Saturday, June 25, 2011

Healthy Blueberry Muffins

Summer is upon us, and that means the abundance of fresh Ontario produce is upon us as well! You can always tell what's in season by just taking a quick glance around my kitchen. My mom is always aware of what produce is in season and makes sure to take advantage by stocking up each time she makes a trip to the grocery store. Looking around my kitchen now I can see beets, strawberries, broccoli, cherries, and of course blueberries! Blueberries are one of my favourite fruits simply because I associate blueberries with so many delicious foods. Blueberry pie, blueberry pancakes, blueberry crumb cake, blueberry danish...oh my lord I could keep going and going! Yesterday, when I found my fridge stocked with massive bulk-sized containers of blueberries, I knew it was time to preheat the oven and come up with a new baked blueberry recipe!
Because I've been exercising daily for the past month or so, I wanted to make something on the healthier side so I wouldn't feel so bad when I went back for seconds...or thirds...or hey who's counting? I'll take one more! I decided to make a healthy version of blueberry muffins with whole wheat flour, applesauce, and rolled oats, which not only made my muffins healthier but also amped up the flavour. Whole wheat flour gave my muffins a nuttier flavour as well as a bit of texture, the applesauce made the muffins moist and gave an underlying apple flavour, and the oats gave my crumble topping a bit of a crunch. I was surprised by just how delicious these muffins turned out! Moist, flavourful, with that crunch from the topping, I can't imagine ever going back to plain old white batter muffins. With healthy muffins that taste this good, I promise you, you'll forget all about your old blueberry muffin recipe!

Note: This is a great recipe to bring up to the cottage because it doesn't require any special mixers or blenders, just a spoon, bowl, and muffin tin!
Tip: Tossing your blueberries in a couple tablespoons of flour will help prevent them from sinking to the bottom of your muffins as they bake.
Tip: If you want to make this recipe even more healthy, use all whole wheat flour and cut the white sugar in the muffin batter down to 2/3 cup. The muffins are pretty sweet, so cutting back won't hurt the flavour.

Makes 8 large muffins
Muffin Batter
3/4 cup whole wheat all-purpose flour
3/4 cup white all-purpose flour + 2 tbsp
3/4 cup white sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
1/3 cup applesauce
1 egg
1/3 milk (1% cuts back on the fat but delivers the same results as higher fat milk)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup fresh blueberries 
1/4 cup brown sugar
3 tbsp white all-purpose flour
2 tbsp cold butter
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp rolled oats

1. Preheat oven to 400º and line muffin tin with paper liners.

2. In a medium-large mixing bowl, stir together the whole wheat flour, white flour, sugar, salt and baking powder for the muffin batter.

3. In a 1-cup measuring cup pour in the applesauce. Crack the egg into the applesauce and top with enough milk to fill the cup. Add this into the dry ingredients along with the vanilla extract. Stir until almost just combined. Toss the blueberries with a couple tablespoons of flour to coat and gently stir them into the batter until just combined. Do not over mix!

4. Using an ice cream scoop, scoop muffin batter into paper liners in muffin tin with the batter just reaching the top.

4. In a small bowl make the crumble topping. Using your hands, mix together the brown sugar, flour, butter, cinnamon, and rolled oats. Evenly sprinkle the topping over each muffin and bake for 20-25 minutes.

Listening To:
Arcade Fire - Ocean of Noise

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Friday, June 24, 2011

Respect the Caesar: Caesar Toast 2011

If you read my entry on my Baked Jalapeno Poppers you'll know just how excited I was to hear from Mott's Clamato a few months ago asking me if I would like to come up with a special signature Caesar recipe for them. Being a massive fan of what is known as Canada's Cocktail, I literally jumped at the chance to be involved. As excited as I was to get started on my recipe, I found myself in a bit of a pickle (no I'm not talking about a pickled caesar, although they are delish!), my issue was that I loved the classic caesar so much, I didn't want to stray too much from the original. I personally have a belief that one should respect the caesar, a belief that unfortunately not all bars in Ontario seem to agree with. After having been served numerous undrinkable caesars at various bars and pubs across the province, I became extremely frustrated with how many Canadian bartenders were absolutely butchering Canada's signature cocktail (I'm talking about you York University hockey rink bar! Worst caesar EVER!). I'm talking about watered down, too spicy, too sweet, "ew what the hell did they put in here?" kinda caesars, that could very well leave me in a grumpy mood for the rest of my day. I didn't understand how so many people could get something normally so delicious, so very, very wrong. I mean a caesar has only 5 easy steps:

Rim glass with lime.
Season with Clamato Rimmer salt, fill with ice and add vodka.
Spice the ice with Worcestershire sauce and Franks Redhot Caesar Spicer.
Pour Mott's Clamato into the glass.
Garnish and enjoy with friends.

