Cardamom Biscotti

Sometimes it just has to go cardamom in my kitchen.  I start dreaming about flavour swaps and find my hands magically clutching a baggie of army-green pods from that crazy mishmash called my spice drawer. I hold the bag and … sigh.

No, I start cussing, wondering aloud if I have the cooking mojo in me to ferret out their cache.  Will my cold, stiff fingers find the fortitude to single out each and every one of these tiny seeds that bear an uncanny resemblance to mouse turds?

Cardamom pods aren’t like those happy, smiling pistachio nuts, each cracked and cooperative. These babies are sealed shut like an exotic, perfumed temptress.

Thus, they bring out the pounder in me.

I’ve tried crushing them under my chef’s knife like garlic cloves –  but lo, they slide and slither.  I’ve grabbed a sheet of wax paper and hammered a rolling pin over them a few times, to absolutely no avail, except for a heap of shredded wax paper.

Luckily, an adorable silver mortar and pestle comes to my rescue.

I throw a handful of pods in the bowl and happily clunk the silver pestle down until I hear crunch after satisfying crunch, splitting and cracking, dispersing their wealth.

The very first pod reaps a clump of tar-black seeds.  I can hear my East Indian cooking teacher intoning “Only the black ones are good” as I crack open pod after pod that she’d obviously throw out.  A sliver fuzzy membrane is scattered among my largely brown, verging on beige collection. I drop it all into my spice grinder and grimace, again, because fifteen minutes of finicky fine motor work hasn’t even covered my spice grinder’s blade!

Despite this ominous beginning, the seeds whirl into a satisfying silvery and soft powder that trails up into my waiting nostrils with an explosion of menthol and sweet, peppery perfume that is unmistakably cardamom.

Why don’t I just throw up a white flag and buy it ground?

Because I want flavour. Whole spices that are crushed or ground right before use, release essential oils full of oomph.  And oomph is what I have planned for this special little biscotti  packed with toasted almonds and pumpkin seeds, filled with organic flours, eggs, sugar and vanilla then made perfect thanks to cardamom in the batter. I finish each and every log of biscotti dough with a sparkle of cardamom sugar.

Just a pinch will do it.

 

Cardamom Biscotti

I really can’t live in a house without biscotti. They are my go-to cookie and a welcome gift to friends and family . Thanks to the double bake, they store for weeks, even months in a closed glass container and travel well on airplanes and road trips.

Biscotti Batter:

1 cup whole, raw almonds

½ cup pumpkin seeds

1 ¼ cup organic all purpose flour

1 ¼ cup organic soft whole wheat flour

1 1/4 cups organic granulated sugar

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp ground cardamom

1/2 tsp salt

4 large eggs

3 tsp vanilla

The Finishing Touches:

1-3 tbsp flour (for rolling out logs)

½ tsp ground cardamom

1 tbsp organic granulated

Preheat oven to 350 ° F.

To toast almonds, arrange on a baking sheet and bake for 5 minutes. Add pumpkin seeds to the sheet and bake another 5 minutes. Allow nuts and seeds to cool completely.

In a large bowl, combine flours, sugar, baking powder, cardamom and salt. Use a whisk to mix thoroughly.

Whisk eggs and vanilla in bowl of an electric mixer until frothy. Use the paddle attachment to mix in flour and sugar mixture.  As soon as the dough clumps around the paddle, add toasted almonds and pumpkin seeds and mix until just combined.

Dust countertop with flour. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.

Spoon out one quarter of the sticky dough, dust lightly with flour and working quickly, roll into a 8-10 inch log. Transfer log to baking sheet. Repeat 3 times.

In a small bowl, mix sugar and cardamom.  Sprinkle over logs with pinched fingers.

Bake for 30 minutes or until biscotti logs are golden and firm. Completely cool logs on a rack for at least 30 min.  Using a serrated knife, cut crosswise into 3/4 inch wide slices.  Arrange cut side down on baking sheets and return to 350 oven for 10-15 minutes or until golden-brown and crisp.

5 responses to “Cardamom Biscotti

  1. DonnaLee Holwerda

    Can almost smell it from my house. Looks wonderful too. Good the hear your voice again. Have you been hibernating this winter? This snow is quite something!!! Rare for us that it stays this long , and keeps coming. I dare say I’ve shoveled enough, thank you very much. We’re also just digging out from an accident Mitchell had mid January where he broke his pelvis. He fell from a ladder onto concrete (cleaning eaves). It was a tough first few weeks but I think he’s close to being more independent and able. Phew!!! Hope all is well with you and yours, See you at Pilates? Donnalee

    ________________________________

  2. Avoided work and made your biscotti this afternoon. They were awesome! I have a favourite orange almond biscotti recipe that’s similar in that there’s no butter or oil. Convinced it’s the egg sugar proportions with little or no oil that create the fab texture! So much better than traditional biscotti.

    • Thanks, Deb! You have always been the most loyal of food testers. I am glad you like these cardamom babies. Pls share you orange almond biscotti recipe, if able!

      • Here you go. Try it out and let me know what you think. And my mistake – there is 1 Tbsp of oil.

        ALMOND ORANGE BISCOTTI
        2¼ cups all-purpose flour
        1¼ cups sugar
        2 tsp baking powder
        pinch salt
        3 eggs, lightly beaten
        1 Tbsp canola oil
        ¼ tsp almond extract
        finely grated zest of 1 orange
        ½ cup chopped almonds

        Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
        Place a sheet of parchment paper on cookie sheet.
        In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
        Make a well in the centre of the mixture. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well to form a dough.
        Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and shape into two 2 logs (1″ high x 2½” wide x 8″ long).
        Transfer to prepared baking sheet. Gently press to slightly flatten top surface of each log.
        Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until lightly golden. Cool on wire rack for 15 minutes.
        Reduce oven temperature to 300°F.
        Carefully transfer logs to a cutting board. Using a serrated knife, slice each log crosswise, on a slight diagonal, into 1/2- inch-thick slices.
        Return slices, cut-side down, in a single layer, on the baking sheet.
        Bake for 10 to 12 minutes; remove from oven, carefully flip over each slice and continue to bake 10 to 12 minutes or until cut surfaces of biscotti begin to turn golden brown.
        Cool on baking sheet 5 minutes, then transfer biscotti to a wire rack and cool completely.
        *Biscotti may be made and stored at room temperature in an airtight container for 3 days or frozen for up to 3 months.

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