Orange Scented Biscotti with Almonds and Chocolate Chips

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As you may or may not know, I grew up in a small ski resort in the Eastern Sierras.  Growing up, I was surrounded by kids competing to be the best skier or snowboarder or skater or whatever else and honestly, I didn’t get it.  You need skill and practice to be the best at something, but more than that, you need passion.  Because you can only break so many bones or get last place so many times before you’re going to feel like kicking off your boots and going the hell home. But it’s the passion for the sport that will keep you going.

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I never understood why a sport could be more important than school or why doing that sport day after day could be higher priority than a social life.  The reason I didn’t get it was because I SUCK at skiing and snowboarding! Okay maybe that’s not why.  But in all honesty, I wasn’t passionate about anything in high school.  I went to school, I played volleyball, I hung out with my friends, but I wasn’t the best at anything and I didn’t care to be.  I didn’t feel motivated to do anything and life was painstakingly mundane.  I was depressed in high school and anxious and I probably couldn’t have survived without some truly amazing friends who may have been going through their on angsty teen stuff as well.

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But now that I’m going to be 20 years old in a couple weeks, it’s as if my life has taken on a whole new light.  High school is only a couple years in the past, but for the first time EVER, I feel passionate.  I can spend two hours trying to make the perfect macaron and then when they turn out like total crap, I will try for four more hours until they are right!  That in its self is proof that I’m not the best baker, but also that maybe someday I could be.  It’s almost a little embarrassing that I’ve waited my whole life to figure out what drives me and it turns out it’s cookies.  But the point is, it feels good to love to do something every day.  To be motivated.  To have goals.  To have plans for the future (pastry school ?).  And the funny thing about it is that I was so close all along.  The thing that made me the happiest in a time that was emotional and chaotic for me, was going to a cafe with my mom and sitting down with a cup of tea and a biscotti (or a scone or a cookie…you get the picture).

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Anyways, enough of the mushy, self-reflection stuff.  Let’s talk about crunchy, dip-able biscotti.  I made a slightly different version of this recipe a couple weeks ago with candied ginger and dipped in chocolate.  I would suggest trying those ones too!  Instead of ginger and molasses, these have orange zest, almonds, and chocolate chips.  They’re crunchy (but not jaw-breaking).  Simply delightful by themselves or with a cup of tea.  Enjoy 🙂

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RECIPE (adapted from Pastry Affair): 

biscotti:

– 2 cups all-purpose flour

– 1 tsp baking soda

– 1/2 tsp salt

– 1/4 cup butter

– 1/2 cup granulated sugar

– 2 large eggs

– 1 tsp vanilla extract

– zest of 1 orange

– 3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

– 1/2 cup sliced almonds

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt.  Set aside.  In a large mixing bowl, beat together butter and sugar until fluffy.  Add the eggs one at a time and beat until combined.  Mix in the vanilla extract and orange zest.  Gradually add the flour, baking soda, salt mixture in until combined.  Stir in the chocolate chips and almonds.  Dough will be sticky.

On a floured surface, form the dough into a long 10-12 inches long and 2-3 inches wide.  Transfer log onto baking sheet.  Bake for 25-30 minutes until the top is golden colored and cracked on the top.  Allow to cool for ten minutes.  Slice the log into 1/2 inch slices.  Lay on their sides and bake for 8-10 minutes.  They will be slightly browned.  Turn cookies over and bake for another 8-10 minutes.  Allow to cool.  Serve with coffee or tea.  Enjoy 🙂

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