Even though I knew the basic steps, I was nervous that my signature caesar would go down in the books with the rest of the undrinkable lot. Luckily an outside vodka infusion project inspired me to come up with a delicious Mexican-themed caesar that I like to call my Borracho Caesar, which I will be posting for you very soon! I was so happy with how my caesar had turned out, believing that I had truly done my favourite cocktail justice...that is until I attended the Coast to Coast Caesar Toast this past Tuesday at the Spoke Club. Little did I know that I, myself was one of those Canadians that was disrespecting the caesar. Despite the fact that my friends, family, and I all loved my Borracho Caesar, I felt like there was a little somthin' missing. No it wasn't in the ingredients I put into my caesar, it was all in the preparation. I learned from the Caesar Toast that there are a few caesar rules that are crucial to follow if you want to make a killer caesar. I'm not one for following rules but these simple steps truly make a world of a difference when preparing a caesar. They are as follows:

  • Garnish your glass with what's in the drink, this gives people a visual cue as to what's they will be drinking, as well as activating all of your senses as you drink.
  • When mixing your caesar use the roll method. After all of your ingredients are in the glass, pour the drink back and forth a few times between 2 glasses for a perfectly mixed caesar. This also creates the signature sound of the caesar.
  • Fill your glass with ice 3-cubes over, meaning get as much as as possible into your glass. This tells you how much Mott's Clamato cocktial to pour into the glass.
  • Unless making a variation on the classic caesar, use the 2 finger method for measuring your vodka. Place your forefinger and your middle finger together at the bottom of the glass, pour vodka so that it hits the top of your forefinger. I like to be a little flexible with this rule. I like a nice free pour.
  • Use Mott's Clamato Cocktail for the best tasting caesar!
So now I bet you're wondering what exactly is the Coast to Coast Caesar Toast? The Coast to Coast Caesar Toast is an annual celebration of Canada's cocktail, the caesar, featuring a selection of specially created caesars that represent what makes us Canadians proud. Guests were invited to watch live demos on how to make the four Canadian-themed caesars, and of course taste them all!

I've certainly had my share of caesars over the years, but never before have I had such unique and inventive ones! We began the 11:30AM tasting (yup you got it, drinking before noon! You know I'm ALL for that!) with a punch bowl filled with the Social Caesar, a great variation on the classic that is perfect for entertaining. Like I said, I love the classic, so the Social Caesar, with it's kicked up citrus flavour was right up my alley! We then moved onto the Royal Caesar, which was created in honor of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's upcoming Canada Day visit. This elegant caesar was a far cry from the classic, but delicious nonetheless. Served in a sea-salt rimmed champagne flute, the Royal Caesar was light and refreshing with the fresh taste of freshly muddled cucumbers mixed in. To wake up our taste buds once again, we moved onto the Sounds of Canada Caesar, a zesty, spicy, punch of flavour caesar that is surely not for the timid caesar drinker. I liked the big punch of flavour this caesar delivered, but would have preferred if they had strained out the jalapeno, garlic, and green onion pieces. To finish off the tasting, we were served the most daring and unique caesar of the bunch, the True North Caesar. The True North Caesar was inspired by many caesar drinkers in Calgary who like to mix the classic caesar with...wait for it...a margarita! I know, I know, it sounds absolutely crazy! I was definitely skeptical to try this wild-sounding caesar, but let me tell you, it was one of my favourite in the bunch. I couldn't believe how well the two drinks combined to create such a beautiful and tasty caesar.

I walked out of the tasting with a belly full of tasty caesars (and awesome hors d'oeuvres from the Spoke Club!) and a fresh new perspective on the caesar. Who would have thought that I my love for the caesar could grow even more! I now appreciate it more than ever, knowing how limitless the possibilities for invention truly are. Thank you to Mott's Clamato for inviting me to take part in such a nice event and being such great hosts! I look forward to toasting the caesar once again next year! Cheers!

