A trip and Sweet Treats — Un voyage et des délices sucrés

biscotti vanilla pistachios pecans

Vanilla-Pistachio Biscotti

After I looked around the living room where our suitcases laid wide open, I felt thrilled. In the end, I had managed to finish my baking project on time, and was excited to wrap a few boxes of homemade treats between thick piles of clothes. I packed two batches of dark chocolate truffles, with a first box full of cardamom-flavored ones, the second box with truffles flavored with lavender, and coated in thinly chopped unsalted bright green pistachios (I used the same ganache recipe). And I also prepared biscotti for us to nibble on in the plane, and to enjoy on the ski slopes, if they last that far.

Since I could not choose between vanilla and chocolate, as I like them equally as much, I divided my batter in two halves, and flavored them with both. Some biscotti had pistachios, others pecans. I also used quinoa and brown rice flours, for enhanced taste, and making anyone sensitive to gluten, or wheat, happy. Perhaps you’ve been wondering why you’ve seen so many gluten-free recipes over your more recent visits. Since I do not necessarily want to bore you with the details (believe me, it is a long story, and you might give up before the end), let’s just say that I have been avoiding gluten over the last few months, and thus I have happily cooked, and baked, with wonderful alternative flours. Needless to say that I have been challenged, but in a good way. In a really nice way, as a matter of fact!

So tomorrow, we are off. We are leaving for the French Alps, to even snowier landscapes. There will be a lot of skiing, walking, baking, cooking, playing, and mostly relaxing moments. Truly, we are now ready for each of the previous. But I could not leave before taking a last walk by the Charles river close to our house, after the last snowfall we’ve had a few days ago. New Englanders will experience a beautiful white Christmas, for it is not snow that is lacking this winter around here. We’ve had plenty.

So my dear readers, and friends, I will be back soon, with stories and I hope, new cooking inspirations. We will be in France, Ireland, and Denmark. A big program! And since this is my first time in Denmark, I have all the intentions to explore its food scene, at least as much as I can. I will try to be good, and not buy too many Danish objects while I am there (or P. wishes so). Have I told you before how much I liked Danish design?

A bientôt ! I wish you a very happy end of year!

Oh, and I am SO glad we are not flying Air France! I hope that you are not either.

Cocoa Pecan Biscotti

Pistachio Coated Lavender-Infused Chocolate Truffles

Pistachio Lavender-Infused Dark Chocolate Truffle

See the recipe I wrote for the Boston Globe here and use the same ganache; substitute the cardamom pods for 2 tsp culinary lavender, and the unsweetened cocoa to coat for finely chopped unsalted green shelled pistachios (I use Iranian or Sicilian pistachios, as their green color is amazing).

Vanilla and Cocoa, Pecan Biscotti (gluten free)

You need:

  • 1 cup pecans (or pistachios)
  • 7 Tbsp butter, soft
  • 3/4 cup blond cane sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean, split in two halves, seeds scraped out
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup quinoa flour*
  • 1/2 cup brown rice flour*
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted

*If you prefer, you can subsitute these flours for All-purpose flour, although I recommend using quinoa and brown rice for taste, and nutrients.

Steps:

  • Preheat your oven at 350 F. Place the nuts on a baking sheet, and place in the oven for 5 min. Remove and let cool before chopping them coarsely; set aside.
  • With an electric mixer, work the butter and sugar into a smooth paste, then add the eggs, one after the other. Wait until the first is well incorporated before adding the second.
  • Add the vanilla seeds, and mix.
  • In a large bowl, mix together the two flours, baking powder and salt. Add these dry ingredients to the previous batter, and mix only enough for everything to be homogeneous.
  • Divide the batter in two halves, and add 2 Tbsp cocoa to one, and mix. Divide the nuts between the two batters. Shape each into a log (put flour on your hands to do so, as the batter is sticky).
  • Place the logs on a baking sheet, not too close to each other as they will expand, and flatten slightly into a rectangular. Cook for about 30 min. Remove and let cool for 20 min.
  • Reduce the oven temperature to 320 F.
  • With a serrated knife, cut each log in 1/3″ slices at a slight diagonal, and place them flat on the baking sheet again. Cook for 10 to 15 more min. Remove and let cool on a rack. These biscotti keep well for a week in an air-tight metallic box. They keep a little less than similar biscotti without butter.
Le coin français
Biscotti vanille, cacao et pécanes (sans gluten)

