Thursday, October 3, 2013

That Cozy Coffee Shop Moment

The rain is so rainy today. It's the storybook rainy day; slow, weirdly sad and I'm pretty sure if I had remembered to pack an umbrella, it would have flipped inside out and I'd be left standing wet and humiliated. It's one of those days where when someone asks how you're doing, you kind of just shrug and "ehhh." I also feel like Ed Sheeran's A Team should be playing in everyone's ears, if not already. I'm not trying to paint you a picture or anything. 

I never really associated Starbucks with rain, but it just seems so legit right now. People watching at it's finest, actually. Ok no, that sounds so creepy. I meant I'm sitting at a table resting against a huge glass window with soft curtains and I can't help but wonder about the people walking by. What if one of them is the editor at Chicago Magazine that I've been trying to get a hold of? You JUST never know. So many people, and so many stories. And soooo many cups of coffee. I know Starbucks is just Starbucks, nothing too special anymore, just a nice place to twirl in and have a warm cup of whatever soothes your soul and maybe stick around at a cozy table and collect your thoughts. (Or instagram this one in a million Starbucks experience, that too.) But you know, sometimes the twirling in is enough. Particularly today it is, just a caffe misto, my many word documents, some Coldplay and biscotti. Also some gentle old woman who asked to join my table; we've been sitting opposite eachother for the past hour and have naturally built this unspoken alliance of ambiguous nods and half smiles every time we both awkwardly look up. I love coffee shops. I just do. I love the smells and the fact that everyone is pretty much here alone, just sipping and clunking down on their keyboard or phones, but they're actually not alone. It's like we're all at a soiree together, just alone though. That coffee shop moment that sets your day in place, and speaking of, I've got my feet up and a fuzzy scarf on. Biscotti in hand and I'm perfectly on the toasty side of comfortable. Speaking of biscotti, I'm just stalling until I find a creative transition into a recipe for it. That's all this is about : ) 

 A recipe that is at the top of my reportoire, and something I've been wanting to share since forever! 


Well here it. I hope you have some coffee shop moments in the near future. I think I'm going to make myself another when I get home tonight after school. Cause home is the coziest, cuddliest coffee shop in the world. And the best part is, you can whip up your own beautiful biscotti and have as many as you like. 

Recipe

Biscotti is Italian for “twice-baked.” These cookies are first baked in logs, and then cut on the diagonal and baked a second time to get crunchy, crispy and transform into the perfect coffee accompaniment. This recipe has endless possibilities. You can swap any nut, any flavor baking chips, any dried fruit and any extract flavoring. My family raves about these, and every time I make them, there’s at least one person who offers to help me run my future bakery. I love dipping these into chocolate and then mesmerizing over the chocolate melting as it hits a sweltering hot cup. Also, don't hesitate to put your pinky up and be all fancy. 

Ingredients:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs

Fabulous add-ins:
¾ cups of any:
dried cranberries
chopped almonds
pistachios (perfect with tart cranberries!)
walnuts
coconut
chocolate chips
If you pick two to add, do ¾ cup of one and ½ cup of the other. Mix and match and go crazzyyy. No one’s judging you.
Directions:
Here's an idea! 
Preheat the oven to 350 .

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or generously grease it. Whisk the flour and baking powder in a medium bowl to blend. Using an electric mixer, beat the sugar, butter, lemon zest, and salt in a large bowl until fluffy. Beat in the eggs 1 at a time. And then add the flour mixture and beat JUST until blended. Stir in whatever you’d like. They’re pretty wonderful as is, too.

This can get tricky if the dough is sticky, but fret not. Just form the dough into a 13-inch long, on top of a sheet of plastic wrap, wrap it, pat it down to flatten 3 inches wide and pop it in the fridge for 30 minutes. Then, unwrap and bake until light golden for a good 40 minutes. Cool for 30 minutes.

Place the log on a cutting board. Using a serrated knife, cut the log on a diagonal into 1/2 to 3/4-inch-thick slices. Arrange the biscotti back down in the baking sheet, cut side down, and bake until they are pale golden, about 15 minutes. Gently transfer the biscotti to a rack and cool completely.

They. Are. Heaven. Especially dipped in chocolate.

ps: Keep an umbrella, always. You can never be too sure.