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A Slice Of Heaven

Generally, I try not to have favorites. I love all my cats equally. I’ll drink any cup of black tea you put in front of me. I found everyone on “The Cosby Show” funny, even Bud (who am I kidding, ESPECIALLY Bud; um, did I just show my age there?). 

Within that wide net of openness, however, I do have some general preferences, or affinities. Soup (any soup, so long as it’s meatless) is my idea of a perfect meal. Crisp apples, of any persuasion, bring me untold amounts of delight. And biscotti are my preferred cookie. While any biscotti will do, I’m especially fond of those studded with dried fruit and nuts, and kissed with the faintest hint of citrus. Add a bit of crunchy cornmeal and I about fall out of my chair. 
The autumnal shift has found me hankering for biscotti something fierce. I set out to recreate an exquisite version scored last week at Asheville bakery Creme-fig and tangerine. To that perfect duo, I decided a bit of crunch was in order. What I whipped up proved to be one my best offerings yet-fig, pistachio, orange & cornmeal. Dunked into hot tea and nibbled on as an early morning breakfast, mid-day tea treat, or post-dinner dessert, this twice-baked delight is a little slice of heaven. Two slices in a day? Don’t mind if I do!

Fig, Pistachio, Orange & Cornmeal Biscotti
(adapted from here)
Makes approximately 14-16, depending on thickness of slices.

The Goods:
– 1 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
– 1 1/4 c. yellow cornmeal
– 1/2 tsp. baking powder
– 1/2 tsp. sea salt
– 6 Tbsp. butter, softened
– 3/4 c. sugar
– 2 large eggs
– 3 tsp. orange extract
– 1 c. dried figs, chopped
– 1 c. unsalted pistachios, roasted & chopped

The Deal: 
-Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. 
-Whisk flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt in a medium-sized bowl. Set aside.
-Add butter to mixing bowl and beat on medium speed until smooth.
-Add sugar and mix on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes.
-Scrape down sides of mixer, add eggs one at a time, and beat until well incorporated.
-Add orange extract and beat until combined. 
-Reduce mixer speed to low; add flour mixture until just incorporated.
-Remove bowl from mixer; stir in figs and pistachios until well-incorporated. 
-Using a spatula, scrape dough out onto parchment-lined baking sheet in a log shape. You want it to be roughly 3 1/2 inches wide by 14 inches long. Use your hands to pat it into shape, if you need to. 
-Bake 30-35 minutes, until lightly browned.
-Remove from oven, place baking pan on a wire cooling rack, and allow to cool 15 minutes.
-Lift biscotti log off of parchment onto a cutting board (do this carefully; if it is too hot, the log will crack in half). 
-Using a serrated knife, cut the log into slices 1/2-inch thick. 
-Place slices back onto parchment-lined baking sheet and cook for 15-17 minutes rotating sheet half-way through, until the edges brown.
-Allow to cool on a wire rack.
-Try to exercise some form of mild restraint. 

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