Let me preface this post by saying that I’m not attached to grand prizes or blue ribbons. They’re fun to win but they’re not the reason that I enter the Baking with Maple contest at the Genesee Country Museum each year.
The truth is that in the last few years I’ve discovered a creative part of me that refuses to be held down. Rather than squash it I’ve begun to nurture that spirit by experimenting with pottery, by crafting new loaves of bread, and even by dabbling with recipes for maple goodies.
I know how to take a risk and give just about anything a whirl so why not enter something in the museum’s contest? It gives me a chance to spend time exploring the historic village while I’m waiting for the judges’ results.
Even if by some stretch of the imagination I happen to feel gloomy without a ribbon to tote home, I know how to pick myself up, dust myself off, and head over to the museum’s gift shop to buy myself a consolation prize.
Happily this year no conciliatory pats on the back were needed. My Maple Walnut Biscotti placed first in the cookie division.
Of course I’d still love them even if they were ribbon-less because they’re a great staple cookie to have on hand for an Italian “cookie dunker” like me.
(You might remember reading about this on another post: Road Trip to Biscotti!)
Biscotti are a traditional twice-baked cookie but there’s no need to feel the least bit intimidated if you’ve never made them before. My grandson, Patrick, and I had a great afternoon mixing up a batch recently. According to him, “These cookies are easy to make! You just start with eggs, beat in some other stuff, stir in the flour then blop, blop, blop….and you’re done!” How hard could that be??
Go ahead and give them a try! If, like me, you have a creative spirit that wants to come out and play try adding in something new. I’m thinking toffee bits or chocolate chips …… yum!!!
I hope you’ll comment in on your own cookie experiences or experimentation! Don’t forget to like Kneading Life on Facebook! You can also sign up for my updates using the link at the top of the page.
Hope to see you around the bread (or cookie) bowl soon!
Maple Walnut Biscotti
1 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
½ tsp butter
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 cup maple sugar (or substitute loosely packed brown sugar)
1/4 cup maple syrup
5 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
Finishing Glaze: (optional)
½ cup powdered sugar
1 tsp softened butter
Place chopped walnuts in skillet and toast till fragrant. Add the 1/8 cup maple syrup to coat (add a little more if needed) then quickly add the ½ tsp butter. Continue to stir and cook for about a minute until mixture begins to dry. Remove nuts from skillet and cool.
Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment. Beat together eggs and sugar until mixture becomes light. Add melted butter, maple syrup, vanilla, and salt.
Combine flour and baking powder then add to batter at low speed. Stir in walnuts so that nuts are combined in a sticky dough.
Shape dough into 4 logs, each about 6 inches long and 2 inches wide.
Bake 20-25 minutes or until lightly browned and set. Remove loaves from oven and let them cool until the logs are warm, at least 10 minutes (but you could cool them much longer and do the second bake later, too.)
With a serrated knife, carefully cut into diagonal slices about ½-inch thick.
Stand slices up on clean baking sheet, and bake until crunchy. 10-15 minutes.
When cool combine ½ cup powdered sugar with 1 teaspoon softened butter and enough maple syrup to make a thin glaze. Drizzle over biscotti and allow to dry.
Caryn’s coffee cake! (my mother-in-law’s recipe which is not a dunking cookie but this cake goes great with a good cup of coffee! )
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