Have Some Coffee With That Coffee

So, remember those fancy little Starbucks VIA samples? They were delicious and awesome, and I almost drank all of the coffee before I was able to make anything fun with it. This is good for Starbucks, but bad for this blog, so I kept a few of those samples and turned them into…Orange-Mocha Biscotti!

Yep, there’s coffee in the biscotti, so you get to dip coffee in your coffee. It’s really kind of meta.

Orange zest, dark cocoa, and almonds round these out quite nicely. And, well, give the biscotti a flavor other than coffee. So you can distinguish them, of course.

The Recipe: Orange-Mocha Biscotti
(inspired by Starbucks VIA and Martha Stewart’s Almond-Ginger Biscotti)

Yield: several dozen, depending on slice thickness
Time: 4 hours (including 2 hours cooling)

2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar, plus 1 teaspoon for dusting
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons grated orange zest (one large orange)
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup almonds
2 packets VIA Colombia microground coffee
2 tbsp dark cocoa
3 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract

Do This
Preheat the oven to 350, and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
Whisk together the flour, 3/4 cup sugar, baking powder, salt, orange zest, cocoa powder, and VIA.
In another (smaller) bowl, whisk together the eggs and vanilla. Fold this into the dry ingredient mixture, and mix into a dough. Incorporate the almonds once the dough is workable — it’s likely to be dry and crumbly at first, then suddenly sticky and messy, so I suggest running some water in the sink before you get your hands in the dough.
Shape the dough into two logs, and place on the parchment-lined baking sheet. Aim for logs that are 1″ high and 3″ wide, but don’t feel bad if the dough won’t play nice — just try to get a consistent shape. You can work wonders with clever slicing after the dough is baked.
Sprinkle sugar on the logs, and slide them into the oven for half an hour. The biscotti logs should puff out and firm up (and may crack a bit). Pull them from the oven after 30 minutes, and cool on wire racks for two hours. Don’t throw away the parchment paper; you’re going to need it again for the second baking.
Once the logs are cooled, grab the biggest serrated knife you have, and start slicing. Turn the logs to a diagonal, and start slicing off 1/4″ biscotti. Lay these slices flat on that parchment-lined baking sheet from earlier, and toast them in the oven for 10 minutes on each side.
Cool the biscotti completely before serving and storing. In an airtight container, these babies will be good for several weeks…if you still have any left.

My favorite thing about these biscotti is that they’re not overly sweet — I leave the sweet/bitter ratio of coffee up to the drinker, because there’s such a range. I enjoy my coffee with zero additions, but sugar and cream are totally welcome complements to your coffee & biscotti.

And yes, that is a Starbucks mug. It seemed right.

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Got A Spare?

Rib, that is? Tonight’s dinner is pork spare ribs, done up in the oven with a delightful orange-juice-and-BBQ-sauce that I found over at Cooking For Engineers.

1 bottle of Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ sauce + 1/2 cup orange juice + 1 rack pork spare ribs = delicious fall-off-the-bone dinner.

This is a definite win. It’s tangy, tender, and absolutely tasty.

First off, whoever invented this sauce? Brilliant. It’s so incredibly simple, but it doesn’t skimp on flavor.

I was a little bummed out that we weren’t going to grill these spare ribs…until I noticed how good the sauce/orange juice combo smelled coming from my oven.

I definitely recommend taking the foil off for the last 15 minutes of cooking. I’ve heard that these ribs are even better when they’re grilled for a few minutes at the end, but I’ll leave that for another time.

Can we have these again tomorrow?

We’ll Win The Game (Or Know The Reason Why)

Ohio State vs. USC! Let’s go Bucks!

There are buckeyes chilling in my fridge right now. Of course.

In old Ohio there’s a team
That’s known thru-out the land;
Eleven warriors, brave and bold,
Whose fame will ever stand.
And when the ball goes over,
Our cheers will reach the sky,
Ohio field will hear again
The Buckeye Battle Cry:

Drive! Drive on down the field,
Men of the scarlet and gray;
Don’t let them thru that line,
We have to win this game today,
Come on, Ohio!
Smash through to victory.
We cheer you as you go:
Our honor defend
So we’ll fight to the end for O-HI-O!

Date Night

Oops, I mean Date-Nut. As in, Date-Nut Bread.

Dates and pecans? Go really well together. I’m a fan. This is like banana bread, but better (shh…don’t tell B!). And as much as I hate processed “butter” spreads, it tastes really good slathered with Country Crock.

I snagged the recipe from Good Housekeeping. I fully endorse it.

Also: go with fresh dates. Canned ones are for lazy people :)

I Can’t Post Yet Because It’s In The Mail And I Don’t Want To Ruin Any Surprises

A fabulous pal from Starbucks sent me some VIA samples, and I’ve been having fun incorporating them into some sweet treats.

There’s a batch of my favorites on its way back to her office, so I won’t ruin the surprise, but here are some gratuitous teaser photos :)

And one more hint, inspired by the VIA packets. These treats are best enjoyed:

Cherry, Walnut, and Lots of Chocolate

I remixed my Toll House Remix cookies. This time, cherry extract and chopped walnuts share the stage with all of that chocolate. I also topped the cookies with walnuts, but that was mainly to distinguish them from the other batches of chocolate-y cookies I was making.

Not surprisingly, these are delicious dunked in ice cold milk.