Chocolate Dipped Cardamom Biscotti

This is a fabulous twist on the more common anise biscotti.  The cardamom gives the cookie an exotic taste and matches perfectly with the chocolate.  It goes great with coffee, tea, or even ice cream.  You can eat it for breakfast, as a dessert, or even a mid-afternoon snack. 

I adapted this recipe from Martha Stewart's but increased the cardamom and added the chocolate to give it more of a kick.  Some may be intimidated to make biscotti but I think you will find that they are actually very easy to do.  You don't even need an electric mixer.  Give these a try for your next dinner party and watch your friends be impressed!

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 cup AP flour
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1 cup blanched almonds, chopped
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 6 oz chocolate (I used Ghiradelli 60% cocoa bittersweet chocolate chips)


Instructions: Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

In a large bowl combine flour, baking powder, salt, cardamom, and sugar. Using a whisk, mix ingredients together so there are no lumps in the flour and everything is incorporated. Add the almonds to the dry ingredients. In a separate bowl whisk together the eggs and vanilla. Using a spatula, fold egg mixture into the dry ingredients until it forms a dough.  On a parchment lined sheet pan form dough into a long flat log, about 2 inch X 10 inch.

The Biscotti's first bake


Place in the top third of the oven and bake for about 35 minutes, or until crispy on top but still soft in the center. Let cool for 10 minutes. Using a long serrated knife cut into 1 inch slices on a slight diagonal. Lay slices back onto the sheet pan and bake 7-8 minutes. Turn biscotti and bake for an additional 7-8 minutes. Let biscotti cool for 10 minutes before dipping in chocolate.

Slice and bake again


Melt chocolate in a glass bowl using either a microwave or a double boiler. In a microwave, heat for 1 minute, then stir with a heatproof spatula and heat for an additional 30 seconds. Dip cooled biscotti cookies into the chocolate halfway down and place on parchment/wax paper to dry.  Once chocolate has hardened serve or store in airtight container.

Dip Biscotti in Chocolate

Makes 20-30 cookies.

Posted
AuthorAmy Koch

After about a month of drinking Cardamom Coffee and REALLY REALLY digging it at home I wanted to get my hands on some when I was in the wild.  I can't believe I've been drinking coffee regularly for nearly two decades and never knew about this stuff.  There's even an eHow about it!

What bland puritan Joe we have here in the US.  According to these guys: "Arab coffee is heavily flavored with cardamom—sometimes to the point of having more cardamom than coffee. Some preparations use two teaspoons of cardamom seeds for each small cup of the sweet, fragrant coffee."

Two teaspoons may be excessive.  My new jar of ground cardamom from McCormick's is far more potent than

Posted
Authordavid koch
CategoriesDrinks, Recipes

I was reading Harold McGee's On Food and Cooking the other night about spices.  While many people know that Saffron's sweet earthy stigmas are the most expensive spice, commanding up to $5,000 USD/pound - I didn't know that Vanilla was the second at $200/pound and Cardamom was the third at $22/pound.

McGee mentions how Nordic countries often use Cardamom in baked goods.  Supposedly the Vikings fell in love with the stuff a very very long time ago.  I thought briefly.  I know it goes in Chai Tea, and Garam Masala... but what else has Cardamom in it? 

Apparently, 80% of the annual Cardamom crop (which is picked by hand - ergo the price) goes to Arab countries mostly for use in Gahwa, Cardamom Coffee.  This is a big part of the culture, which was hitherto unbeknownst to me.  From MapsofWorld.com:

The ritual of presenting gahwa begins when the host places a set of four coffee pots, called della. Next to an open fire he pours the coffee beans onto a mahmasa,

Posted
Authordavid koch
CategoriesDrinks, Recipes
5 CommentsPost a comment

Starbucks is making a big hoopla about their new instant coffee called VIA which they rolled out nationwide recently.  They claim it is an instant coffee that tastes like freshly brewed.  They use a proprietary process they are calling a microgrind, and by looking at, making the stuff, and tasting it I'm thinking there's some dehydrated and/or freeze-dried coffee in there too.

Nevertheless, it's VIA VIA VIA everywhere you look inside your local Starbucks right now

Posted
Authordavid koch
CategoriesDrinks, Humor
4 CommentsPost a comment

Roast Your Own!  I've been reading much of the database of coffee knowledge accumulated at Sweet Maria's Roasting Supplies and came to the conclusion, "I can do that!"  Sometimes these are famous last words, sometimes these are life-changing epiphanies.  I hope that in this case they are the latter.

