It's winter again in the Bay Area, apparently-- after a few, long weeks of sun and seventy-degree weather, we're back again to the (relative) cold and grey storminess. And by "cold," I mean chance of snow showers projected in parts of the Bay Area. For this part of California (where houses, like mine, don't have heating!), at least, that means it's cold.
The return of the cold, combined with trying to desperately to fight off a cold and fast-approaching deadlines at work, has made me pretty much lose my appetite altogether. All I seem to want these days is a big bowl of steaming hot Chinese chicken broth, warm pear juice (to prevent cold/sore throat--it works wonders), and caffeine. It's been quite a while since I've had any desire to eat dessert, which, to a dessert-lover, is really nothing short of devastating--I feel as if I've completely lost my mojo and traded it for a never-ending pot of chicken broth sitting in the fridge! (Though I must say, Chinese chicken broth, with just the faintest hint of ginger, is some delicious stuff.)
So after a few weeks of this going by and me just avoiding the kitchen like a plague, I decided that this anti-dessert mood I was in needed to stop. And fast. Yet, the only sweets I seemed to even vaguely crave were chocolate chip cookies--namely, something simple, homey, not overly-complicated or fretted over. Something easy. Like a dessert version of chicken soup for the soul.
Ultimately, once I got myself into the kitchen, these are what I made: dark chocolate chip and currant biscotti, which were exactly what I needed-- A no fuss, not-too-sweet cookie with just enough crunch. Bittersweet chocolate for the days of darker weather outside. Tiny little currants for pops of sweetness next to the dark chocolate (and, currants trump raisins in desserts any day.). And just a little something that I could absent-mindedly dip in my tea and enjoy while writing papers at my desk. Most definitely a huge improvement from a chicken broth-pear juice diet.
I've thrown in the Chinese chicken broth recipe below, too, because, let's face it, winter, flu season, and paper deadlines aren't over yet, and we can't all subsist on dark chocolate-currant biscotti alone! (as much as we'd like to try.)
Read on for recipe...
Dark Chocolate Chip and Currant Biscotti
roughly adapted from David Lebovitz's Ready for Dessert
makes ~60 cookies according to Lebovitz (I got ~40)
350 gr AP flour
1 tspn baking powder
100 gr white granulated sugar
100 gr dark brown sugar
3 large eggs
1 tspn vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups bittersweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup dried currants
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silpat.
2. Whisk to combine the flour and baking powder in a bowl. Set aside.
3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the eggs, white sugar, dark brown sugar, and vanilla extract. Using the whisk attachment, whisk on medium high for about five minutes, until the batter has considerably thickened.
4. Gently fold the flour into the egg mixture.
5. Add and gently mix in the chocolate chips and dried currants.
6. On a lightly-floured surface, divide the dough into two portions. Shape each portion into a log about three inches in diameter, and transfer the logs to the prepared baking sheet, allowing a few inches in between the logs because they will spread in the oven. Wet your hands lightly with water and smooth the outsides of the dough logs.
7. Bake for 20 minutes, rotating the baking sheet once halfway through baking, until the logs are lightly golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool on the baking sheet for about 10-15 minutes.
8. Decrease the oven temperature to 300 degrees F.
9. Transfer the logs to a cutting board and using a sharp, serrated knife, slice the logs into ~3/4" pieces. Transfer the pieces, cut-side up back onto the lined baking sheet.
10. Bake the cookies again for 15-20 more minutes, rotating once half-way through baking. Remove cookies and let cool on a wire rack. Cookies will continue to harden when cooling. Store in an airtight container.
Chinese chicken broth (for the soul)
a few Tbspn vegetable oil
5-6 slices of ginger
2 - 2.5 lbs. of chicken, cut in rough two-inch pieces (preferably with lots of bones)
~10 cups water
1-2 Tbspn mirin
salt, to taste
1. In a large pot or dutch oven, warm the oil over medium high heat.
2. Add the ginger and saute briefly. Then add the chicken.
3. Cover the chicken with the water and add the mirin. Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer for at least two hours, skimming off the foam that may rise to the top periodically. (The longer you simmer this, the better it will be.)
4. Salt to taste, serve over (or with) rice.