Chocolate Easter Egg Biscotti

Chocolate Easter Egg Biscotti

After a friend mentioned that she would love my Easter Egg Biscotti even better if they were chocolate, I decided to try to make her some.

The biscotti are really just a big cookie, baked around an egg. Once cooled, I drizzle with a powdered sugar glaze. They are such a fun treat for Easter.

You don’t have to precook the eggs used in the middle. They will cook when the biscotti bake around them. If your eggs are already hard- cooked, that is fine, too.

This is the end result of my experiment. I used the original recipe, and added cocoa powder. Worked out really nice, so I thought I’d share them with you.

The original recipe came from the mother of a childhood friend. Rose made them with shortening. Over time I started making mine with butter, instead. The only change is, I chill the dough 30 minutes, or so, before using.

 

Chocolate Easter Egg Biscotti

1 c. shortening or butter – I use butter
1 ½ c. sugar
4 eggs
5 t. baking powder
1 t. salt
2 t. vanilla
1 c. milk
6 c. flour
¾ c. cocoa powder
24-30 eggs, plain or dyed
Powdered sugar glaze- recipe follows

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream together shortening and sugar. Beat in eggs. Add next 4 ingredients and blend until smooth. Mix flour with cocoa. Stir in flour mixture 2 cups at a time. Dough should be pliable. If dough is too sticky add a little more flour. If using butter in the recipe, chill dough at this point. Take a piece of dough about the size of a large egg and roll until smooth. Place on a greased baking sheet. Indent middle slightly and then place an egg in the center, pressing down slightly. It should look like a nest. Continue with remaining dough allowing about 2-3 inches in between, as they will spread some. You can fit 6-8 on a large baking sheet. Bake 20 –25 minutes or until browned on the bottom. Cool on wire rack before drizzling with frosting. Makes 24-30. Store in the fridge.

 

Sugar glaze
2 c. powdered sugar
2-3 T. milk or orange juice
1 t. vanilla
Food coloring, if desired
Mix together until smooth and of drizzling consistency.

Chocolate and original biscotti waiting to be baked

Chocolate and original biscotti waiting to be baked

Glazed and ready to enjoy

Glazed and ready to enjoy

Avocado Gelato

Avocado Gelato

I needed a dessert and somehow this is what I came up with. It worked out so well. The gelato is silky smooth, not too sweet and has a rich, buttery flavor.

It started awhile back, when a sweet lady gave me a dozen perfect avocados. I knew I would not be able to use them up quickly enough, so I froze some of them.

It is easy to freeze avocados. Just cut them open, remove the pit and the skins. Then just place avocado in small freezer bag or container and drizzle with a little lemon juice. That will prevent the avocados from discoloring. Freeze until you want to use them.

You could, of course, use fresh avocados as well.

I just blended the gelato twice, for a creamy texture. If you have an ice cream machine, you can  blend up the mixture, then freeze in the ice cream maker. Either way will give you a wonderful finished project.

Since I still have some frozen avocados, I will definitely be making this recipe again.

 

Avocado Gelato

 

3-4 avocados- you want to end up with 2 c. avocado

1 ½ c. half and half

¾ c. sugar- or to your taste

2 T. lemon juice

2 t. vanilla

 

Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor, then process until smooth. If you use frozen avocado, you will have something like an avocado milkshake at this point. Taste it for sweetness level. Once frozen it will taste less sweet, so keep that in mind. You could use honey to sweeten, if you prefer. Just use less. Honey is a lot sweeter than sugar. Put in the freezer. Sometime after it is frozen, you are going to want to process it again. Remove from the freezer. Let stand a few minutes to soften a little. Break into chunks and place in a food processor and process until smooth and creamy. Freeze again until ready to serve- or eat right away. Makes 1 qt.

Easter Egg Biscotti

Easter Egg Biscotti

I get so many requests for this recipe, I decided to post it again. This is a treat from my childhood. Rose Dieglio was the mother of my best friend, Debbi. Rose made these every year, and I loved them. Years later, she was kind enough to share her recipe with me.  I always make a bunch to hand out to friends and family. It is a tradition I enjoy very much.

 

The dough is a type of cookie. You roll the dough out in pieces about the size of eggs. Make an indent in the dough and press in a tinted egg. The egg does not have to be cooked- it will cook when the biscotti bakes.

The dough is a little sticky. Just add a little flour to your fingers when shaping the dough, if needed.

The original recipe calls for shortening. I make them with butter, instead. If you use butter in the dough- chill it before baking.

