Monday, March 07, 2016

Creamy Coleslaw

Everyone knows I make "weird" coleslaw...and honestly I don't like "regular" coleslaw. But Ray does.  And one place I DO like it is on BBQ sandwiches.  We made these great BBQ Chicken Sliders, but they needed coleslaw to top.  So hence I found a coleslaw recipe I like.  This is nice and easy and means I have a "regular" recipe if necessary plus it tops my sliders.

Creamy Coleslaw
Modified from Taste of Home

1 pkg (14 oz) coleslaw mix
3/4 cup  mayonnaise
1/3 cup sour cream
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 tsp seasoned salt
1/2 tsp ground mustard
1/4 tsp celery salt

Place coleslaw mix in a large bowl. In small bowl, mix the remaining ingredients. Stir until well blended.  Pour over coleslaw mix and toss to coat. 

Serves 6.

Chocolate Chip Biscotti

This is my other "basic" biscotti recipe - the boys and Ray both really liked these.  They turned out well and are nice and easy. 

Chocolate Chip Biscotti
Modified from Brown Eyed Baker

1/4 cup butter (they said unsalted...I used regular butter, but I took out 1/4 tsp of salt for it)
1/4 cup shortening
3/4 cup sugar
3 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt (so the original recipe was 3/4 tsp)
3 cups flour
1 pkg (12 oz) semi-sweet chocolate chips (they said 1.5 cups...I just threw in a full bag)

Preheat to 375.  Line with parchment paper (I've actually been doing this on these recipes). 

In mixing bowl, cream the butter and shortening with sugar until lightly and fluffy.  Add eggs one at a time.  Beat in vanilla, baking powder and salt. Gradually add in flour until incorporated.  Finally, mix in chocolate chip cookies - I recommend doing this with your floured hands as dough is VERY stiff at this point.
 
Divide dough into two parts and shape each into a 12 inch log, about 3 inches wide.  Bake for 20-25 minutes or until lightly browned.  These will rise a little, but not much, so think about what your finished log to look like as you shape.  Let cool for about 20 minutes.  Reduce oven to 300.  Cut the log into 3/4 inch pieces with a serrated knife.  Return slices, cut side up, to baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes.  Turn them over and do bake for another 15 minutes.  Cool completely.
 
Makes about 3 dozen biscotti. 
 
My biggest "lesson" of the biscotti is that the shape of the log REALLY matters as that helps you get that crunchy final product you want.  You don't want large logs - you really do need to divide the logs. I'll probably always double this, but do it in 4-6 logs to make it easier to bake and then cut. 

Saturday, March 05, 2016

Brownie Biscotti


One of my current baking goals is biscotti. This isn't because I like it (I actually really don't...I like soft cookies), but because I think it will ship well.  One of my cousins is deployed currently and his mail is especially slow where he is.  These made it!  He even got to share these with some German soldiers.  So the first time I did biscotti, I felt it tasted good (that was the pumpkin pie biscotti and gingerbread biscotti), but the texture wasn't right. I have it now!  There definitely was a learning curve with this one!  I also think this is one where I started with "weird" versions and I needed to start with "basic." 

Brownie Biscotti

1 pkg fudge brownie mix
3/4 cup ground almonds (I bought a 6 oz bag of sliced almonds for a double batch and put them through the blender...it wasn't quite the 1 1/2 cups I needed so I topped it off with whole wheat flour)
1/2 cup flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1 egg plus 3 egg whites
1 tsp almond extract
 
In a large bowl, mixed the brownie mix, ground almonds, flour and baking powder.  In a small bowl, whisk egg, egg whites and extract.  Add to brownie mix, stir until combine (umm...yeah...this is hard...I did it with my hands and almost kneaded it).  Dough will eventually be sticky, at first it seems like you don't have enough liquid and so the "kneading" is what gets it to that right consistency. 

Divide dough into thirds and shape into rectangular logs (again this is STICKY...be prepared...some of the comments on the original recipe said they added flour...I actually just might flour my hands in the future).  Bake at 350 for 24 minutes (this sometimes needed a little more...just feel it and see).  Remove from oven and cool for a bit (what I did was let the first batch cool while I baked the second).  Then cut into 3/4 inch slices.  Place cut side down on baking sheets and bake for 12-14 minutes or until firm (this usually took me a little longer).  So with a double batch, I had two sheets of logs....so I did first baking on first, then cut and did second so they could cool quite a bit, which worked for me.  You want them to look dry - no moisture. 

Cool on wire racks.  These will harden as they cool, which they should do.  You want a "crunch" with biscotti. 
 
You can top with sliced almonds and melted white chocolate if you want. I didn't as I ship most of mine.
 
Makes 2.5 dozen. 
 
So what I don't like about this recipe is the "hidden" nuts.  This is mainly because I ship overseas and I can't just TELL people there are nuts in here even if you can't see them.  So I've been putting "allergy" stickers on these.  But I still don't like that. So I replaced ALL the ground almonds with whole wheat flour and it worked.  I was worried I'd lose consistency (as the ground almonds are moister), but it did fine.  You CAN taste what the almonds add and I think that's a better recipe, but I also think that the plain is still good.  Both are good, adding almonds just adds an added taste dimension, but depending on what you are doing with them, not having nuts in them might be useful.  Oh, when I did this, I also exchanged the almond extract for vanilla extract.