Glass: Punch Bowl and rocks glasses rimmed with Mott's Clamato Rimmer

500 ml Canadian vodka
1 bottle Mott's Clamato The Works cocktail
2 limes
2 lemons

Pour Mott's Clamato The Works cocktail and vodka into a large punch bowl without ice. Slice lemons and limes into thin wheels and float for extra citrus flavour. Allow friends to add ice to their own pre-rimmed rocks glasses so as not to water-down the punch.

Garnish: Lime wedge and celery stalk

Glass: Champagne

1 oz. gin
1 oz. Pimm's
2 dashes Angostura bitters
4 oz. Mott's Clamato Original Cocktail
4 cucumber sticks (skinned, 4" long)
4 dashes Worcestershire sauce
3 dashes freshly ground salt and pepper

Muddle cucumber, Pimm's, gin, bitters, Worcestershire and salt and pepper together in a mixing glass. Add ice and Mott's Clamato Original Cocktail. Stir well and strain into fresh ice into a champagne glass rimmed with freshly ground salt.

Garnish: Cucumber crown

Glass: Pilsner

1.5 oz. silver tequila
5 oz. Mott's Clamato Original Cocktail
1 dash hot sauce
1/2 minced fresh clove of garlic
1/2 minced fresh green onion (hollow stem portion)
1/2 minced jalapeno pepper
2 dashes freshly ground salt and pepper

Rim glass with freshly ground salt and pepper. Gently muddle garlic, green onion, jalapeno, hot sauce, salt and pepper in the bottom of the glass. Fill glass with ice, add all ingredients and mix well.

Garnish: Jalapeno wrapped chili pepper and chives

Glass: Margarita

1 oz. Polar ice vodka
4 oz. Mr and Mrs T Margarita mix
4 oz. Mott's Clamato Extra Spicy Cocktail
4 dashes Worcestershire sauce
2 dashes freshly ground salt and pepper

In a blender, combine 4 oz. of Mr and Mrs T's Margarita Mix with 3 cups ice. Blend until smooth. In a separate glass, mix Mott's Clamato Extra Spicy Cocktail, vodka, Worcestershire sauce, and salt and pepper over ice. Place an "iceberg" of margarita slush in the middle of the glass and carefully pour Clamato mixture around it.

Garnish: Lime wheel

  • The caesar is actually a punch
  • The caesar was invented in Calgary in 1969 by Walter Chell
  • Canadians consume approximately 355 million caesars per year!
  • The caesar is known as canadas cocktail, so be warned if you order a caesar in the US they will bring you a Bloody Mary

Listening To:
Modest Mouse - Gravity Rides Everything

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Thursday, June 23, 2011

Cheaters Handbook: Rice Stir Fry

The rushed mid-week meal, the bane of my existence. Why is that whenever I'm the most rushed, tired, and stressed I'm also the most hungry? I mean really, give me a break here! Luckily I have a few quickie meals up my sleeve that I know I can turn to when my schedule goes out of whack. One of my favourite quickie meals is a little cheaters stir fry dish that I picked up from my parents. My Cheaters Handbook Rice Stir Fry is super quick to put together, uses up leftovers hanging around your fridge, it is healthy, and of course it tastes so good you'll be happy to eat up the leftovers for lunch the next day! How's this for a quickie weeknight meal: Warm and nutty brown rice enveloped in sweet and savory honey garlic sauce, tossed with crunchy vegetables, crisp toasted almonds, and leftover meat, with bursts of sweet green peas throughout. I may as well call this dish Stress Be Gone Stir Fry!

Tip: If you know you're going to be rushed later in the week, prepare some of your stir fry in advance. Wash and chop all your veggies, pickup a roast chicken from your local grocery store to shred up later, and toast your almonds. When you're rushed and stressed later in the week, you'll be happy you did the prep work in advance.

1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 can green peas, juice drained (if you have fresh green peas use them!)
any other veggies you have on hand (ex. mushrooms, broccoli, bell peppers, etc.), chopped
about 1 cup shredded or sliced leftover chicken, turkey, pork, or steak
4 servings of quick cook brown rice
about 1/4 cup of your favourite bottled honey garlic sauce (I like VH Honey Garlic Cooking Sauce)
a handful of sliced almonds, toasted

1. In a large skillet or stir fry dish, heat olive oil at medium heat. Add the onions and sauté until soft and translucent. While onions are sautéing, make rice, following the directions on the box.

2. Add the green peas, and any additional veggies to the onions and continue cooking until veggies are tender but still crisp. Add the leftover meat part way through cooking to heat.

3. Mix the cooked rice into the skillet and stir to combine. Add the Honey Garlic sauce and almonds, stir together and cook for another 3-4 minutes. Serve hot.

