…and “Mirkwood Biscotti”
Our current administration is barely three months old, yet it feels like three years. Dog years.
Recently, we’ve had the employees of a major airline beat up an elderly passenger. We’ve had a feckless and reckless attack on Syria. We’ve had a press secretary deny the Holocaust. What else? Too numerous to itemize.
I have liked the convenience of scheduling my posts, sometimes two-three weeks in advance; it depends. Lately however, I have found it almost impossible to find motivation to blog about anything meaningful mainly because by the time I post this, there will inevitably be another series of scandals and the items mentioned above will be lost in the black hole of history. Perhaps Sean Spicer will be toast… which I truly think would be best for his health.
So today, I realized it has been two months since my last post. My Trump Derangement Syndrome has not abated; it smolders in a state of impotent depressed anger. For my 55th birthday, I went nuts and got a tattoo.
Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined that I would one day put a quote by Mitch McConnell on my arm. But I guess you never know which words might resonate with you. These did. Maybe things will look less bleak by my next post (and now I’m laughing hysterically in my head!).
From “The Hobbit”—Beorn
Alas, their time with Beorn must end, but now that he is their friend he lends the company a few pack animals and provides them with good foods that will travel well: “nuts, flour, sealed jars of dried fruits, and red earthenware pots of honey, and twice-baked cakes that would keep good a long time, and on a little of which they could march far. The making of these was one of his secrets; but honey was in them, as in most of his foods, and they were good to eat, though they made one thirsty.” Beorn recommends keeping their skins filled with water, but warns against touching the water or animals of Mirkwood, the forest through which they must travel next. Do they listen to him? Of course not. This recipe is a fancy twice-baked version of Beorn’s cakes.
These cookies are known as Bon Voyage Biscotti in my cookbook.
- ¾ cup soft salted butter
- ¾ cup packed golden brown sugar
- ⅓ cup honey
- 2 extra large eggs, room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1½ teaspoons mace
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- 4 ounces pecans, finely chopped
- 6 ounces dried apricots, chopped into ¼” bits (dried cherries are also good, or use a combination of the two)
- 18 ounces white chocolate, broken into smaller sections
Preheat oven to 375°. Coat 2 large baking sheets with cooking spray or grease lightly. In a large bowl, cream the butter, brown sugar, honey, eggs, and vanilla until fully mixed. Add the flour, baking powder, mace, and salt and combine well. Add the pecans and apricots. Divide dough in half and form each portion into a cylinder about 12-14″ long. Place one on each pan. Smooth and flatten the tops until the dough is about 1″ thick and 3-4″ wide. Bake 25 minutes. Remove and let stand on the sheets 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 325°. Transfer one portion of baked dough to a cutting board. With a serrated knife, cut ½” diagonal slices. You’ll get about 12 full-sized cookies, then you can cut the remaining ends for shorter, irregularly shaped cookies. Place cut side down on one sheet. Repeat with the other portion. Bake 10 minutes. Turn all the cookies over and bake another 15 minutes (if you break any, don’t worry; broken ones can be dipped, too). Cool on sheets 3 minutes. Place all on racks and cool for 1 hour. Don’t bother washing the pans; when they have cooled off, place a sheet of wax paper on each and set aside.
Meanwhile, place the white chocolate in an 8½” by 4½” glass loaf pan. Microwave chocolate in 30-second intervals until fully melted. Dip the bottom half of each cookie in the chocolate. Lay each on wax paper, on one side. Place in the refrigerator until the chocolate hardens, about 1 hour. Store covered at room temperature or keep chilled if the weather is warm. Makes 24, plus some smaller cookies.