Sunday, September 26, 2010

Chocolate Almond Biscotti

Not much going on here on the farm. We did get in a second cutting of grass hay. We also cut a lot more acreage, so even though the grass wasn't as high as the first cutting, we still got about the same number of hay bales. We hope to clear more land for more hay, but it is labor intensive. I work full time and Lee works part time, so it may take another year to bring more land into production.

Next week I am driving the Bookmobile for Monday and Tuesday and we are participating in a cleanup for the county along the Upper James River, so I will finally have something to say and not have to rely on my recipes. (Here is the segue to the aforementioned Biscottis!)

I told Doris I was thinking about almond biscottis. Tara had made some the other day and it inspired me. Doris Googled around on the Internet and found some recipes that she gave to me to pick from. I kind of took 1 from column A and 2 from column B and here is what we have.

Chocolate Almond Biscotti

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp almond extract
2 1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup sliced almonds

Chocolate Glaze
1 cup chocolate chips
1 Tbsp shortening

Preheat the oven to 350. The butter was not soft and it was cold and rainy so I unwrapped a stick of butter and put it on a plate in the microwave for about 8 seconds....I figure if that is good enough for a Krispy Kreme, that is good enough for butter. Then I put it in the mixer and ran it on slow. When it was smooth I added the sugar. I had to run it on medium for awhile, I think because it was kind of cold. Then I added the 2 eggs and the almond extract and mixed it up. The recipe calls for sifting all the dry ingredients together and then adding them to the butter. You can do that if you want or do as I did and just add them a cup or so at a time and mix slowly.

I repeat, mix S-L-O-W-L-Y. If you don't, the flour will go everywhere!

Then add the almonds. I didn't have enough sliced almonds, so I added some toasted whole almonds that I then chopped coarsely. I thought they would add an extra crunch. One that even dunking it into a hot cup of coffee won't soften!

Divide the dough in half and dump it out onto a lightly floured board. Roll it into a log and then transfer it to a Silpat on a cookie sheet or a greased cookie sheet. Flatten it until it is about 11 inches long and 3 inches wide. Then do the other one. They will spread out so keep them apart as much as possible. Bake for 30 minutes.

Then remove from the oven and cool for 10 minutes. Carefully transfer each log to a cutting board and gently cut them with a serrated knife on the diagonal about 1 inch apart. Reserve the ends for munching while you wait. Put the slices back on the cookie sheet with the cut side down. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and carefully turn the slices so the other cut side is down and bake for 10 more minutes.

Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack.

Make the chocolate glaze. Mix the chocolate chips and the shortening in a microwave safe bowl. Heat for 1 minute. Stir until smooth. Use a spoon to drizzle the chocolate over the biscotti.

Make a big cup of coffee. Dunk a short segment in the coffee for a few seconds then let the drips stop and gently bite the soaked biscotti. Continue until you have eaten the whole thing. When you finish the coffee don't get grossed out by the crumbs in the bottom of the cup

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Hot Buttered Cheerios

This is the easiest snack ever. My mom made it for us when we were kids and I made it for my kids and for the day care kids I used to have. It is especially good on a rainy day. If you serve it in a paper towel rolled up like a cone, kids will have a built-in napkin! Lee and I are grown-up, though and know not to wipe our fingers on the couch. We use our pants like grups are supposed to!

Hot Buttered Cheerios

Here is the very difficult to remember ingredients....


Melt a big hunk of butter in a large sauce pan. Pour in a large amount of Cheerios. Stir until all the Cheerios have come into contact with the butter. Continue cooking and stirring until they are no longer greasy looking and the Cheerios become lightly toasted. Pour into a big bowl, or individual serving bowls if someone is more likely to get the most of them before you can. Yum-O

I am not including pictures for two very good reasons. One...Come on now. How hard can this be??? Two ingredients and 5 minutes.

And Two...the pictures I took were fuzzy and I don't like them and I don't want to make more right now to get better pictures, OK???

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Run-in Shed

Lee finished the run-in shed. This is the first big project that I did not help him on and I feel terrible. On the other hand he finished it and it is perfect so I feel great! Now I don't have to worry when I am at work and Lee is gone and it starts to rain and is icy cold! I used to try and decide if it was bad enough to go home at lunch and put the horses up. Yes, I know that horses in the wild do just fine outdoors without their mommies putting them in the nice warm barn. But they have trees or other shelter to protect them. Now mine have their shed!

Look what a good job he did even with the slope of the land!

I am thinking that it will be a good place to put the hay that I feed them in the winter. It will keep it dry and hopefully clean. Libby is a known stall slob, so I will have to check it when I am scooping! Perhaps Claire will let her know if her piggish ways are unacceptable. "Hey, Libby, quit pooping in my dining room!"

It is also big enough to put some of Lee's tractor equipment in to protect them. We will have to rig up something to keep the horses away from them and still give Lee easy access. I couldn't convince one of the horses to go in for this picture to show scale, but RJ will do in a pinch.

Lee says we have enough metal and posts to build one in the other pasture, so that will be good. I hesitate to ask him to start another project when I am not around much to help, so I will wait for him to come up with the idea. If he liked doing it, it should be fairly soon. If he hated it, I might have a long wait on my hands.

Chocolate Sugar Cookies

I spent all last weekend in bed...and a long weekend, too. I had big plans and Tara had come for a visit, but I felt too terrible. I got sick Saturday after a day of doing errands and making a batch of cookies. So here is the recipe. They turned out great. A nice mix of chocolate and sugar cookies. They weren't as good on the fourth or fifth day, so eat them up early!
This recipe is from Joanne Fluke. I like my murder with a lovely cookie recipe!

Chocolate Sugar Cookies

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

2 cups melted butter
4 one ounce squares of semi-sweet chocolate
2 cups powdered sugar
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon orange zest (This is optional, but it does make it taste like the chocolate oranges we love so much at Christmas)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon salt
4 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar in a bowl for later.

Melt the butter and the chocolate in a pan on low or as I did in the microwave. I set it for 1 minute and stirred. Then another minute and stirred and it was enough. Then pour them out of the microwave bowl into a mixing bowl and add the two kinds of sugar. I used a mixer and then I let them cool for a bit. It wouldn't do to add the eggs and have scrambled egg in you cookie. Yuck.

Use the time while it is cooling to assemble the other ingredients and to zest the orange.

Once the chocolate and butter mixture has cooled, add the two eggs and mix them in. Then add the vanilla, orange zest, baking soda, cream of tartar and salt. Mix it again.

Add the flour in 1 cup increments and have the mixer set for low. You do not want a flour volcano in your kitchen.

Once the dough has been mixed roll one inch dough balls or use a scoop like I do. Drop them in the bowl of sugar and use a spoon to make sure they are covered. Transfer them to a greased cookie sheet or use the Silpats like I do. You may want to use the palm of you hand to slightly flatten the balls of dough or they will roll around while you are transferring them to the oven.

Bake the cookies at 325 for 10 to 15 minutes. It took mine 12. Cool then on the sheet for 2 minutes and then move them to a wire rack to finish cooling. Don't let them cool completely before you eat the first ones. Warm and chewy are the best! I wonder how they would be with melty chocolate chips in them? OOOH, maybe next time!