Ingrédients :

  • 90 g de pécanes (ou pistaches vertes non salées)
  • 100 g de beurre, mou
  • 150 g de sucre de canne blond
  • 1 gousse de vanille, fendue et grattée
  • 2 oeufs
  • 90 g de farine de quinoa*
  • 90 g de farine de riz complet*
  • 1 càc de levure chimique
  • 1/4 càc de sel
  • 2 càs de cacao en poudre non sucré, tamisé

*Si vous préférez, vous pouvez remplacer les farines de quinoa et de riz complet par de la farine T45, mais je conseille le quinoa et le riz complet pour plus de goût, et de meilleurs éléments nutritifs.

Étapes :

  • Préchauffez votre four à 180 C. Faites griller les noix de pécanes pendant 5 min, sur une plaque de cuisson. Laissez-les refroidir, et hachez-les grossièrement. Réservez.
  • Avec un mixeur électrique, travaillez le beurre et le sucre en pommade, puis ajoutez les oeufs, un à un. Assurez-vous que le premier est bien incorporé avant d’ajouter le suivant.
  • Ajoutez les graines de vanille.
  • Dans un saladier, mélangez les farines, la levure et le sel. Ajoutez ces ingrédients secs à la pâte précédente, et mélangez juste assez pour que la pâte soit homogène.
  • Divisez la pâte en deux, et ajoutez 2 càs de cacao tamisé à une moitié. Divisez les noix concassées entre les deux. Formez deux gros boudins (farinez vos mains car la pâte colle).
  • Mettez-les sur une plaque de cuisson, pas trop proches l’un de l’aure, et aplatissez-les légèrement sous forme de rectangle. Glissez au four pendant 30 min environ. Sortez, et laissez refroidir pendant 20 min.
  • Réduisez la température du four à 160 C.
  • Coupez des tranches régulières en biais dans chaque boudin, et posez-les sur la plaque de cuisson. Remettez au four pendant 10 à 15 min. Laissez ensuite refroidir sur une grille. Les biscotti peuvent être conservés pendant 1 semaine dans une boîte métallique. Ils ne se gardent pas aussi longtemps que des biscotti sans beurre.
Posted in Uncategorized | 49 Comments

49 comments

  1. Have a wonderful time! I’m so excited for you and P. All your snacks look wonderful. I thought the truffle was coated with green tea until I read the caption :) Happy Holidays, Bea!

  2. De chouettes photos! Bonnes fêtes à toi et merci pour ce joli billet!
    PS: je craque pour la seconde photo!

  3. May all of your sweet treats arrive at their destination in good shape!
    Have a fantastic trip,

  4. These photos are absolutely stunning, Bea, and I love the biscotti and truffles – they look amazing. Have a wonderful and safe Christmas!

  5. Great looking truffles. Hope you have a great time in Copenhagen! It’s a lovely city with loads of gastronomic things going on. You might wanna check out Meyers Deli on Gammel Kongevej – it’s one of the top deli’s in the country with loads of Nordic stuff. The food to eat and take away is also great. Try his apple products, balsamic apple vinegar, varietal apple juices etc, they are excellent.

  6. Hi Bea! If you need any ideas for when in Denmark, or if you need a guide in Copenhagen, let me know! I’ll be out of town for a couple days during Christmas, but if I’m here when you are, I’d be happy to show you some of the town I love so much. Hope you have a great trip and a lovely Christmas!

  7. Have a nice trip! I had to comment on your lavender truffles coated with pistachio. I recently made truffles coated in pistachio, but I did not chop/grind them as finely as you did. I really like how yours look, so I’ll adopt your method next time. The green is brighter too. I also really like the idea of pistachio flavor with lavendar.
    Julie

  8. J’ai demandé au père noel un cours de photo chez béa, j’espère qu’il m’écoutera ;-) c’est juste divin, comme toujours! très bonnes fetes et joyeux noel! biz

  9. Passe de tres bonnes fetes de Noel et du Jour de l’An! Tu m’epates a emballer des truffes dans tes valises! Amuses toi bien sur les pistes!