Once baked, the biscotti can be topped with a powdered sugar glaze and sprinkles, if you like.

Easter Egg Biscotti

1 c. shortening or butter- I use butter*

1 ½ c. sugar

4 eggs

5 t. baking powder

1 t. salt

2 t. vanilla

1 c. milk

6 c. flour

24-30 eggs, plain or dyed

Powdered sugar glaze

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream together butter or shortening and sugar. Beat in eggs. Add next 4 ingredients and blend until smooth. Stir in flour 2 cups at a time. Dough should be pliable. If dough is too sticky add a little more flour. Take a piece of dough about the size of a large egg and place on a greased baking sheet. Indent middle slightly and then place an egg in the center, pressing down slightly. It should look like a nest. Continue with remaining dough allowing about 2-3 inches in between as they spread when baking. You can fit 6-8 on a large baking sheet. Bake 20 –25 minutes or until browned on the bottom. Cool on wire rack before drizzling with frosting. Makes 24-30. Store in fridge.

* If using butter- chill dough a couple of hours before baking.

Sugar glaze

2 c. powdered sugar

2-3 T. milk or orange juice

1 t. vanilla

Food coloring, if desired

Mix together until smooth and of drizzling consistency.

 

Cooling down

Mushroom Paprikash

Mushroom Paprikash

I love cooking with mushrooms, in all sorts of dishes. I also love paprikash.

I normally make chicken paprikash, but I made this version last night, using mushrooms instead. The combination of earthy mushrooms with onions in a creamy sour cream paprika sauce works so well together.

I used chicken broth, but a vegetable broth would also work. Use of the vegetable broth would also make this a great vegetarian dish.

I used baby portobello mushrooms last night, but feel free to play around with which mushrooms you use. I think a mix of wild mushrooms would really make it special.

I used 2 tablespoons of paprika, but I think I might add a little more the next time.

So here is the recipe.

 

Mushroom Paprikash

3 tablespoons butter

1 large onion, chopped

3/4 pound Portobello mushrooms, sliced

1 ½ cups broth – chicken or vegetable

1 ½ cups sour cream

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

2 T. paprika, or to taste

¼ cup chopped fresh parsley

8 ounces dried egg noodles

 

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add egg noodles, and cook until al dente, about 7 minutes. Remove from heat, drain, and set aside. At the same time, melt butter in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Add onion, and cook, stirring until softened. Turn the heat up to medium-high, and add sliced mushrooms. Cook until the mushrooms are limp and browned. Stir in broth, being sure to stir in any browned bits off the bottom of the pan. Bring to a boil, and cook until the mixture has reduced by 1/3.  Remove the pan from the heat, stir together the sour cream, flour and paprika. Blend into the mushroom mixture. Return the skillet to the burner, and continue cooking over low heat, just until the sauce thickens. Stir in the parsley, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve over cooked egg noodles.

 

Easter/ Spring Pierogi

Easter/Spring Pierogi

I already enjoy making pasta with veggie- based dough. The colors are so pretty, and I love the way they taste. So, since it is almost Easter, I went a step further and used my veggie-based dough to make pierogi.

They remind me a little of Easter eggs. They came out so nice, I will be making them on Easter.

I used a potato and cheese filling, so that part is pretty traditional. The pierogi are also a nice choice for a meat-free dinner.

I served them with sauteed onions and sour cream.  Here is the recipe for all.

 

Easter/ Spring Pierogi

 All of the vegetable doughs were mixed using a food processor. If you want to mix them by hand- puree the veggies first.  Once the doughs are made allow them to rest at least 30 minutes. Since veggie pasta dough tends to be a little softer than traditional pasta- I actually prefer to make them a day ahead and chill. Chilling the dough, even for an hour, will help. The traditional pierogi dough was mixed in a stand mixer.

To make the pierogi a little sturdier, you can also make regular pierogi dough and mix a little of that dough in with the veggie-based doughs.

When ready to roll out your dough, grab a hunk of each dough and press them together. If the the dough is a little sticky that will help. Then on a floured surface roll out to the desired thickness. Folding and rolling a couple of times helps to mix up the color pasta better. I use a template to make my pierogi- but you can cut them out with any round cutter or even a glass or jar. Spoon filling of your choice on center of dough circle. Fold dough in half over filling and press edge with fork to seal. Wetting the edge of the dough will help the dough to stick. Don’t overfill or pierogi will split. Test a couple first to get the hang of it. Place a few at a time into salted boiling water and cook until they float. You can eat them as is, or brown cooked pierogi in butter in a skillet. Serve with grilled onions and/or sour cream. We would often make a larger batch and then freeze them, uncooked, on wax paper-lined baking sheets. When frozen they would be transferred to a freezer bag or container. Place right from the freezer into boiling water when ready to use.

