices using a sharp serrated knife. The slices should be about ¾inches thick.
- Arrange the slices with cut side up in the tray.
- Bake the biscotti for 20-25 minutes until they become crispy and light brown in colour.
- Let the biscotti cool on a wire rack. Store in an airtight container.
- Don’t over use the lavender buds. Your biscotti may taste like lavender soap.
- Use a sharp serrated knife otherwise the slices may not come out too nicely.
- You can replace the lavender and lemon with any other flavors you like.
- If you want to you can serve the biscotti with lemon glaze. Mix ½ cup icing sugar, 2 tbsp lemon juice, ¼ tsp lemon zest and mix it well. Drizzle it over the biscotti and serve.
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