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The Biscotti Tasting

April 15, 2015
Yes, I baked my butt off!

Yes, I baked my butt off!

No, I did not forget to write last week, I was covered in flour, white chocolate and nuts for days. Nothing “Shades of Grey,” I was just getting ready for my biscotti tasting on Sunday the 12th. I baked like a maniac, then did the scariest thing a baker can do, I asked people to give me their honest opinions of my biscotti.

Me cutting bite sized biscotti portions for testing.

Me cutting bite sized biscotti portions for testing with my science-minded friends.

If I missed you in the invitations, I truly apologize. If it’s any comfort, I missed tons of people. Just call me and come over, I have lots of cookies left and would be happy to have you test them. I’ll even make you a latte.

We took lots of photos, but my stinking daughter took the camera with her on a trip without downloading the photos first, so once I murder her and yank the camera out of her lifeless hands, I’ll be adding more shots. (If I was a kind mother I wouldn’t write things like that.)

Thank God for my selfless foodie friends who came, tested, and re-tested, again and again, all in the name of science, then wrote down what they thought. Some of them even placed orders for when I’m fully up and running as a bona-fide biscotti baker. And yes, I will be able to sell them online to you!  (I’m still researching  all the hoops I’ll have to jump through).

And a huge thank you to Nicol and Martin, who came early, picked up coffee, schlepped, helped me organize and put it all together and stayed almost the whole time!  Also thanks to Mandy, who brought her coffee maker and chairs(I don’t have one, I drink espresso!) has been one of my biggest biscotti supporters, and was my very first bona-fide customer!

See?  This was serious business!

See? This was serious business!

Here’s what the judging sheets said:

a. Love it and would definitely buy it

b. Like it — might buy it, might not

c. My gramma would like it — I’d get it for her

d. Drizzle or solid coating of chocolate/white chocolate? (circle one)

e. Hate Anise, hate macadamia nuts, hate you (this changed with each flavor)

f. Comments:

Some of the contenders.

Some of the contenders.

I am somewhat concerned though. Someone, who did not write their name on their form, circled the line that said: “Hate cranberries, hate almonds, hate you.” Why did I let this person in?

What did I learn?

1. That people never read things thoroughly.

2. That people either love peanut butter or hate it. They also either love chocolate or hate it. They all really like lemon.

Most people love spice and can go either way on cranberries and almonds. Most love a solid coating of chocolate or white chocolate on each cookie instead of a drizzle. Anise was a hit with the traditionalists and the Italians, and not every cookie has to have chocolate or white chocolate on it to be loved (but it certainly doesn’t hurt). Only one person said he/she didn’t like white chocolate, but that was the same person who checked the hates me line, so who cares?

On the comments for the Vegan biscotti my note was: Hate everything vegan, hate you. One person changed hate to dislike, saying, “Dislike you for making me eat vegan.” God, I love my friends!

I loved the comments.  I have fab friends!

I loved the comments. I have fab friends!

The results of the tasting showed Lemon with the most votes.  This thrilled me because I used to use only lemon extract and lemon zest but now I use lemon zest and Boyajian Lemon Oil because it’s just better! Thank God I met Tim from Boyajian at the Fancy Food Show and discovered it!  I add it to the white chocolate too and it’s so much easier than adding lemon zest and constantly having to add oil.  The first place Lemon was followed by a three way tie among:  Anise with Macadamia Nuts, Walnut Spice, and Hazelnut Cinnamon. Below is the list of flavors so far.  Let me know if they sound good to you:

Anise with Macadamia Nuts and White Chocolate

Anise with Almonds and White Chocolate

Cranberry Almond with White Chocolate

Salted Peanut with Peanut Butter and Chocolate Drizzle

Walnut Spice with White Chocolate

Hazelnut Cinnamon with White and Dark Chocolate Drizzle

Lemon with Lemon White Chocolate

Chocolate with Hazelnuts Chocolate Chips and Chocolate Drizzle

Vegan Almond (I may add dates and cinnamon to this.)

Someone suggested Cranberry Lemon, what do you think of that?

Shameless self promotion.

Shameless self promotion — wish I actually looked like the girl on the card.

I’m getting all my permits together so I can start selling my biscotti. I am still searching for a name, so feel free to send me your ideas. If I like yours and use it, I’ll send you a fabulous package of free biscotti with my love and gratitude. And if this list is missing your favorite flavor, please tell me!

Oh, and by the way, I am still going to the gym and the pool. (The lifeguards are getting used to me and don’t hover nervously as often as they used to.) And I actually took a breath while swimming today and did not swallow a gallon of water!  It’s a miracle, which I am attributing to St. Anthony, as he is the patron saint of hopeless cases and my mom’s favorite. I’m pushing for two breaths next time.

Thanks, as always for reading and commenting.  I love you guys — you make my day!

P.S. Murder was not necessary, my daughter returned with the camera and gladly handed over the photos.

  • Reply
    April 22, 2015 at 2:12 pm

    I make a lemon with chocolate that I cut from a solid piece of chocolate that tastes very good. Maybe you should start with basic like Anise, Lemon and Chocolate and then try other flavors afterwards. Everyone loves a good basic biscotti.

