Matthew turned two on Sunday. Can you believe this sweet little baby is now a curly-haired, chatty toddler? He brings our household so much joy, and to quote my friend Tess, “ He’s like Christmas morning every day!” Unfortunately, this particular version of Christmas still starts around 4 a.m. each morning (every. dang. day.), but it’s pretty hard not to be charmed by his early morning antics, which include making pancakes with Dad, doling out treats to the dog, and watching the first 20 minutes of Shrek on repeat.
We love having him around and despite the behaviours that prove he is indeed a two-year-old, I simply can’t imagine my days without him. It makes me miss the toddler versions of Ben and Jackson fiercely, and I am profoundly aware of how very short these years are as I sit with a diaper-clad son on one side of me, and a University-bound one on the other.
So. Before my eyes get too misty, let me tell you about these little party treats I put together for Matt’s colour-inspired birthday party. After celebrating six family birthdays in just as many weeks, he is incredibly familiar with the two most important elements of turning another year older: presents and cake. He’s particularly fond of the ones that come covered in sprinkles, so I ran with that idea and infused a little funfetti into everything I baked for his special day. These biscotti were a last minute decision, but one I’m really happy to have made. Adding a little white chocolate coating to one side gave them a sweet boost, and made them look a little more celebratory than the undipped version did.
Are you a biscotti fan? I adore the twice-baked, oblong cookies and find they are always a family favourite every time I bake a batch. I like that they (usually) aren’t too sweet and pair perfectly with a cup of coffee or tea. Truth be told, I actually made these for the adults to enjoy with their drinks after dinner, as I thought the funfetti cake and accompanying sweet vanilla frosting might be more appealing to the kids. There are only five pieces left in the cookie jar, so I think my hunch was pretty accurate.
Now that eighty percent of our household has celebrated their 2017 birthday, I’m packing away the piping bags and party supplies for a few months. It’s time to turn my attention back to the hundred plus recipes I’m testing for my next book. I think February and March are great months for hibernating a little, and I’m definitely ready to do just that. With plenty of tea and a few pieces of biscotti in hand, I hope.
Makes 28-35 biscotti
- 6 Tablespoons butter
- 2/3 cups granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 large eggs
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup coloured round sprinkles (also known as nonpareils or hundreds & thousands)
- 10oz. white chocolate, chopped
1. Preheat oven to 350°F and line a 13x18-inch baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter, sugar, salt, extracts and baking powder until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Add the eggs and mix to combine. Don't worry if the batter looks curdled; this is totally normal.
3. Using the lowest speed of your mixer, add the flour, stirring until the dough is smooth and slightly sticky. Fold in the sprinkles using a rubber spatula.
4. Scrape the dough onto the prepared baking sheet. Divide it in half, and shape into two 91/2x2-inch logs. This is easiest to do with dampened or lightly floured hands.
5. Bake for 25 minutes. Remove pan from the oven and reduce the temperature to 325°F. Place the baking sheet on the counter and lightly mist the logs with water. This will slightly soften the crust and make slicing the biscotti much easier.
6. Using a sharp chef's knife or serrated knife cut the logs crosswise into 1/2-inch slices. Lay the pieces flat on the baking sheet and bake for an additional 20 to 25 minutes, or until they feel very dry and the edges are beginning to turn brown.
7. Remove the biscotti from the oven, and transfer them to a rack to cool.
8. Meanwhile, in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of boiling water, melt the chocolate. When the biscotti have cooled, dip pieces halfway in the chocolate, and set on a parchment-lined baking sheet to set.
9. Biscotti can be stored at room temperature for one week; for longer storage, wrap airtight and freeze.