I picked up two pounds of "green" (unroasted) beans; one pound of the Guatemala Finca La Bella JBM (Jamaican Blue Mountain) Cultivar, and one pound of the India Robusta Jeelan Estate Nirali

The first type was upon their recommendation for a novice roaster, the second...

Posted
Authordavid koch
CategoriesDrinks, Recipes
3 CommentsPost a comment

Coffee fans unite!  Starbucks has blended beans from East Africa to make this 'promotional' bag for the ongoing (RED) Campaign to support The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria in Africa.

This stuff is REALLY good.  I like the idea behind the (RED) Campaign, but this IS a foodie website, and I promise I wouldn't hype the stuff if it sucked.  If you're looking for another great charity, my friend Nyla started Mama Hope, which founded a health clinic in Kenya.

Back to the coffee... The (RED) blend is quite nutty; almonds, chestnuts, cashews.  It also has a mild acidity that balances well with the earthiness.  They describe it as having floral and citrus notes, which I don't get, but it is a great blend nevertheless. 

Starbucks will donate $1 for every bag you buy.  I think everyone should buy one bag. 

Go.  Now.  Here.  Buy a bag, don't be a chump:

www.starbucksstore.com


What is the (RED) Campaign?  Well, if you've been living in a bubble, it is the partnership between American Express, Apple, Converse, Dell, Emporio Armani, Gap, Hallmark, Starbucks, and Microsoft to help aid The Global Fund.  This is where you can find your red ipods, your red credit card, red laptop, red sunglasses, red T-shirts, and your red copy of Windows Vista.

What is The Global Fund?  It is one of the largest public/private partnership organizations to disperse international health financing.

"Since its creation in 2002, the Global Fund has become the main source of finance for programs to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, with approved funding of US$ 15.6 billion for more than 572 programs in 140 countries. It provides a quarter of all international financing for AIDS globally, two-thirds for tuberculosis and three quarters for malaria.

Global Fund financing is enabling countries to strengthen health systems by, for example, making improvements to infrastructure and providing training to those who deliver services. The Global Fund remains committed to working in partnership to scale up the fight against the diseases and to realize its vision – a world free of the burden of AIDS, TB and malaria."

 

I like my beans ground on a number 2.  They always ask, "What's that for?"  I deduct that number 2 is a vestigial grind, left over from some more flamboyant era because no one uses it anymore.  Anyways, when you're using a paper cone, a number 2 grind works perfect for me. 

 

I also like my coffee best when it's served in a wacky mug...

 

 

Posted
Authordavid koch
8 CommentsPost a comment

photo by Dave Koch

Bacon or Sausage?

Scrambled or fried?

Hash browns or home fries?

As I sit waiting for my guest at a local diner, I have an epiphany on the what makes us so attracted to the meal in which we break our nightly fast.  Let's talk about breakfast.  Why do we crave it?  Why is it often, "Served All Day"?  What is the root of it's universal appeal?

I suddenly realized that it's beauty is in it's simplicity; but what makes it so special is it's ability to be customized.  At it's foundation you often have eggs, a meat, a leavened bread, a pan-fried bread, some sort of a sweet topping (syrup, jam, etc.), ketchup, and the ubiquitous Tabasco sauce.

What makes it amazing is that the sheer number of unique combination's allow for everyone to eat the same thing, yet completely different from the next person, and also precisely how they like it.  This amalgam makes up most fare served up in the finest morning eating establishments.


Patron:  "Pancake sandwich with bacon, eggs over medium, no runny, sourdough toast."

Server:  "It doesn't come with toast, honey"

Patron:  "OK, no toast then.  Or, could I have some on the side?"

Server:  "What kind of toast?"

And so it continues...


If you turn off your filter at a busy diner, these conversations pop into your head in a continuous stream.  People narcistically order their personal nuances into every distinct piece of the meal, far more than any other.  "Extra this"  "Light that"  "Easy on the..."  "Could I have a side of the ... instead?"  They've had more practice fine tuning breakfast than lunch, or dinner.  Just look at the menu; there may be less than 10 things, all assembled in different ways; like Legos, but for food.

As I sneak glances upon my fellow patrons I see two middle aged women eating pancakes with a light touch on the syrup.  They have only used about a third of their respective tiny pitchers of the dark stuff.  One hasn't even touched her little ball of butter, the other has devoured hers; both are sharing a side of bacon and each are sipping coffee.

The man to my right and a little behind me, as I rubber neck in my stealthily way, is devouring scrambled eggs, hash browns, a biscuit (he hasn't touched his butter either), and washing it all down with a glass of milk. He dines alone, slowing as he eats, the last few bites are deliberate and well planned.  A small bite of egg, then a stab of the biscuit, a small swipe of marmalade from his knife, and then into the mouth.