Listening To: Sam Roberts - Bridge To Nowhere

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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Bordeaux After Work at Origin

Last Tuesday on a beautiful sunny, scorcher of a day in Toronto, I rushed home from work, threw on the most comfortable and lightweight dress I could find, bypassed the heels (as if I would subject myself to heels with the humidity flying off the charts like that), filmed a quick little intro on Bordeaux wines, and ran onto the TTC to make my way downtown to Origin on King East for the very first of four Bordeaux After Work parties. As you'll know from my previous entry introducing these exciting events, Bordeaux After Work is a series of events held by the Bordeaux Wine Council in Partnership with the iYellow Wine Club that will take place this Summer and Fall in Toronto (although other cities around Canada are holding their own Bordeaux After Work events as well) to help educate people on one of the most widely recognizable wine regions in the world.
(Some new friends and myself, Danielle Rose)
I have said it many times, and here I go saying it again, that although I've attended countless wine tastings, I still do not feel comfortable with my knowledge of wine, so when I heard about the structure of Bordeaux After Work, my ears perked up. Unlike many other wine tastings where you are tasting 50+ wines in one night that you somehow have to distinguish between, and are often struggling to get the attention of your pourer to learn a little more about what you're drinking, before they rush on to the next person in line, Bordeaux After Work is much smaller and specialized allowing you to mingle with a smaller group of 100 people, concentrate on tasting only 5 wines each night, with repeated Bordeaux events with a new selection of wines every few months. This caught my attention because lately I've been reading a lot about productivity, how we learn, and how to make ideas happen. One article on productivity that has stood out the most for me is entitled Thirty Minutes A Day by Jack Cheng, a New York based writer and designer. The article talks about the benefits of short, repeated learning over time, suggesting that we do not cram information into our heads all at once, but rather take thirty minutes out of each day to commit ourselves to learning. This approach allows us to first off, retain the information, as well as have a better understanding of it to be able to apply it to our own work. Although no, I am not taking thirty minutes of each day to learn about Bordeaux, Bordeaux After Work follows similar principals. Because I have had so much trouble retaining wine knowledge in the past, I felt that Bordeaux After Work, with their repeated events, small guest list, and only a select few wines would be the perfect opportunity for me to really put my energy into learning about wine...finally! And where better to start than the world renowned Bordeaux region.
So off I was, ready to conquer one of the first steps on my mission to become confident in my knowledge of wine. I felt prepared, having studied a little bit on the basics of Bordeaux wine and French wine in general, and I walked into the event with a game plan to film throughout the event, picking up additional tidbits and info on Bordeaux from the pourers and other attendees, and of course, jot down my own tasting notes as I went. Shortly after arriving at Origin I spotted someone I knew and parked myself and my glass of Bordeaux Rosé down next to them. I have to admit that until I spotted that familiar face, I was pretty nervous to be attending the event on my own. All my old high school social anxieties came to the surface again, and I feared that I would be wandering around the venue alone, unable to gain the courage to pull out my brand spanking new camera and film, or ask questions about the five wines being showcased. Although it seemed the opposite happened to me, I was meeting so many wonderful, warm, and interesting people, having such a spectacular time, I still came across the same problem that I had feared, there was no filming happening and my little notepad had nothing more than the date and "Bordeaux After Work" jotted across the top. I felt the stress building as I feared I would have no content for my article, but being the master procrastinator that I was, I figured later in the evening I would break away and follow through with my game plan. More introductions, more glasses of Bordeaux, more business cards, and no more info for my article...I was officially screwing myself over. It wasn't until I stepped aside to text a friend to say what an incredible time I was having that I realized that things weren't going wrong at all. In fact, the event and my article had taken a whole new direction, and one that I felt far more comfortable with.
(Wendy Co-founder and Chief Marketer of Hip Urban Girl and myself, Danielle Rose)
I realized that although wine tastings are about being exposed to new wines, new regions, and new cultures, it is more importantly providing an opportunity to socialize and network with a new group of people in an exciting and unique atmosphere. Although we all come from different backgrounds, professions, interests, and hobbies, we can all come together and break bread in a sense, through sharing this love of wine. Ironically this actually mirrors the principals of French wine. French wine is different than other wine regions of the world because they do not place the focus of their wine on the varietal (or single type of grape being used), instead they look at the entire region or what the French call terroir, the type of soil being used, farming practices, winemakers, climate, etc. It's all those factors that make French wine so diverse and so intriguing. Similarly we can look at a wine tasting and see how all the factors that go into it such as the people, food, venue, music, etc. can make up your whole wine tasting experience. Just because I wasn't placing all of my attention on studying the wine while at the event, certainly didn't mean I was missing out on a valuable experience. I did my Bordeaux research beforehand, I picked up all of the brochures that were provided, I made sure that I recorded each wine that I drank, I thoughtfully tasted each one and took note, and shared some thoughts on the wine with the company I was with. Doing those few simple things was all I needed to begin gaining confidence on Bordeaux wine. I now understand why Bordeaux wine is so well known as well as understand the basics and have the tools to be able to walk into the next Bordeaux After Work party with confidence. And better yet, I now have a new group of friends with whom I can share this knowledge and interest with!

