Hazelnut Biscotti

 ‘Tis the season of baking.  Biscotti is one of my favorite light desserts with a cup of espresso!

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups hazelnuts (7 ounces)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 cups self-rising cake flour
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preparation

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

Toast hazelnuts in a shallow baking pan until lightly colored and skins are blistered, 10 to 15 minutes. (Leave oven on.) Wrap nuts in a kitchen towel and let steam 1 minute, then rub off any loose skins in towel while nuts are still warm (don’t worry about skins that don’t come off). Cool nuts completely, then very coarsely chop.

Pulse together sugar and 1/2 cup chopped hazelnuts in a food processor until finely ground. Transfer to bowl of mixer along with flour and beat at medium speed until combined well. Add eggs and vanilla and beat just until a dough forms. Reduce speed to low, then add remaining chopped hazelnuts and mix until incorporated. Turn off mixer and knead in any loose hazelnuts with your hands.

Halve dough and, with dampened hands, form each half into a roughly 10- by 2- by 1-inch log on lined baking sheet, arranging logs 3 inches apart.

Bake until golden and set but still soft to the touch, 25 to 30 minutes. (Leave oven on.) Cool logs on baking sheet on a rack 10 minutes.

Transfer logs to a cutting board, discarding parchment, and cut logs with a serrated knife on a slight diagonal into 1/2-inch-thick slices.

Arrange slices, cut sides down, in 1 layer on unlined baking sheet. Bake slices, turning over once, until golden and crisp, 20 to 25 minutes more. Cool biscotti completely on sheet on rack, about 30 minutes.

Fall Sundays

Sundays in the fall are the best.  Football, crisp weather, beautiful scenery and delicious flavors.  I was inspired this Sunday by a few items I saw online and just love how fall fashion is so cozy.  Long, warm cardigans with comfortable leggings and toasty scarves… who doesn’t love that?  Also, fall comfort food brings us together and I found the cutest recipe to share!

Caramel Apple Cake

Ingredients
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsps cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 2 tsps baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 2 cups unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tsps vanilla extract
  • 60 caramel candies
  • 3/4 cup walnuts, toasted and finely chopped
  • wax paper
  • 1 large craft stick

Instructions
  1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Grease and flour two 1 1/2-quart oven-safe bowls.
  3. Combine 3 1/3 cups all-purpose flour, 2 teaspoons cinnamon, 1 teaspoon ground cloves, 1/2 teaspoon allspice, 2 teaspoons baking soda and 1 teaspoon salt.
  4. In a separate bowl, beat together 2 eggs, 1 1/2 cups brown sugar, 2 cups unsweetened applesauce, 1 cup vegetable oil and 2 teaspoons vanilla extract. Add this mixture to the dry ingredients and beat until well mixed.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared bowls and bake for 60 to 70 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
  6. Allow the cakes to cool in the bowls for 10 minutes, then remove them from the bowls and set them inverted on wire racks to cool completely. Once the cakes have cooled, turn them over and use a long knife to even out their flat tops.
  7. Topping: Place 60 caramel candies and 2 tablespoons of water in a medium bowl and microwave on high power for 1 minute. Stir, then heat 30 to 45 seconds more until the mixture is smooth and forms a slow, thick ribbon when dropped from a spoon.
  8. Layer the cakes (flat sides together) using a few spoonfuls of the caramel to help hold them in place.
  9. Pour the remaining sauce over the cake. The caramel will run down the sides of the cake to cover it completely, or you can spread it with a knife while it’s still warm.
  10. Let the caramel set for about 20 minutes before pressing the walnuts onto the bottom half of the cake.
  11. Cover one half of the craft stick with waxed paper and insert the covered end into the top of the cake.Image