There are LOTS of Chinese headed to the United States these days.
What with the Chinese becoming, well let’s just say it: increasingly wealthy at an alarmingly rapid pace, (especially compared to their recession-shocked American counterparts), they can afford to.
They are going for school, to see the Statue of Liberty, to visit their grandkids, and to gamble in Vegas. Seriously. Vegas. Baby.
All of these globe-trotting Chinese need visas though which means they need to go see people like my husband; and frankly, there just aren’t enough people like him…both in terms of how awesome he is and well, in terms of his role giving/denying visas to Vegas-bound Chinese citizens.
Where am I going with this?
If you guessed “a highly thought-provoking essay on U.S.-China trade relations and China as an emerging world power” oooh I’m sorry, not this post.
Though I promise some heady intellectual rifts on China coming soon.
Today what we are here for is to talk about how my husband is currently working Saturdays to keep up with the flood of Chinese heading to the States this summer.
It could be worse. He is employed after all-and making overtime. Oh, and they told him he could wear jeans.
Yay for casual…Saturdays?
So what’s an unemployed, temporary housewife to do when her husband’s weekend has been cut in half?
The correct answer is probably not to get excited to schedule coffee dates and pool time with the girls, though that might be happening too.
No seriously, I’m planning some serious TLC for the bread-winner of this family including a big eggs and pancake breakfast, the promise of a post-work date night and back rub, and a bunch of these biscotti for the office.
The Hubs has had a lingering biscotti request in the baking queue for awhile now. He’s usually a big fan of my Cranberry-Pistachio holiday biscotti; but given that cranberries and pistachios cost about $20 for 1/2 a pound here, it might be awhile before he gets a batch of those. $40 dollar biscotti sounds just a little too crazy, even to me.
So instead, I found this recipe. It didn’t require cranberries, pistachios or anything else that sells for $10 or $20 a pound at the import-food stores.
The recipe called for absolutely zero lemon zest (and after the 11 lemons I zested sans microplane last week for this delicious lemon pound cake, I think it will be awhile before I want to see zest in a recipe).
These biscotti seemed like an easy-on-the-whisking-arm sort of recipe.
And it they were. They were super easy. Like, no-excuse-for-ever-buying-a-$3.00-biscotti-from-Starbucks-again-easy. They are also tasty, lightly sweet, and really, really dunkable.
And friends, dunkability is important when you are working coffee-fueled-Saturdays.
I’ll be straight with you: I still prefer my cranberry-pistachio biscotti, but these are a fine substitute and perfect for those days when you want to bake something quick without running out to buy some exotic ingredients.
If you use some really nice cinnamon and pull out your zester to add a little lemon zest, I think these would be even better.
My first batch didn’t have a ton of cinnamon flavor but I blame that on Carrefour and the fact that the Chinese aren’t exactly regular cinnamon purchasers.
I’m pretty sure that the cinnamon I used lost its potency about 3 years ago and was just sitting at the back of the Carrefour shelf waiting for someone as desperate as me to come along and buy it anyway.
All was not lost though because, when I went searching for cinnamon at the grocery store, I also found some cheap and fragrant star anise which added a nice bright bit of spice to these cookies and played a strong supporting role to the cinnamon in it’s half-hearted attempt at flavor.
Anyways, bad cinnamon and good star anise aside, you should make these biscotti next time you or someone you know has to work Saturdays. They will appreciate it. And if you bring in enough for them to share with their coworkers, well you might just make them a true Office-style hero.
Adapted from Epicurious/Bon Appetit
* consider adding some lemon zest and/or 1/2 teaspoon of ground star anise or regular anise-I think it does something nice
1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. (Honestly you can use 1 tray, I always do and it works just fine-aluminum foil can also replace the parchment paper should you live in a country where there is none)
2. Mix flour, 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon, baking powder and salt in medium bowl to blend.
3. Using electric mixer (or a whisk), beat 1 cup sugar and butter in large bowl until fluffy.
3. Add eggs one at a time; beat well. Add egg yolk; beat well.
4. Mix in vanilla, then dry ingredients.
5. Transfer dough to work surface. Divide in half. Shape each half into 9-inch-long, 1 1/2-inch-wide log. Transfer logs to baking sheets. (To save time, space and the anxiety of transferring a raw log of dough from one surface to another, I just divide the dough in half in the bowl, form it into a vaguely log shape in my hands and smooth it out right on the baking sheet-skipping a second work surface entirely)
6. Brush logs with reserved egg-white.
7. Bake until golden and firm to touch (dough will spread), about 30-40 minutes. Cool on baking sheets. Maintain oven temperature.
8. Mix 3 tablespoons sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon in small bowl to blend.
9. Using serrated knife, cut logs into 1/2-inch-wide diagonal slices. Place biscotti, cut side down, on baking sheets. Sprinkle 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon sugar over each biscotti.
10. Bake until pale golden, about 15-20 minutes. Cool on racks. (Can be made 1 week ahead. Store in airtight container.)