We once made our own bitters. It was quite the exhausting process sourcing all of the hard to find ingredients – tonka beans, gentian root, cassia sticks. Huh? Many were found in New York’s specialty markets, some online, and others in our kitchen cupboard. The brew was assembled in a mason jar with charred oak chips and then put at the top of a closet to cure? ferment? whatever it is that bitters do for six months or so. The result was an incredible tasting treat that is the highlight of many a cocktail.
But I digress… One of the key ingredients was dried lavender, that we now have an abundant supply of thanks to the minimum mail order quantity. I have been looking for a use for it and finally decided to bake with it. The resulting Lavender Honey Biscotti are delicious, low in fat and extremely easy to make. In addition to adding a distinct, yet light, taste to the cookies, the lavender also provides a nice aroma while the biscotti are in the oven.
Now if I can just find a use for all that leftover gentian root. Ideas, anyone?
Lavender Honey Biscotti (Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated)
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup sugar
3 large eggs
3 tablespoons honey
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons grated orange zest
1 tablespoon dried lavender blossoms
Preheat oven to 350.
In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
In a large bowl, whisk sugar and eggs until it achieves a light lemon color. Mix in honey, vanilla, zest and lavender. Sift dry ingredients over the wet mixture and mix just until dough is combined.
The dough will probably be a little sticky. Cut the dough in half and move one piece of dough to a parchment lined baking sheet. Using lightly floured or wet hands, stretch dough into a rough 13×2″ log. Repeat with remaining dough (you want them to be about 3″ apart on the baking sheet.) Pat down each dough a bit to flatten and to smooth the top. Bake for 20-30 minutes or until firm and golden brown – turning pan once halfway through.
Cool the loaves for 5-10 minutes – until you can handle them. Lower the oven temperature to 325.
Using a serrated knife, cut each loaf diagonally into 1/4 to 1/2″ slices. Lay slices back on the baking sheet and place in the oven. Bake 15 minutes, until dry, turning over after 7 minutes. Transfer biscotti to wire rack and cool completely.