My Favourite: Domaine de Chevalier Rose de Chevalier (2009)
Chateau Puyfromage
Chateau Boyrein (2009)
Chateau Pey La Tour
Lurton Chateau Bonnet

  • Bordeaux is the worlds major wine industry capital.
  • Bordeaux has been produced since the 1st Century AD.
  • Bordeaux is all about the blend. You will notice that Bordeaux wines are made from a blend of a few different types of grapes. This results in some very unique and distinct tasting wines.
  • The most commonly found grape varieties in Bordeaux wines are Merlot, Cab Sauv, and Cab Franc.
  • One of the reasons why Bordeaux produces such excellent wine is due to their calcium rich soil.
  • French wine is known to have a lot of character because each wine represents the region (soil, farming practices, climate, grapes, people, etc.) rather than the varietal.
  • Terroir refers to the vineyard-specific environmental differences (such as soil types, drainage, local micro-climate and sun exposure). Terroir is the biggest difference as to why the same varietals all taste differently from around the world and even from back to back vineyards. (
  • When buying Bordeaux, look for the AOC label (Appellation d'Origine Crotôlée) which guarantees a wine's authenticity and quality.
  • Serve young wines before old wines, and dry wines before sweet wines.
  • Try to decant young wines to allow the aromas to naturally come through and round out the tannins.
See you at the next Bordeaux After Work party on July 19th!

Listening To:
Red Hot Chili Peppers - Californication

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Never been to a wine tasting? Check out my article on a Beginners Guide to a Wine Tasting Experience.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Mushrooms Canada: Canadian Food Bloggers We Love

Happy Tuesday! I hope you're all able to enjoy the sun for at least a little bit today. I've got my work cut out for me, catching up on articles, emails, and recipes all day day long. I just hope this Monday aftermath headache will vacate so that I can actually get a move on! In other news, I am very excited to announce that I have been featured on the Mushrooms Canada Blog in their series Canadian Food Bloggers We Love! How perfect, I love mushrooms and they love me right back! Check it out!

Listening To:
Red Hot Chili Peppers - Give It Away

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Saturday, June 11, 2011

Greek Style Lemon Potatoes

A Greek-themed dinner is one of the things my family does best. We find the best tzatziki at a nearby Mediterranean gourmet food shop (or make it ourselves), pick up the freshest pitas we can get our hands on, have perfected barbecuing pork tenderloin, pull out all the fixings for a killer Greek salad, and even have cheese on hand to fry up my favourite Greek dish Saganaki. The only thing that had never been given a 5-star rating at our big fat Greek dinners was our Greek potatoes. For some reason they would always turn out flavourless or dry, and sometimes even both.

We're big on teamwork for our big show stopping dinners, so for the big fat Greek dinner that we held last week, I was put in charge of the Greek potatoes. Because I knew that every other element of the meal would turn out extraordinary, I left no room for failure, looking up the top rated recipes for Greek style potatoes I could find. This led me to recipe for Greek Style Potatoes. With 312 user ratings averaging 4.5 stars, I had hope that I had finally found my perfect Greek potatoes! In only a few minutes I had the potatoes prepped, in the baking dish, swimming in a sea of Mediterranean flavours. After an hour in the oven my potatoes were tender, and now resting in a reduced, thickened sauce, with thyme, rosemary, and lemon slices bobbing about. Sure enough, the potatoes turned out just I had dreamt they would! Just like the potatoes that my favourite Greek restaurants on the Danforth serve, the potatoes were tender, lemony, garlicky, and herbaceous, and tasted just as wonderful as every other 5-star dish at the table. Because this recipe is so super easy, with common ingredients, and such delicious results, I will definitely be making these potatoes again, and not just for big fat Greek dinners.

