I have this really cool new friend, Chriesi, whom I met through the Daring Bakers group. We both joined DB this past month and are of the same persuasion that we will not be REAL Daring Bakers until we have done ALL of the challenges that they have ever done! We are unofficially calling it the "Double DB Challenge". We already did their very first challenge, homemade pretzels, and this month is our second DDB, which was originally done in December 2006 - biscotti from Dorie Greenspan's Baking: From My Home to Yours.
I really enjoyed making this! But I'm not sure if I cooked them long enough the first time - I mean, I followed the recipe times, but since I never made it before I didn't have anything against which to gauge it. I don't *think* I cut them too thick; maybe they should have cooled longer. Mine weren't the typical hard/crunchy that you get in stores but were thick and chewy. Still very substantial and good for dunking, and they seemed to set up a little more over time. I took some to work and my coworkers loved them. One of my friends told me that he would be happy with an entire batch to himself! :) What a compliment, eh?
I didn't get good pictures of the first batch; my camera was really acting up and I took some pics with my phone but can't for the life of me get them to my computer. *sigh* But never fear; I made more!
The weekend of April 18-20 was Spring Homecoming at the school from which I graduated, Mississippi University for Women, called "The W" by those in the know. Since it's a historically women's university (it is coed now, though) we don't have a football team, so we get together every April in Columbus, MS. It is really a blast!
Going in for the last bake
This year, the school's Alumnae Association had a Champagne & Chocolate party on the Friday of Homecoming weekend. Yummy! I decided to make two different types for the weekend: Chocolate with Almonds, Cherries, and Chocolate Chunks *gah!* and Cinnamon dipped in Semisweet Chocolate. *double gah!* I doubled the recipes so I could ensure that I had enough. (I will say, the doubled chocolate recipe made a real mess when I tried to mix the dry ingredients in, but it still did well.)
Ohhhhhh, I had enough, all right - plenty for people to nibble like crazy on and still not put too much of a dent in! People really loved these, and I ended up taking them to a couple of other parties over the course of the weekend, as well. My best friend, M, got a container full of the chocolate ones when I dropped her off at her house on Sunday - she loved them! I think it was the Italian/Sicilian coming out in her. :D Especially since I used the Pernigotti cocoa powder that I get online - heavenly!
Chocolate logs - resting and cooling - see the yummy melted chocolate pieces?
And from this weekend I have created an opportunity for myself! A group of my friends on a listserve have a "secret pal" thing going on. I'm not participating this time, but on the way home I thought that biscotti would be a fun thing to make and send to people's pals, if they so desired. I made the offer and I have the begninnings of several orders - a couple of people wanted some for themselves, as well! This is really going to be cool....
....however long it lasts! :)