Monday, November 5, 2012

Lemon and Toasted Coconut Biscotti

Don't Think Twice, It's Alright by Peter, Paul and Mary
Some things just don't get any clearer, no matter how long you think on them.  So, as Bob Dylan tells us, don't give it any more thought - it'll be alright.  Bob's words are brought to you today via a folk-singing trio that got a great deal of play in my house as a kid - Peter, Paul and Mary.  They were a part of the 1960s conscience-raising scene and are most famous for their recordings of "Blowin' In the Wind" and "Puff the Magic Dragon."  Their music is calming to me - so when they tell me Don't Think Twice, It's Alright - I believe them!  What kinds of things have given me hours of puzzlement?  Well - plenty, actually.  For one, my Mom's ban on dunking food when we were kids.  I don't get it.  Never have.  Never will.  But, it's alright.

I'm a natural-born dunker.  As a kid, EVERYTHING tasted better after a good dunking.  Alas, my mother forbade it.  Was it because she found it to be a messy endeavor?  Perhaps.  Did she find it uncouth and rude?  Possibly.  

Here's the thing - no matter the avenue taken - eating is going to be a messy business with kids.  The food is going to be everywhere.  As a mother of five, I know this.  No matter what I tried, mealtime required some cleanup.

Here's the other thing - I'm a messy eater even today.  I try to be neat, I promise I do!  But my eating area attracts every crumb around and I'm not finished unless I'm wearing part, or all of it, somewhere down the front of my clothes.  

So, in my mind, if it's all going to be a mess anyway, and the "no dunk zone" apparently didn't create a tidy eater out of me, doesn't it make sense to abolish the rule?  I say "Yes!  Abolish it now!"

My kids were allowed to dunk.  Oh, I can hear them objecting now!  To clarify, I will add that my kids were allowed to dunk - unless it was something along the lines of dipping their hot dogs into their Kool-Aid - especially if I were pregnant.  Don't think twice, it's alright.

As I allowed my children to take my lead in the dunking scene, I noticed no increase in the amount of time for the after-dinner cleanup or "goo" to be cleaned.  Little did they know, I actually relished watching them dip their bits of graham crackers in their milk, sinking them all the way up to their chubby little knuckles.  I instructed them in the fine art of knowing just how long to let it remain submerged before it became too milk-logged and ended up in the bottom of the cup.  It's an art, this dunking.  And I am a proficient!

Biscotti are made with the full intention of them being dunked - which means they were destined to be one of my favorite cookies!  Their name means "twice-baked."  And, indeed, they are just that.  The idea is that you're creating very thirsty cookies!  The originals were plain with maybe some nuts in them.  However, today, you can find them in a myriad of flavors!  They can be dunked in coffee, tea, hot chocolate, milk, or dessert wines.  But who am I to police your dunking activity!  Dunk away in whatever you'd like!  

On a recent trip to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania I came across a coffee shop that sold some of the best biscotti I've ever had!  It made me want to make some of my own as soon as I got home!  And I did!  Toasted coconut and lemon are a happy duet so I gave them top billing in this recipe.  Bake - and bake again - and dunk and enjoy!

Lemon and Toasted Coconut Biscotti
makes 16
4 1/2 c. flour (570 g)
1 1/2 t. baking soda
1/4 t. salt
2 c. coconut, divided
4 eggs
1 1/3 c. sugar  (270 g)
zest of one lemon
1 1/2 c. chocolate chips, white or semi-sweet (300 g, 10 oz.)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Spread the coconut over a cookie sheet and bake until toasty brown.  Check after 10 minutes and stir.  Check every 5 minutes until done.  Cool.  Reduce the heat of the oven to 300 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, and 1 cup of the toasted coconut and whisk until well blended.  Set aside.

In the bowl of a mixer, combine the eggs, sugar, and lemon zest and beat on high until the mixture is a pale yellow and is thick and foamy - about 5 minutes.

Add the dry ingredients all at once and mix on low just until the ingredients come together.  The dough will be sticky.

Line a sheet tray with parchment paper and scoop the dough out into the center.  Either spray your hands with cooking spray or coat them with flour, but use them to shape the dough into a rectangle that's about 4 - 5" across and 12" long.
Bake in the 300 degree oven for 1 hour.  Remove and let cool on pan for five minutes, then move to a wire rack to cool the rest of the way.

Once cooled, use a serrated knife and slice across the baked dough, making 1/2" slices.
You should get about 16 of them.  Place the sliced cookies on a sheet tray
and bake again at 300 degrees for 20 - 25 minutes, turning them over halfway through the baking time.  They should be slightly toasted.  Remove and let cool on wire racks.

When completely cool, set up your dipping station.  Melt the chocolate chips in the microwave in 20 second intervals, stirring well between intervals.  When melted, pour out onto a plate.  Crush the remaining toasted coconut and place on another plate.
Rock the curved edge of the biscotti through the melted chocolate and gently shake off the excess.  Then lightly tap it through the toasted coconut.  Lay the dipped biscotti on a wire rack that has been placed inside a sheet tray.
Let dry until chocolate sets back up.  I'm impatient so I put mine in the freezer for a few minutes!  Start dunking!


  1. Thrilled to have found your blog! This recipe is just one of many I plan on making. Love it!

    1. Thank you, Kelly! I appreciate you taking the time to stop on by! I'm frequently over on your blog, drooling away! I made your Roasted Butternut Squash Risotto last week and we all licked our plates clean! Can't wait to try the Chocolate-Dipped Pumpkin Seed Brittle with Sea Salt!

  2. Amen, Janice dunk away to all. Gramps taught me how to dunk although I had coffee and loved the gram crackers too.
    Aunt Linda

    1. There's just something deliciously involving when you dunk - don't you think? A very private relationship between you and your food! No utensil in the way - just sheer enjoyment!

  3. That is why we have fingers on each hand, two dunking at one time, LOL!