The holidays came and went. More like flew by! I made a MESS in the kitchen over the holidays. The best mess had to be gingerbread biscotti from Smitten Kitchen. The smell of baking biscotti swirling through the house made me smile. It smelled warm, inviting and freaking delicious. I’ve never made biscotti before. The thought of baking something twice made it seem hard and labor intensive. How wrong I was!
The ingredient list was not a million miles long and was fairly reasonable. I had all of the spices in the pantry, and everything else was a staple. I’m serious. I bet $5 you can make biscotti now. It’s that simple!
The “forming logs” part was a bit tricky for me, I admit. Only because I had no idea what I was doing. Also, I may have accidentally left out one cup of flour to the batter and had no idea how logs could be form with that mushy mess. Luckily, I realized my mistake and added the cup back in. Saved!
Egg wash was next for the logs and into the oven they went for about 25 minutes. Let them cool on a wire rack for another 20-25 minutes and cut into slices on an angle. Dip the biscotti in a cinnamon/sugar mixture and back in the oven they go, about 12-14 minutes per side. I let my baking time go a little longer than SK’s. I might have crammed too many on my baking sheet, and also, no oven is the same. Adjust the second bake to your liking! Once the second bake is done, transfer to a wire rack and cool.
I wish smell-o-vision was a thing. They smelled amazing and tasted great (or at least I thought they did!). Not too dry, but not soft. I am no longer afraid of biscotti and can’t WAIT to make more.
I mean, c’mon. YUM!
Raisin bread? Yes. Raisin bread. I’ve been wanting to make another bread and raisin bread spoke to me. I don’t know why, but it did. So I went with it. My grandfather also likes a good raisin bread so why not make something that I can share?
I found this recipe on food.com. Yes, world’s best raisin bread, NO bread machine!
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 1 cup warm water (must be between 110-115 degrees)
- 2 (1/4 ounce) packages active dry yeast
- 3 eggs
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup raisins
- 8 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 1 cup white sugar
- 3 tablespoons ground cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted (approx.)
- Warm the milk in a small sauce pan on the stove until it just starts to bubble, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and let cool until lukewarm, about 120-125 degrees.
- Dissolve yeast in warm water and set aside until yeast is frothy, about 10 minutes or so. Mix in eggs, sugar, butter, salt and raisins. Add the flour gradually to make a stiff dough.
- Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface for a few minutes until smooth.
- Place in a large, buttered, mixing bowl and turn to grease the surface of the dough.
- Cover with a warm, damp cloth and let rise until doubled, about 1 1/2 hours.
- Roll out on a lightly floured surface into a large rectangle 1/2 inch thick.
- Moisten the dough with 2 tablespoons milk and rub all over the dough with your hands.
- Mix together 1 cup of sugar and 3 tablespoons cinnamon and sprinkle mixture evenly on top of the moistened dough.
- Roll up tightly (the long way).
- The roll should be about 3 inches in diameter.
- Cut into thirds, and tuck under ends and pinch bottom together.
- Place loaves into well greased 9 x 5 inch pans and lightly grease tops of loaves. Let rise in warm place, uncovered, again for about an hour.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until loaves are lightly browned and sound hollow when tapped. Remove from oven and let cool on rack.
- Take melted butter and spread over tops of loaves.
- After about 20 minutes, lay loaves on their sides and remove from pans. Allow to cool before slicing.
The loaf, upon sharing.
This was the first time I made any kind of sweet bread. I liked it! A lot! And so did my grandfather and other family members that were able to try it. Although it was time consuming, it was pretty simple. If you’re looking to try a sweet bread, I suggest making this one. Try subbing the raisins for other dried fruit if you’re not a raisin fan. This went well with a little bit of butter and a cup of coffee. Just thinking about this makes me want to make it again. Here’s to sweet breads! 😀