Vanilla Biscotti – and the process of thinking

Last night, while I was trotting away on my brand spanking-new treadmill (thanks Dad!), I had an epiphany…

I realized I do my best thinking while I’m exercising.

Which, of course, serves several purposes… mind wanders and I ponder everything…… from what I’m going to cook/bake next, what color scheme to repaint the dining room, and will my neighbors’ pine tree ever run out of needles to shed all over my backyard and into the pool?

Highly unlikely about the pine tree….. much to my dismay……ugh….

The point is…. I am not thinking about how long I’ve been on the treadmill or mountain bike.

Allow me to give you a “for example” …. last week, I was on my usual bike route, but decided to take a detour because I was in the midst of thinking about an important situation that has come up and how I was going to handle it ….that by the time I stopped and looked at my GPS tracker, I discovered that I’d gone 18 miles without even realizing it.

say what?!

But the good news (aside from the fact that my clothes appreciate all the exercise) is that I figured out what I needed to, thought about what to bake (see below), and am secretly plotting the demise of that wretched pine tree………

These biscotti are one of my favorites ~ they keep exceptionally well, they’re light and not tooth-shatteringly crunchy, and lend themselves to a variety of mix-ins ~

Vanilla Biscotti – adapted from a recipe by Gina DePalma

3 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tbs pure vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus additional for rolling the dough
1/4 cup fine cornmeal or instant polenta
3 tsp baking powder

1 tablespoon milk
1 tablespoon raw or demerara sugar

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Place the eggs, sugar, oil and vanilla in a large bowl. Using a whisk, beat them together vigorously for one minute, until light, foamy and slightly thickened.

In another bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, and baking powder until thoroughly blended. Add the dry ingredients to the bowl and using a rubber spatula, mix them together until a thick dough is formed. Let the dough sit for five minutes so the flour can absorb the moisture from the eggs.

While the dough is sitting, line two baking sheets with parchment paper, and lightly grease the parchment.

Divide the dough in half and place on the prepared baking sheets. The dough will be tacky, but easy manage; using floured fingertips (or an offset spatula, which is what I use) shape the dough into a log about 12” long and 2” wide.

Brush the logs with the milk and sprinkle heavily with the sugar.

Bake the logs for 20 to 25 minutes, or until they are puffy, golden brown and firm to touch. Remove the cookie sheet from the oven and turn the temperature down to 300 degrees. Let the logs cool for 15 minutes on the tray.

Use a serrated knife to slice the logs on the bias about ½ of an inch thick and lay them flat on the cookie sheet. Return the slices to the oven and bake for an additional 15 to 20 minutes, or until the slices are browned and toasted. Allow the toasts to cool completely and store them in an air-tight container.


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