A foursome of two couples was just seated near me and I have a great vantage point.  They begin with three coffees, a tea, and a round of waters with one woman sipping her water from a straw.  The woman with the tea has a side of fruit immediately.  When they are served, it looks as if something's wrong with the ladies' order, very wrong.  They send it back.

What emerges a minute or so later looks like Benedict, split with her female friend across the table from her.  One of the male counterparts gets eggs that look over easy, white toast, sausage patties, and hash browns.  He likes to break everything up at first rather then before each bite (I know the type), and spends a minute or so preparing the plate.  The other man does nearly the same, only with links instead.

On another note: I just watched a woman pour an unholy amount of sugar into her coffee from the glass jar of sugar.  I think there should be a safety valve on those things.  She could have put a Shetland pony into hypoglycemia with a dose that size.

For me?

I'm going to get one egg over-hard (I've not been digging runny yolks lately...), bacon (I had sausage links yesterday), hash browns, a biscuit (I'm going to smother it with my own little round ball of butter and...), and maybe some marmalade.  I will add a tablespoon or so of ketchup to the side and likely skip the Tabasco.  Coffee with one tub of half & half, no sugar.

My cohort, I'm guessing, will order one egg over easy, bacon (or maybe the sausage patty??), hash browns, and white toast.  He will get two sides of brown gravy and pour it on top of everything.  He will spend 90 seconds or so shaking black pepper on top once the roofing of gravy is down - I've never seen someone put more pepper on their food than him.  He'll order a side of milk for his coffee in lieu of the half & half tubs, no sugar.

[Update: I got the same but I was offered a side of gravy as well and I went for it.  It was mushroom gravy - and it was quite tasty, thanks for the tip.  My cohort got one egg but scrambled, with links instead and an English muffin.  He only got one side of brown gravy, though still with heaps of black pepper, and he put strawberry jam on the English muffin... I was so close.]


So, how do you assemble your ideal "diner breakfast"?


Bacon, ham, links, patty, pork chop, or steak?

Pancakes, French toast, waffle, or silver dollars?

Over easy, over medium, scrambled, poached, or omelet?

Hash browns, home fries (triple cheese for $1 more), French fries, or fruit?

Sourdough, white, wheat, rye, English muffin, crumpet, or biscuit?

Coffee, tea, orange juice, grapefruit, tomato, or milk?

Cereal, oatmeal, granola, yogurt, muesli?

Posted
Authordavid koch
CategoriesHistory, Humor
13 CommentsPost a comment

photo by Antoinne Rimes

It's over!  I have said so long to Starbucks' coffee.  We grew apart awhile ago and only recently did I try to salvage the relationship. I want to say it's not them but me, but it's really them.  Or, I should say it's because of Peet's coffee that I no longer care for Starbucks' coffee anymore. 

I was so into Starbucks.  I had their coffee everyday like clockwork.  A venti cappuccino with two packets of Splendawas my order.  I was there so much the baristas didn't ask me for my drink order anymore.  They would say, " …and anything to eat?" 

I was Norm and Starbucks was my Cheers

Then, it, crashed into my life.  I don't know if it was the longing for something new, or the feeling that I just could not go on being unhappy and feeling like there was something missing from my daily brew.  I knew I was stepping over a line that most never cross, but I needed to feel whole.  

I needed to know that there was no other option out there that I was letting slip by because I was comfortable where I was at. 

That's how I was seduced over to the dark, intense flavor of Peet's coffee.  Like some exotic beauty with luscious lips and curvy hips, Peet's coffee-soul kissed me away from the frumpy girl next door: Starbucks. 

Starbucks coffee is like being kissed on the cheek at the family reunion by the pretty cousin you have a crush on, and Peet's coffee is like being French kissed by a naked Rosario Dawson on a deserted strip of beach in the Caribbean.  I could never go back once I tasted the deep roasted flavor of Peet's slightly bitter brew.  

After one sip of Peet's coffee, Starbucks' coffee seemed like a warm beverage for children.  There was no depth of flavor, no hint of far off lands and foreign cultures like there was in every sip of Peet's lovely brew.  Starbucks' coffee simply lay there and expected me to be happy that I was with it… no effort, no passion, only hype.  While Peet's coffee would grab me, feel me up, and then kiss me, as if it was saying, "Hello, baby, I really missed you."

In time, I went hard core and started getting my small cappuccino dry with four packets of Splenda.  The sweet taste of Splenda melded with the bitter taste of Peet's coffee, transforming my drink into and exciting mélange of flavor and seduction.  I tasted dark chocolate with cherry overtones, and the sweet bitterness of dark treacle.  

