We are introduced, at an early age, to the sweet wondernous of a cookie. From teething cookies to soothe the swollen aching gums of incoming incisors, onto animal crackers purchased in rectangular-shaped boxes bearing a string handle for easy toting by little fingers. Deciding which part of the animal should be eaten first-the trunk of the elephant or the tail of a lion-depended on how hungry one was. Savor each and every one or simply gobble them down as fast as possible.

My next cookie memory would be the ever famous, possibly all-time favorite, the chocolate chip cookie. There is nothing better than to bite into a round circle of baked dough sprinkled with gooey melt-in-your-mouth chocolate. A chocolate chip cookie can dry tears, heal broken hearts, mend scraped knees and elbows and solve sibling arguments. Most of the problems in the world could likely be solved by a properly baked, right out of the oven, chocolate chip cookie. The power of a cookie is underestimated.

I will attempt in the next 365 days to prepare and comment on a year’s worth of different cookies-one for each day. My goal is to share with others my extreme love of cookies-baking them and especially eating them! Feel free to send me your favorite recipe, your earliest cookie memories, or how cookies may have influenced your life. Cookies Rule!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Cookie Recipe #101 - Chocolate Almond Biscotti

What better to have with a cup of coffee than biscotti? The crunchy chocolateness turns a regular cup of coffe into a delicious mocha!

Ingredients: 1/2 cup butter, softened, 1 1/4 cups sugar, 2 eggs, 1 teaspoon almond extract, 2 1/4 cups flour, 1/4 cup cocoa, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1 cup sliced almonds, chocolate glaze, vanilla glaze, additional sliced almonds.

Instructions: Heat oven to 350 degrees. In large mixer bowl, beat butter and sugar until well blended. Ad eggs and almond extract; beat until smooth. In separate bowl, stir together flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt; blend into butter mixture, beating until smooth. (Dough will be thick). Using wooden spoon, work almonds into dough. Divide dough into halves. With lightly floured hands, shape each half into rectanglar log about 2 inches in diameter and 11 inches long; place on large ungreased cookie sheet, at least 2 inches apart. Bake 30 minutes or until logs are set. Remove from oven; cool on cookie sheet 15 minutes.

Using serrated knife and a sawing motion, cut logs into 1/2 inch diagonal slices. Discard end pieces. Arrange slices, cut sides down, close together on cookie sheet. Bake 8-9 minutes. Turn each slice over; bake additional 8-9 minutes. Remove from oven; cool on cookie sheet on wire rack. Dip bottom of each biscotti into Chocolate glaze and allow excess to drip back into dish of chocolate, scraping lightly with a spoon. Place on wire rack on their sides and drizzle more chocolate glaze over sides of biscotti; then drizzle vanilla glaze over chocolate. Garnish with additional almonds, if desired.

Chocolate Glaze: In small microwave-safe bowl, place 1 cup chocolate chips and 1 tablespoon shortening. Microwave at High 1-1 1/2 minutes or until smooth when stirred.

Vanilla Glaze: In small microwave-safe bowl, place 1/4 cup vanilla milk chips and 1 teaspoon shortening. Microwave at High 30-45 seconds or until smooth when stirred.

Makes about 2-2 1/2 dozen cookies.

recipe from "Hershey's Homemade, 1991, by Hershey Foods Corporation"

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