1/3 cup olive oil
1 1/2 cups water
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2-3 lemon slices, for garnish (optional)
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried rosemary
2 cubes chicken or vegetable bouillon
freshly ground pepper to taste
6 potatoes, peeled and quartered

1. Preheat oven to 350º. In a small bowl mix together the olive oil, water, garlic, lemon juice, thyme, rosemary, and bouillon cubes. Season with pepper.

2. Arrange the potatoes evenly in the bottom of a medium baking dish. Pour the olive oil mixture over the potatoes, and top with the lemon slices. Bake for 1 hour, turning once or twice thorough cooking. Serve hot.

Listening To:
Pink Floyd - Time

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Friday, June 3, 2011

Pistachio Cranberry Biscotti

Whether you're a beginner cook or a seasoned pro, everybody seems to have their old standbys. You know what I'm talking about, the ol' faithfuls, the meatloaf, spaghetti, chocolate chip cookies, chicken parmesan, whatever it may be, you've got that recipe down pat so you could very well make it in your sleep. It's hard to stray from a recipe that you have become so comfortable with, especially when you know how delicious the results are! For me one of my most frequently made baked goods is biscotti. I have been making Williams Sonoma's recipe for Almond Cranberry Biscotti for years now, and it has become such a staple in my home that my sister has started baking them regularly as well. Ever since making our first batch years ago we've been telling everybody that they are simply "the best". So when my mom began hinting (pretty much with a sledgehammer with "hints" such as "we haven't had that biscotti in a while" or "I sure miss your biscotti" and even "my coffee would be better if I had biscotti on the side", all classic lines that she undoubtedly picked up from my aunt Angie) I knew it was time to whip up another batch.

With a half full (feelin' positive these days) bag of pistachios in the house that were just about to near their end, I decided to switch up my regular biscotti recipe and try Giada DeLaurentis' recipe for Holiday Biscotti. There's nothing particularly festive about these biscotti other than their colour. The combination of green pistachios, ruby red cranberries, and white chocolate drizzled on top give the biscotti their holiday name. Because it's only the beginning of Spring and I'm not much of a fan of chocolate drizzled or dipped with my biscotti, I decided to skip the white chocolate drizzle. The biscotti turned out better than I could have anticipated! I loved the flavour of the pistachios, and, just as always, I loved the chewy tart bites that the dried cranberries added to the cookies. What also stood out for me was that great brightness that was introduced into the cookie thanks to adding lemon zest. But above all, I was impressed by the texture of the biscotti. Perfectly crumbly, with a great mouth feel, these Pistachio Cranberry Biscotti make it into my top ranking due to their perfect texture!

As soon as the biscotti were all eaten up, I found myself already brainstorming other biscotti flavour combinations. Whenever I find a recipe that knocks my socks off, I try and break down the recipe and turn it into a guide so that I can use the guide next time to create my very own recipe.
An obvious update to the biscotti recipe would be switching up the pistachios for other nut varieties, as well as switching the dried cranberries for other dried fruits, or even types of chips like chocolate, white chocolate, toffee, peanut butter, etc. From here think about the background flavours. In this particular biscotti, the lemon zest acted as a great base flavour for the other additions, but there are so many more possibilities to try! Other citrus fruits like orange would be a great addition, add in some of the zest and even the juice. Or think of different extracts like vanilla and almond. This is where you can really get creative and make your signature old standby your own!

2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1 tsp grated lemon zest
1/4 tsp salt
2 large eggs
3/4 cup pistachios, coarsely chopped
2/3 cup dried cranberries

1. Preheat oven to 350º. Line a heavy baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat mat. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour and baking powder. Set aside.

2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the sugar, butter, lemon zest, and salt at high speed until mixture becomes pale yellow in colour. Beat in the eggs one at a time at medium speed.

3. At low speed add in the flour in 3 stages, mix until just combined. Stir in the pistachios and cranberries.

4. Turn dough out onto the parchment or silpat mat. Form dough into a 13-inch long log. Bake for 40 minutes, or until golden. Let cool for 5-10 minutes.

5. Place the log on a cutting board and, using a serrated knife, cut the log on a diagonal into 1/2 to 3/4-inch slices. Arrange the biscotti, cut side down, on the baking sheet. Bake for another 15 minutes, or until pale golden. Let cool and serve with your favourite hot beverage.

Listening To:
Beyonce - Run The World (Girls)

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