This coffee…this woman, dark and lovely is my mistress.  She is my passion, my obsession, and my muse.  I am merely existing in-between the times when I have her and when I do not. 

Good bye, Starbucks… pretty, dull cousin.  Hello my dark beauty, my love.

Posted
AuthorAntoinne von Rimes
2 CommentsPost a comment

photo by Dave Koch

Sorry to all those barista who procrastinated but registration for the Milrock Free Pour Latte Art Championship is closed.  Held at the trade show Coffee Fest, the event is considered the Super Bowl for over achieving barista everywhere.  This year Coffee Fest will be in Las Vegas and, appropriately enough, in Seattle. 

Seattle of course topping the 2008 Caffeinated Cities Survey for coffee consumption in the US, with 59% of respondent consuming it daily.

OK I was only trying to scare you, registration for Las Vegas is still open, but Seattle really is closed.  So start taking pictures of your latte art because you need to submit two photo examples with your entry form.  

There is a lot at stake here with the $5,000 grand prize, bragging rights, and glory.  You may even end up on the Food Network with Guy Fieri or on the cover of Barista Magazine.  So get practicing.

From Coffee Fest, the rules of engagement are as follows:

"Contestants will be given five minutes to prepare the work area, adjust grind etc. Following the five minute preperation [sic] time, contestants will be given five minutes to produce as many as three different free-pour lattes.

At the completion of the five minutes or three free pour lattes, the drinks will be judged based upon : esthetic beauty & balance > 1-25pts., color infusion > 1-25pts., definition > 1 25pts., and creativity > 1-15pts.

No additives other than the espresso and milk may be used in this competition. The drink receiving the highest score from the judges will be used as the contestants submission."

 

Here are some great examples of what these artists can do with steamed milk and espresso...

 

photo by jonas_l

 

photo by ~ggvic~

 

photo by thebrady

 

photo by strikeseason

 

photo by lorisrandom

 

photo by tavallai

 

photo by ChrisB_in_SEA

 

photo by tonx

 

photo by amanky

I think the one that says, "U Suc" is my favorite.

Which one is yours?

 

Posted
Authordavid koch
CategoriesDrinks
5 CommentsPost a comment

photo by idogcow

 

I've been a frequent patron of Starbucks nearly my whole life but it wasn't too long ago that I learned that their Venti size latte (Large) only has two shots of espresso in it.  

Note:  A hot Venti beverage has only two shots.  An iced Venti does have three, but I don't think it should even be called an Iced Venti because Venti means 20 and refers to the number of ounces in the paper cup - the plastic cup for the iced Venti's is 24 ounces.  They should call it a Ventiquattro!

So for 15+ years I've been ordering my Lattes in a Venti thinking I'm getting 50% more espresso than if ordered a Grande (Medium) - but I'm not!  I'm only getting more milk!  Their hot sizes follow a 1-1-2-2 shot formula for Short - Tall - Grande - Venti (Extra Small - Small - Medium - Large).

So I'm talking to a cool barista the other day and she tells me that the 1-1-2-2 formula is different for the Americano!  Those follow a true 1-2-3-4 formula for Short - Tall - Grande - Venti.  Odd.

I confirmed this on this Starbucks Menu Chart someone put together.  The chart also points out how many different ways there are to put these drinks together - and that your average barista likely knows them.  It reads like a glossary:

Breve - Made with half and half instead of regular milk. This makes it a bit thicker, a bit sweeter, a bit more expensive and a lot more fattening.

Organic - Some stores also have organic milk available. It'll cost extra, and they may have to go looking for it, since almost no one orders it (in my area at least).

140 degrees - No, this is not the newest boy band. If you find normal drinks too hot to drink, and want to save your tastebuds from a fiery death, order your drink at a hundred and forty degrees -- this is still quite warm, but not tongue-roasting.

Kid's - By Starbucks rules, any drink that's going to be served to a child must be no hotter than 130 degrees. Keep this in mind when you go cheap and order the $1.00 kid's hot chocolate.

 

Digging around, I also found the Starbucks Gossip site (unofficial?).  Some of the forum topics were pretty interesting.  Mostly baristas complaining about people ordering wacky things and people complaining about getting charged differently in different places.  This is from an entry in one of the forums:

 "I have no idea how to charge a single cup of french press because I was under the impression that we charged for the whole press [in fact, my shift charged a woman for the whole press just last night].

It's frustrating. Not to mention when I charge someone correctly and a shift or manager comes up behind me, prescreen's my screen, rerings up the customer and charges them for significantly less. Thus making me feel and look like a total asshat."

 

I'm sticking to my Tall Americano's.

 

 Starbucks Sumatra

Posted
Authordavid koch
CategoriesDrinks, Humor