  10. Have a beautiful voyage, Bea! And when you return, I hope we hear a little more about your gluten-free adventure. I hope you are feeling well. Warm regards, Karina

  11. Bonne Vacances et un merveilleux Noël , Béatrice. It’s the first time I post a comment here. But, after having been a silent admirer for months – I wanted to thank you. Thank you for your inventivity , your generosity… It’s a wonderful blog!

  12. I would never have thought to use quinoa flour to bake biscotti. I love using quinoa as a side dish and in soups. And the finished products look divine. Enjoy your trip.

  13. Thank you for the beautiful pictures of my old home-Boston-and all the great recipes throughout the year. I hope some baggage handler doesn’t sneak into your luggage and take all your delicious goodies! Have a wonderful holiday.

  14. Bea, your snow photos are gorgeous. Are they taken in Boston? I cannot believe it looks like that…it never looked so good when I was there!

  15. Have a wonderful holiday, Bea! Thanks for your wonderful blog :). And do report back on Denmark – it’s a place I’ve always wanted to visit!

  16. Such beautiful photos – thank you for posting them. Well, it is Xmas Eve here, and time for me to wish all of my blog friends a wonderful time with family and friends tomorrow. May it be a peaceful and blessed day where we can give a lot of joy to those around us. Have a great day.

  17. Buon viaggio e tanti auguri!
    I’ve made some pistacchio and white cioccolate tartufini me also, but yours looks best :-)

  18. Dear Bea,
    these are such gorgeous and heart warming images! My favorite is the Cardinal. I miss their brilliant red and their majestic, yet friendly demeanor the most, there are none here in Vienna to brighten the grey days. Do I have to mention that your sweets as always are the most tempting around? Makes me want to go right now to the kitchen and try to recreate some of them. ;-)
    Thank you for your wonderful gifts you share with us throughout the year.
    I wish you the most wonderful holidays imaginable and may the New Year bring you and your loved ones nothing happiness.

  19. Hi Béa
    Je suis tomber amoureux avec tout les photos..ils sont tres belles…

    Bonne Année et bonne vacances

  20. Tes photos d’extérieur donnent envie de se réfugier avec un chocolat chaud et tes biscotti près du feu de cheminée !

  21. Le menu de cette fin d’année :
    Pain surprise d’amitié,
    Petits canapés de bonheur,
    Feuilletés de succès sur son lit de réussite,
    Fricassée de bonne santé,
    Friandises de chance,
    Poêlée de tendresse en habit de sourire
    Café au sucre d’amour.
    A tout cela nous rajoutons les rires multicolores en petites bulles pétillantes.
    Je te souhaite une Bonne et Heureuse Année 2008.

  22. Hi Bea,

    I have been following your blog for a while and love the beautiful pictures and recipes. I tried your Berry Brioche pudding – it was amazing cold the next morning for breakfast.

    Lavender sounds intriguing. I have been trying to make a trip to Penzeys for a while to try and pick it up, but haven’t gotten around to it yet.

    Happy new year – and keep up the amazing work. I hope someday I will learn to take pictures as good as yours:)

  23. Call it a bit of post-holiday doldrums, but I find myself trolling sites this morning looking for more baking ideas. I do believe I am insane, but though I have just finished a whirlwind in the kitchen, I find myself (gasp!) missing it! The lovely little treats may be this little bit of busy work I needed. Thanks and all the best to you for another beautiful year!

  24. Happy New Year, all the best! I don’t know yet what I do like best, your recipes or your marvellous photos? :)

  25. Béa, les photos sont magnifiques, les biscottis aussi….je voudrais qu’il soit Noel demain :)

    Your blog has such a taste of home.

    Thank you so much :)

  26. You’re extraordinary..who are you?:)) Excellent pictures, recipes, the combination of your colors create harmony, luxury and romantic moods. Well done.

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