 

Carrot Pasta

1 c. flour

1/2 t. dried dill

1/3 c. carrot puree

1-2 T. water, if needed

   Beet Pasta

1 c. flour

1/2 t. dill

1/3 c. beet puree

1-2 T. water, if needed

Spinach Pasta

2 c. flour

1 10 oz. package frozen spinach, cooked, drained, reserving some of the liquid

Mix this dough as for other pastas, but don’t be too quick to add reserved liquid. While kneading you’ll get water out of the spinach. May require more kneading and rolling than other pasta doughs. Be patient, it’s worth the work.

Classic Pierogi Dough

2 c. flour
1 t. salt
½ c. water (you can also use half milk and half water)
1 egg
Mix all ingredients together and knead on floured surface until smooth. Cover and let rest at least 15 minutes. Roll out thin and cut into circles. Re-roll scraps. You should get between 20-30.

 Pierogi Filling

1 lb. Potatoes, peeled and boiled
4 oz. cream cheese – normally I would use farmer’s cheese or cottage cheese, but cream cheese was what I had
1/2 c. shredded cheddar cheese, optional
salt and pepper to taste
Mash potatoes with other ingredients and season to taste.

I usually add some chopped sweet onion to my filling, but one of my guests isn’t crazy about onions, so I am leaving them out. Feel free to add some, if you like.

Honey Bunnies

Honey Bunny

If you are looking for a fun dish to serve for Easter, you might want to bake a batch of bunnies. They can be served with Easter dinner, or with breakfast or brunch.

The honey-sweetened yeast dough is rolled into ropes, and then the ropes are formed into these bunny shapes. Once the rolls are baked, they are brushed with a mixture of warm honey and melted butter. This is a fun recipe to make with kids.

I make them every Easter. Sweet and so cute, they are sure to be a hit when you make them.

The dough is chilled before rolling, so you can mix up a batch in the evening- put in the fridge- then roll them out the next day. They are actually pretty easy to make.

You can add raisin “eyes”, if you like. It is an option.

 

Honey Bunnies

 4-5 c. flour

2 packages yeast

1 t. salt

2/3 c. evaporated milk

½ c. each water, honey and butter

2 eggs

Raisins, optional

Honey glaze

1/2 c. honey and 1/4 c. butter or margarine heated together until warm.

In bowl combine 1 c. flour, yeast and salt. Heat together milk, water, honey and butter until very warm and beat into the flour mixture. Beat 2 minutes on high speed. Beat in 1 cup flour and eggs. Beat 2 more minutes, until batter thickens. Stir in enough flour to make a stiff batter and chill, covered with plastic wrap for 2-24 hours.

Place dough on lightly floured surface and divide into 15 equal pieces. Roll one piece of dough into a 20- inch rope. Cut rope into a 12- inch piece, a 5-inch piece and 3 one-inch pieces. Coil 12 inch piece to form body, five inch piece to form head and one inch pieces to form ears and tail. Place the body on greased cookie sheet and then place the head next to the body, making sure they are touching. Place ears and tail on the bunny, making sure they make good contact with the rest of the “bunny”. I tuck them under a little. Repeat with the remaining dough. Let rise, covered until doubled, about 25 minutes. Bake in a 375-degree oven for 12-15 minutes. Remove to cooling rack and brush with honey glaze. Place raisins on each to make eyes, if you like. Brush with additional glaze before serving, if desired. Makes 15 bunnies.

 

Dough is rolled out and cut into pieces for each of the bunny parts

Dough is rolled out and cut into pieces for each of the bunny parts

Unbaked bunny

Unbaked bunny

A colony of rabbits!!

A colony of rabbits!!

Brushing baked bunnies with honey/butter glaze

Brushing baked bunnies with honey/butter glaze

 

Babka

Classic Babka

What can I say? I am in a nostalgic mood this week. I have been working on my Easter menu and all sorts of favorite foods are being prepared. Babka will be one of them.

Babka is a different bread from most others that I make.  For starters, the recipe makes 6 loaves of bread at once. Great for gift giving in those quantities.

Babka also uses much less flour than most of my bread recipes. Only 8 cups of flour for the 6 loaves. I can use close to 8 cups of flour for 2 loaves of other breads.

