In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy with all the devastation, displacement, power outages and gas shortages, we all long for a return to normalcy.  It is comforting to see people resume their routines—jogging, walking their dogs, returning to work and school.

We realize how much we take for granted— the welfare of our loved ones, the blessing of a warm home with lit rooms, the use of our phones, tv’s and computers.

What is of paramount importance becomes crystal clear as we cherish the closeness of family, the comforts of home, the joy of a home cooked meal.

Here’s a recipe that I actually baked in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy during the widespread power outages here in Essex Fells. It is a recipe for biscotti which, by definition, is twice baked.

I mixed up the dough, baked it in 8” by 4” loaf pans and froze them the night before Hurricane Sandy hit.  Two days later during the power outage, I removed the loaf pans from my powerless freezer, cut the loaves into ¼ inch slices and baked the biscotti in my trusty 30-year-old gas powered oven. With a nod to the hurricane, I garnished the biscotti with a zig zag drizzle of white chocolate.

I dub these baked delicacies “Hurricane Biscotti” and I dedicate them to the comforts and joys of family, hearth and home. Stay safe and Happy Holidays!

Ingredients

  • 2 cups flour
  • ½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ pound butter or margarine
  • 1 ¼ cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 cups pistachios, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 8 ounces white chocolate (optional garnish)

Before you begin:  Grease and flour three 8” by 4” loaf pans or spray with Pam Baking Spray.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Sift together the flour, pumpkin pie spice, salt and baking powder.

In a mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy—about two minutes.

Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition until well incorporated.  Add the vanilla and mix well.

Add the flour mixture, and beat on low speed until just incorporated.

With a large mixing spoon, fold in the pistachios, white chocolate chips and dried cranberries.

Divide the dough evenly among the three prepared loaf pans and smooth the tops.

Place the loaf pans in the oven and bake at 350 for 40 minutes.

Remove from pans, allow loaves to cool, then wrap in foil or plastic wrap and freeze overnight or up to two months.

When ready to bake again, preheat the oven to 350 degrees, remove the loaves from the freezer, cut into ¼ to ½ inch slices, and bake for about 15 minutes, turning the biscotti midway through the baking time.  They are ready when the edges turn golden.

Once they are cooled, you can serve the biscotti as is, or drizzle them with melted white chocolate.  If you are going to drizzle them with the chocolate, be sure to place the biscotti on cooling racks over waxed paper or aluminum foil.

To melt the chocolate, place in a bowl over simmering water and stir until melted.  Pour the white chocolate into a zip loc baggie, squeeze out the air and close the baggie.  Push the white chocolate toward one corner of the baggie, snip off a tiny part of the tip and you are ready to drizzle the chocolate in a zig zag fashion over the biscotti.

Makes about 3 dozen biscotti.