I know that I have been gone for a little while. I had to have a colonoscopy at the beginning of this week thus inhibiting me to eat for a few days. Why am I telling you this? I am hoping to get a little more awareness out there for colon cancer and colon cancer screenings. My dad was diagnosed at39 with 2 large tumors in his colon. It was so far advanced that he died 2 years later. Colon cancer has a really high survival rate, like 90%, if detected early through regular screenings. I was supposed to have a colonoscopy several years ago but I kept putting it off. You know, it doesn't sound too fun and, after all, I am pretty young. Finally after a little coercion from my doctor I scheduled one. How grateful I am too. The doctor found one precancerous polyp and because of my early screening, I was able to have it removed. In all honesty, the colonoscopy wasn't so bad and the alternative would have been much worse. So, if you are over the age of 50 or know someone who is, urge them to get their colonoscopy. If you have a family history of colon cancer you need to get checked earlier and possibly more frequently. Ok, now that my 2 cents on the matter is through, I will get back to the food!
I was looking through my pantry yesterday trying to come up with something to make. I found a small bag of almond meal that I had left over from the opera cakes and also a large bag of almonds. As soon as I saw the almonds my mind drifted back to my college days when I would grab a hot chocolate and an almond biscotti almost daily from the coffee shop on campus. I loved biting into the crunchy cookie and getting a bite of the toasty almonds inside. Normally I like to use almond extract in my biscotti to bring out the almond flavor but a check in my pantry and I was all out. I searched through my spices thinking maybe about anise, but I was all out of it too. So now it was off to my fridge where I discovered a small piece of ginger leftover from the previous nights dinner. This was it, I love that little hint of flavor that ginger brings to desserts. It's a very subtle taste when used in small amounts and makes others wonder what it is that you put in there. When using ginger in desserts I like to grate it over a microplane to insure that there are no large pieces. As mentioned before, I had some almond meal (ground blanched almonds) leftover that I wanted to use up so I threw that in too for a little change in the texture. If you don't have this you can just substitute an equal amount of flour.
Almond Ginger Biscotti
1 1/4 cups whole unblanched almonds
7 Tbs. cold butter, cut into small pieces
3/4 granulated sugar
1 1/ cups all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. grated fresh ginger
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg white , lightly beaten, for brushing
!/2 cup chocolate chips
1 Tbs. heavy cream to thin chocolate if needed
1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Spread the almonds onto a baking sheet and toast for about 10 minutes, stirring as necessary, until fragrant. Remove from the oven and spread almonds onto a plate to cool. Adjust oven temperature to 350 and line the baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Place the remaining ingredients into the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix ingredients until a soft dough forms. Place dough onto a lightly floured surface and shape into 3 pieces. Place in the refrigerator for to chill for about 30 minutes or until no longer sticky. Taking one piece at a time, roll the dough into thin ropes. They should be as long as the baking sheet and only about 1/2 inch thick (they will spread considerably). Bake only 2 at a time as they spread. Brush with the egg white and sprinkle with the sugar. Bake for about 22-27 minutes or until golden brown.
3. Remove parchment paper from pan and while still warm, slice the biscotti on the diagonal with a serrated knife. Do not use a sawing motion as this will cause the biscotti to crumble, instead cut straight down. The biscotti will harden as they cool but if you would like them crisper lower oven to 300 degrees and bake for another 10 minutes. repeat with the remaining piece of dough, or store in the freezer for up to 2 weeks.
4. Melt the chocolate in the microwave stirring every 10 seconds, until melted. Add the cream to thin out if desired. Place the chocolate into a Ziploc bag and snip off the corners. Drizzle over the cooled biscotti and let sit until chocolate is set.