    • Reply
      Fran Tunno
      April 22, 2015 at 4:16 pm

      Thanks Rosemary, I probably will start with the basics, then wind my way into the more creative flavors. Younger people love the peanut butter, but I don’t think Italian Grandma’s will go for them.

  • Reply
    Chas Madonio
    April 22, 2015 at 7:06 am

    I’m drooling on my keyboard as I write this, so I hope it doesn’t short out before I’m finished. My vote is cranberry-almond, but w/o the white chocolate drizzle. There’s a place in town that makes cranberry-pumpkin seed scones that are out of this universe, and i’m thinking that same combination might also work for biscotti. Knowing your personality, I would call the business the “Naughty Biscotti.”

    • Reply
      Fran Tunno
      April 22, 2015 at 4:14 pm

      Hmmm Naughty Biscotti, I like it! It would be fun, but I’m not sure how many I’d sell. Must ponder.

  • Reply
    April 16, 2015 at 7:34 am

    Nice Fran & I wish you great success with this and admire your drive. I however am a huge chocolate fan, so, to me, chocolate biscotti’s sound luscious! Or even not chocolate ones, but with almonds, or walnuts
    & maybe raisins & chocolate coating & not just drizzle. Yumerrzzz!!!! Food for thought!

    • Reply
      Fran Tunno
      April 16, 2015 at 11:31 am

      I am filing all this away. The Walnut Spice was really popular. I’m going to try raisins or dates in the vegan ones and see how that works. Grazie.

  • Reply
    April 15, 2015 at 9:47 pm

    Al and I loved the biscotti! As I look at the photos, I wish I could have another tasting right now! Remember, I want to order them when they are brought to market! Meanwhile, I will see if there are any active brain cells that will spark an interesting name for this venture! Marianne

    • Reply
      Fran Tunno
      April 15, 2015 at 10:27 pm

      I was so thrilled you were both able to come! When Milena and I were looking at the photos tonight, she said, “Mrs. Gazzilli was here?!!!!!” She was sad she missed seeing you. Guess I’ll have to have another tasting!

    • Reply
      Fran Tunno
      May 3, 2015 at 1:57 pm

      For you, I would do a special order whenever you want them!

  • Reply
    Nicol Zanzarella
    April 15, 2015 at 6:24 pm

    Going with the theme here how ’bout: “Attza Nize” Biscotti

    • Reply
      Fran Tunno
      April 15, 2015 at 10:25 pm

      Hmmm…attza nize Nicol!

  • Reply
    Fran Tunno
    April 15, 2015 at 3:40 pm

    Love you Di! Old World Italians always scoff at the white chocolate at first, but it grows on them. Grazie for the name input!!! Attsa nize.

  • Reply
    Nicol Zanzarella
    April 15, 2015 at 2:45 pm

    Honored to be a part of this big day for you, Frannie. And so happy to witness the blossoming of this idea and this next chapter for you. Love you xo

    • Reply
      Fran Tunno
      April 15, 2015 at 3:45 pm

      My little sister Nicol. You are the sweetest! I could not have done it (or had as much fun doing it) without you and Martin! Grazie.

  • Reply
    Bernard Tunno
    April 15, 2015 at 11:39 am

    Nice article. Bernie Tunno   PresidentTunno Insurance 330 758-6697 From: At Fran’s Table To: Sent: Wednesday, April 15, 2015 11:55 AM Subject: [New post] The Biscotti Tasting #yiv7887754374 a:hover {color:red;}#yiv7887754374 a {text-decoration:none;color:#0088cc;}#yiv7887754374 a.yiv7887754374primaryactionlink:link, #yiv7887754374 a.yiv7887754374primaryactionlink:visited {background-color:#2585B2;color:#fff;}#yiv7887754374 a.yiv7887754374primaryactionlink:hover, #yiv7887754374 a.yiv7887754374primaryactionlink:active {background-color:#11729E;color:#fff;}#yiv7887754374 | Fran Tunno posted: “No, I did not forget to write last week, I was covered in flour, white chocolate and nuts for days. Nothing “Shades of Grey,” I was just getting ready for my biscotti tasting on Sunday the 12th. I baked like a maniac, then did the scariest thing a baker c” | |

  • Reply
    April 15, 2015 at 11:29 am

    It is times like this that I wish I hadn’t moved 1200 miles away from your table. Cranberry Almond w/White Chocolate, Lemon w/Lemon White Chocolate (I want one now), Walnut Spice w/White Chocolate Drizzle. What about Salted Peanut with a caramel drizzle? I am actually not a huge chocolate lover. I do think salted caramel is pure genius and often wonder why it has only been thought of in recent years. I think the Walnut Spice with a caramel drizzle would be tasty. Frenzie’s Biscotti Dolce (or would it be Dolce Biscotti?).

    • Reply
      Fran Tunno
      April 15, 2015 at 3:43 pm

      Hmmm…attsa nize name. I’mm gonna ting aboutta datta one too. I believe it’s Biscotti Dolce. Thanks Linda! I’ll have to work on my caramel drizzle. Wonder if butterscotch would work? Hmmm.

  • Reply
    Diane Finley
    April 15, 2015 at 10:13 am

    Fran, skip the vegan for me but I’d eat any of them. Being Italian , the anise and lemon sound like heaven. Fran ‘ s That’s Italian Biscuits is my name choice! Good luck. I can’t wait to order some. Love, Di

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