Alice Medrich, Baking Recipes, Cookies, Experiments & experiences, From the books

Thinking of blogging’s role in my life over Cornmeal & Olive Oil Biscotti

cornmeal olive oil pear biscotti

How has everyone been? Me, I’ve been tired. It’s the kind of tiredness that seems to flow from the soul outward to the eyes. My eyes sear in the way that a person who hasn’t slept for a week would experience. I would like nothing more than to close my eyes for a good 24 hours. Unfortunately, I have responsibilities to attend to.

The good news is, things have been getting better for me. I’ve begun to learn how to look at the difficult things I have been encountering lately through different perspectives. The bad news is, I’ve been thinking an awful lot; and all the thinking has been giving me a chronic headache. Recently there have been nights when my mind literally won’t shut down and I stare at the ceiling for hours on end, just willing myself to sleep. It’s probably one of the reasons why I’m so tired. Despite this, I couldn’t resist sitting in front of my computer tonight to write this post. Apparently I’m never too tired to blog.

biscotti yum

Blogging has become one of my happy places. I run a couple of blogs but lately I don’t feel at all like it’s a tough job. If anything, it’s been keeping me together. I’m glad to have a place to talk about the things I’m passionate about because it helps me highlight the things I love in my life. This blog is one of my most frequently updated blogs because I have so much fun baking, photographing, and writing about food. Sharing recipes I think are great makes me happy. People trying out the recipes I share and liking them makes me happy. In general, I just love what I’m doing here.

Let’s talk about today’s recipe: It’s the first time ever I have eaten a biscotti that has olive oil to flavour it, and all I can say is that I never expected it to be this yummy! The olive oil makes the biscotti fragrant and fruity and delicious.

However, my biscotti ended up being softer than intended because I used fresh pears instead of dried ones. I have no idea where to buy dried pears and didn’t have the time to make some on my own. The result was a very wet dough that spread dramatically as I tried to shape it into a log before baking; and a biscotti that wasn’t as crunchy as I’d like. But thank goodness the flavour more than compensates for the texture.

7979150529 035bb68f54 b - Thinking of blogging's role in my life over Cornmeal & Olive Oil Biscotti
Cornmeal and Olive Oil Biscotti with Walnuts and Pears
7979150529 035bb68f54 b - Thinking of blogging's role in my life over Cornmeal & Olive Oil Biscotti
The bright flavors of olive oil and pear perfectly play with the wonderful scent of lemon. The grittiness of cornmeal adds just the right rustic touch to these biscotti.

Makes 24 to 30 biscotti
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Ingredients
  1. 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (5 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
  2. 2/3 cup (3.67 ounces) cornmeal
  3. 3/8 teaspoon baking powder
  4. 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  5. 2/3 cup (4.625 ounces) sugar
  6. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  7. 2 large eggs
  8. Finely grated zest of 1 medium lemon
  9. 1 1/3 cups (4.5 ounces) walnut halves, coarsely chopped
  10. 2/3 cup (3 ounces) moist dried pears, in 1/4-inch dice*
Instructions
  1. 1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Position a rack in the center of the oven.
  2. 2. Whisk the flour, cornmeal and baking powder in a medium bowl and set aside.
  3. 3. In a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat the olive oil, sugar, salt, eggs and lemon zest on high speed for 3 to 4 minutes, until lightened in color and slightly thickened.
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  5. 4. Stir in the flour mixture. The batter will be thick and sticky. Stir in the walnuts and pear*.
  6. 2
  7. 5. Scrape the batter down the center of the prepared pan and use wet hands spread it to form a log 14 to 15 inches long and 3 inches wide.
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  9. 6. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the log is golden on top and golden brown at the lower edges. Rotate the pan from front to back halfway through the baking time to ensure even baking. Set the pan on a rack to cool for at least 15 minutes. Leave the oven on, turning it down to 325°F (165°C).
  10. 7. Transfer the loaf carefully to a cutting board. If you used a liner, slide a metal spatula under the loaf to detach and remove the liner. Use a thin sharp knife to cut the loaf crosswise into 1/2-inch slices.
  11. 8. Transfer the slices to the unlined cookie sheet, standing them at least 1/2 inch apart. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the edges and tops of the biscotti turn slightly golden. Rotate the pan from front to back halfway through the baking time. Set the pan on a rack.
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  13. Storage: Cool the cookies completely before stacking or storing. May be kept in an airtight container for at least 2 weeks.
Notes
  1. *I had used fresh pears, thus my batter is a lot thinner and wetter than it should have been. The biscotti is a lot less crunchy as well. You could try baking it longer if you're planning on using fresh pears as well though I recommend using dried fruit to get the right biscotti texture. Experiment with other dried fruits if you don't like or can't find any dried pears.
Adapted from Chewy, Gooey, Crispy, Crunchy, Melt-In-Your-Mouth Cookies by Alice Medrich
The Tummy Train http://thetummytrain.com/
I promised myself to get in 8 hours of sleep for the rest of this week. I’ve practically been trained to stay up late into the night (advertising as a degree does that to you) so it’s a bit tougher than it sounds. I have no choice though if I want to catch up on sleep and make these headaches disappear. Wish me luck!

4 Comments on “Thinking of blogging’s role in my life over Cornmeal & Olive Oil Biscotti

  1. I so know what you mean about blogging being your ‘happy place’. It’s my saviour, I feel reinvigorated and revitalised when I’m blogging. If only tI could do it full-time, I would be the happiest person in the world. X

  2. Those biscuits sound delicious – I love the pear and oilve oil combination. Glad to hear that you are still taking much joy from blogging! Even when I’m too busy to function properly, I still take time to cook and post as it calms me and provides a great sense of acheivment.

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