The babka dough is really a batter- so sticky you have to oil up your hands to divide the dough into the bread pans.  This very tiny amount of dough rises to fill  9×5-inch bread pans. The result is a bread that is very light with a crunchy exterior and tender interior.

I can’t remember where I got this recipe. I still have the original handwritten recipe, but it isn’t handwriting I recognize. Maybe one day I will figure it out.

In the meantime, I will continue to make babka- and to share it with friends and family.

 

Babka

3 packets active dry yeast
1 c. warm water
1 c. sugar
8 c. bread flour
1 t. salt
5 large eggs
1 stick butter
2 T. oil
Grated rinds of  an orange and a lemon
2 c. warm milk
1 c. raisins
1 egg mixed with 2-t. milk

In bowl combine yeast, water, sugar, 1 c. flour, and salt. Allow to stand 10 minutes. Beat in eggs, butter, oil and grated rinds. Add remaining flour alternately with milk, beating a total of five minutes. Stir in raisins. Dust a large bowl with flour and put in dough. Cover and allow to rise until doubled, about 2 hours. Generously grease loaf pans. This recipe will fill 6 standard loaf pans – 9×5 – inch. Lightly oil hands and divide dough into portions, smoothing tops as you place dough in pans. Cover and allow dough to rise until more than doubled, about 1 hour. Brush loaves with egg and milk mixture. Bake in a preheated 325 degree oven for 1 1/2 hours or until bread is well browned and sounds hollow inside when tapped. Mine is normally done at about an hour and 15 minutes. Cool a few minutes in pans before removing to racks to cool. Babka in great eaten warm from the oven.

Babka dough rising

Babka dough rising

Fresh from the oven

Fresh from the oven

Hot Cross Bun Bread Pudding

Hot Cross Bun Bread Pudding

The first time I made this dish, it was sort of an accident. It was right after Easter, a few years ago. I was having dinner with friends, and I was in charge of making dessert. I had leftover hot cross buns, so I decided to re-purpose them into bread pudding.

The end result was really good. So good, that my friend Amy said it was one of the best desserts I had ever made.

I now bake extra hot cross buns, just so I can make bread pudding from them.

I posted my recipe for hot cross buns yesterday. That inspired one of my friends to remind me about this recipe for bread pudding, so I am posting this recipe today.

You could use home made, or store bought buns for this recipe. Whatever works for you.

 

Hot Cross Buns Bread Pudding

12 c. torn up hot cross buns- I used 8 buns

2 c. half and half

1 c. milk – I used almond milk

1 c. sugar- or less if you are using frosted buns

5 eggs

1 T. vanilla

1 T. cinnamon

Frosting:

1 c. powdered sugar

4 t. milk

In large mixing bowl place the torn up buns. Mix remaining ingredients and pour over the buns. Stir to moisten evenly. Spoon mixture into a buttered 9×13-inch pan. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 35-40 minutes or until bread pudding is set and a little golden on top. While the bread pudding is baking combine powdered sugar with milk to make a frosting thin enough to drizzle. Let bread pudding cool 10 minutes and drizzle with frosting.  Serves 8-10.

 

 

Hot Cross Buns

Hot Cross Buns

These rich rolls are a traditional at Easter. At least they are in my house. The dough is rich and slightly sweet. The frosting on top adds to their sweetness.

Hot cross buns can be served at breakfast, brunch or even as a dinner roll. I have served them with coffee, after dinner. So I guess they can be a dessert, too. I used leftover buns to make bread pudding one year.

Because the dough is rich, they are slow to rise. If they aren’t jumping out of the pan after an hour or so, don’t worry. They do rise quite a bit in the oven.

After they cool a bit- pipe on the icing in the crisscross pattern that gives these rolls their name.

 

Hot Cross Buns

 2/3 c. sugar

1 t. salt

2 packages active dry yeast

About 5 cups bread flour

1 ½ c. milk

½ c. butter

2 eggs

1 c. raisins

Icing

¾ c. powdered sugar

1 T. milk

In bowl combine sugar, salt, yeast and about 1 ½ c. flour. Heat together milk and butter until very warm. Beat milk mixture into to flour mixture and beat 2 minutes with electric mixer. Beat in 1 egg and 1 cup flour and beat 2 more minutes until batter thickens. Stir in raisins and enough additional flour to make a soft dough. Turn dough onto a floured surface and knead until smooth, about 10 minutes. Place dough in greased bowl, turning to grease top, cover with a towel and allow to rise in a draft free place until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.

