Mid Winter Malaise

It’s definitely a mid-winter malaise.

NOT a mid-life one (I can’t quite bring myself to use the term crisis. Sounds so… old.) because I am no where near the mid point in my life. Yet I am prone to fits of boredom, restlessness and discontent. I feel as though I am floundering; a fish out of water flapping it’s tail to no avail. Maybe what I’m feeling is more than just an episode of ennui – would I be allowed to call it an extended period of grieving?

A few days ago while making an espresso, I turned on a reality TV program to see a stunning, dark haired, pregnant woman dancing with her husband to the song Fly Me To The Moon. Naturally, the moon was bright and twinkle lights where shining. She was wearing a long flowing white dress and her husband’s hands were intertwined with hers as they rested on her beautiful belly. And for whatever reason, this scene really resonated with me: I will never feel my husbands hands on me in that manner. I don’t know how long I sat there and dawdled while everything and everyone flowed on around me. More than long enough for my espresso to cool.

I am trying to pick up the pieces of me and move forward. It’s time consuming. I spend listless and lingering hours running and stretching, practicing yoga, surfing the interwebs, editing pictures, and generally not making a large forward progression. But what better way to amble a few hours into oblivion than with a wicked dark espresso and double chocolate biscotti.

Double Chocolate & Almond Biscotti

source: David Lebovitz

  • 2 C flour
  • 3/4 C cocoa powder (make sure it’s good quality)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3 large eggs at room temperature
  • 1 C sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 1 C almonds, toasted and coarsely chopped
  • 3/4 C dark chocolate chips
  • Preheat the oven to 350.
  • Sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt.
  • In a large bowl beat together the three eggs, sugar, vanilla, and almond extracts. Gradually stir in the dry ingredients. The dough will be very stiff. Stir in the nuts and chocolate chips until the dough holds together.
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Divide the dough in half and press into two logs. Space them apart evenly on the baking sheet.
  • Gently flatten the top of both logs. If you want to add a glaze (I did) brush the top of the logs with a beaten egg and sprinkle with coarse sugar.
  • Bake about 25 minutes or until the dough feels firm to touch.
  • Remove the cookie dough from the oven and cool 15 minutes. Place the logs on a cutting board and using a serrated knife, cut the logs diagonally into about 1/2″ slices. Lay the cookies cut side down and bake for another 20 -30 minutes until the cookies are mostly firm.
  • Cool the cookies completely on a cooling rack before storing them in an airtight container. They will keep for about two weeks.

Notes:

  • I found it hard to cut the logs 1/2″ slices, mine were more like 1″ slices which turned out just fine. I baked them about 25 minutes. If you want your biscotti more moist than crispy just bake a little less the second time.
  • Feel free to experiment with fillings: dried cherries or cranberries, pecans or maybe pistachios, milk chocolate chips, etc.
  • There is no butter or fat in this recipe (big surprise). Apparently it makes the biscotti more crispy than recipes with a fat.
  • If you want to, feel free to dip the bottom half of each biscotti into melted chocolate to make them fancy and less “healthy”.
  • The first time I made the recipe I only made half which turned out just fine. Although, they biscotti disappeared rather speedily. The second time I wised up: made the entire batch to facilitate better lingering.
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