Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Totally Baked

Amanda and I got totally baked on Sunday. And by that, I mean we baked our little hearts out. She came over, we put on a pot of coffee, and made two delicious recipes, neither one ours.

First off, I volunteered to test a recipe on Food 52, an Editor’s Pick candidate. I picked Anise Biscotti. I’ve actually had anise biscotti a number of times. Amanda will be annoyed about this… but I have an insane memory.... and right now, that memory is taking me back to a box of homemade anise biscotti that our cousin Colette’s mother-in-law made the first time we met her. She also brought me a Barbie that I named Claire because she looked like the main character Claire in “The Hand that Rocks the Cradle”… a movie I probably should not have been watching at that age. And, speaking of Claires, the second time I had anise biscotti was when my friend Claire made a batch for a college cookie exchange. It’s crazy the way things tie together sometimes.

Anyway, with these licoricie cookie memories dancing in my head, I jumped at the chance to try out Bread and Beta’s Anise Biscotti. I was a little nervous at first… the recipe was way different than any other biscotti recipes I’ve made. Instead of a firm dough, the mixture resulted in a loose batter that was poured into a cake pan. And the amount of anise it called for… a teaspoon and a half of extract, and tablespoon of crushed seeds! That’s a lot of strong anise flavoring in one little batter bowl! We were skeptical; we thought the recipe would flop. Luckily, we were wrong! The measurements were absolutely perfect for just the right amount of not-too-sweet flavor, and just the right crunchy-on-the-outside but soft and crumbly-on-the-inside texture. Evan especially liked them, and I’m sure John will too when he gets them in the mail for his Easter birthday (shh, don’t tell him).

Up next, with biscotti down, we had one Reine De Saba to go. You may remember the Reine De Saba—Julia Child’s delicious almond chocolate cake—from such posts as this one. Amanda made it for Bastille day, and I devoured it for Bastille day (you can see a picture of the cake in mid-devoured-state in the Bastille post). On Sunday, I needed a French dessert to take to book club, since we had read a French book. When in doubt on the French food front, just ask yourself “WWJD: What Would Julia Do?” I asked her, and she said to make her delicious Queen of Sheba cake.

I don’t know what happened at the end of that French book, I didn’t finish it…but I definitely finished that cake… finished off every last slice that was left at the end. Oh yeah, it was also really fun to make! I used Bon Appetit's adaptation of the recipe... get to it, bake that cake... and try to share it with friends, even though you'll want to eat the whole thing by yourself.

On Monday morning, I was so baked-out from Sunday goodies that I actually turned down a cookie run with coworkers. I think that means it was a good weekend... the best kind, really.
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