Place dough on floured surface and divide into 15 equal pieces. Cover with towel and lest rest 15 minutes. Meanwhile grease a 9×13 inch pan. Form dough into smooth balls and place in prepared pan. Cover and let rise until doubled, about an hour. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat remaining egg. Cut a cross in each bun and brush with the egg. Bake for 25 minutes or until buns are golden. Remove buns to wire rack to cool 15 minutes. Make frosting, place in decorating bag and pipe onto buns. Makes 15.

Rainbow Ravioli

Rainbow Ravioli

You are sure to get a smile when you serve rainbow ravioli. These colorful ravioli are made with vegetable-based dough. Recipes for all the pastas and the filling follow below. Unused dough can be frozen and used later. Extra ravioli can also be frozen, so you can make a big batch and enjoy them for several meals. These would be fun to serve for Easter or any Spring dinner.

To make the rainbow effect just grab a piece of the plain dough and add a few pieces of each of the veggie pastas. As you roll out the dough the colors will begin to spread out and blend. I fold and re-roll the dough a few times to get the colors to blend a little more. Every batch is a little different.

I often use a food processor to make pasta dough, especially the vegetable pastas because I use vegetables that need to be pureed. I have a small processor which is perfect for small batches using no more than 1 cup of flour. I often use my stand mixer for larger batches and for plain dough. Always best to make pasta dough at least 30 minutes ahead and let it rest. You can even make it the day before and chill until ready to use.

 

Assorted pastas

Assorted pastas

Cooked beets and flour

Cooked beets and flour

Process until dough forms

Process until dough forms

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Freshly rolled sheets of dough

Freshly rolled sheets of dough

Simmer ravioli 3-5 minutes

Simmer ravioli 3-5 minutes

Ready to enjoy

Ready to enjoy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Basic Homemade Pasta

 3 c. flour

1 1/2 t. salt

4 eggs

Water, if needed

 

Mix flour and salt and stir in eggs, kneading until dough is smooth and elastic. Dough will be very stiff. Add a little water if needed to hold dough together. You may wish to mix the dough in a mixer or food processor. Cover dough and let rest 15-20 minutes before rolling. Under kneading your dough will result in coarse, crumbly pasta. This batch makes about 1 pound. Serves 4-6.

Roll dough out on well floured board or in pasta machine (non-electric) until desired thickness in reached. Add flour as needed to prevent sticking. Cut into strips or whatever shapes are desired. You might want to let the noodles dry 1-hour or more before cooking, but this is not necessary. Pasta can be hung to dry or separated and allowed to dry flat on a table. When pasta is not hanging to dry it must be turned occasionally to dry evenly.      Although you may hear otherwise, homemade pasta, even when dried, should be frozen for long term storage. Storing at room temperature can lead to spoilage. Fresh pasta can also be stored in the refrigerator for a day or two.

 

These are smaller batches which can be mixed in a processor or by hand. If you want to mix a vegetable based pasta by hand, puree the vegetables first.

 

Carrot Pasta

 1 c. flour

1/2 t. dried dill

1/3 c. carrot puree

1-2 T. water, if needed

   Beet Pasta

1 c. flour

1/2 t. dill

1/3 c. beet puree

1-2 T. water, if needed

Spinach Pasta

2 c. flour

1 10 oz. package frozen spinach, cooked, drained, reserving some of the liquid

Mix this dough as for other pastas, but don’t be too quick to add reserved liquid. While kneading you’ll get water out of the spinach. May require more kneading and rolling than other pasta doughs. Be patient, it’s worth the work.

Broccoli Pasta

1 c. flour

1/2 c. broccoli puree

 Ravioli Filling

4 oz. cream cheese, softened

2/3 c. shredded mozzarella cheese

2/3 c. ricotta cheese

1/3 c. grated Parmesan or Romano cheese

Combine all ingredients well and chill until needed.

Roll a batch of dough into  a rectangle, 18×12 inches and 1/16 inch thick. Arrange well rounded teaspoonfuls of the  cheese filling two inches apart on the pasta sheet. Roll out additional dough into an 18×12 inch rectangle. With a pastry brush moisten bottom sheet of pasta around edges with water. Place second sheet of pasta on top, using fingers to seal the dough around the edges of the filling. With a pastry wheel or sharp knife, cut between the ravioli to separate them. You should have 24 ravioli.

To cook the ravioli- just drop them into simmering water and cook 3-5 minutes. If using frozen ravioli increase cooking time by about 2 minutes. Time will differ depending on how thick you rolled the dough and how many you are cooking at one time.

New Release: