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Biscotti Random Thoughts

The Only Advantage of Covid 19

July 17, 2020
I had this plus three other grocery bags full!

On Wednesday I spent an hour and a half picking up trash on the streets I frequent on my morning walks. It’s supposed to be my time for reflection and peaceful meditation, but even with the meditation music plinking away in the background, I found myself cussing under my mask at all the a**holes who couldn’t be bothered to pick up their damned trash. (One advantage of wearing a mask is that no one realizes you’re cussing, and it can only be confirmed if you’re closer than six feet. Thus far, this is the only imaginable advantage of Covid 19.)

As if waiting for room service to come pick up.

I don’t get how you can walk on a street everyday, or come enjoy a park, then leave your trash everywhere, so no one else gets to enjoy it. You have to be a really selfish jerk to do that.

Apparently there are quite a few really selfish jerks wandering around my Glendale neighborhood.

So I fired off a letter to the editor of the Glendale News Press. Problem is, the jerks who trash the streets and parks probably don’t read the paper, so my words will have been for nothing, but at least I got it off my chest.

Date, Hazelnut Cinnamon Biscotti

And, I’ve been baking. I baked a batch of date, hazelnut, cinnamon biscotti with white chocolate cinnamon icing, that I’m loving. I also baked brownies then ate three of them. Thank God I mailed the rest to family members having birthdays. I’m tempted to make chocolate ganache and smother the last two in it, but I’m trying to stretch what minimal willpower I have left. I think Corona Virus brings out the chocolaholic in me. Click on the word, brownie above for an older post on easy peezy brownies.

I’m doing a lot of research on finding an agent and getting my book published. It’s all very helpful because it takes my mind off all the screaming self-doubt.

And I won a whopping 15 bucks on a scratcher the other day! In my entire lifetime of playing the lottery, I think I’ve won a total of 80 bucks. Clearly, I play for the fantasy of winning, not actual winnings. I think the reality of winning might do me in, like it did in Waking Ned Devine, (a fabulous Irish movie from 1998).

I’m also waiting for the knock on my door from HGTV telling me I’ve won the smart home in Pittsburgh. It’s a lot like waiting for Mr. Right to materialize on my doorstep with flowers and See’s Candy. Neither is likely, but it’s fun to fantasize about. It’s becoming clear why old people become obsessed with Publisher’s Clearing House. What else do they have to think about?

And I found a new Netflix TV show that’s captured me, in spite of, or possibly because of its dark comedy, called Dead To Me. It stars Christina Applegate, who I haven’t seen since she was a kid, and Linda Cardellini. I just can’t stop watching it, so I try to limit myself to one or two episodes per night. If you have a darkly humorous side, it could be for you. The acting is fabulous and I love the writing, but if you’re squeamish about f-bombs, it might not be your cup of tea.

OK, now please tell me what you’re doing because I clearly need to live vicariously through you since my life has the excitement of snails crawling. In the meantime, here’s that biscotti recipe. These are really good!

Date, Hazelnut, Cinnamon Biscotti

Yields1 Serving

 ½ cup butter (I use regular, not unsalted) softened
 ½ cup sugar
 1 ½ tsp vanilla
 3 eggs
 1 cup coarsely chopped toasted hazelnuts
 1 cup chopped dates
 3 cups flour
 ½ tsp salt
 1 tbsp baking powder
 1 egg yolk
 ¼ tsp sugar
 ½ tsp water
 1 cup Nestle White Chocolate Chips
 ¾ tsp cinnamon

1

In a large mixer, beat the sugar and softened butter until fluffy. Add the vanilla and eggs. Then add the dates, and the nuts. Stir just to combine.

2

Then combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Slowly add the flour, salt baking powder mixture to the date nut, egg, butter, sugar mixture. Mix until the dough holds together.

3

Separate the dough into two equal pieces. Roll each piece into a long log and put it on a cookie sheet. (Preferably one without edges - it's easier to cut the biscotti on those.) Then flatten each log into a rectangle about five inches wide and 1/2 to 3/4 inch high. Mix together the egg yolk, 1/4 tsp sugar and the 1/2 tsp. water, and brush the top of each flattened log with that mixture.

4

Bake at 350 for 20 minutes. Then remove from oven, run a spatula under the rectangles to loosen them from the baking sheet. Then cut each rectangle in to one inch pieces width-wise. Take each biscotto and turn it on its side. Then reduce the heat to 325 and return the pan to the oven for 15 minutes.

5

When the biscotti have cooled, heat the white chocolate chips at half power for 1 minute intervals until they melt. The more you stir them, the easier they melt. Once melted, add the cinnamon to the white chocolate and stir to combine. Then drizzle that white chocolate on each biscotti, or cover one whole side with it. Let them cool, so the white chocolate dries, then store in a cool, dry place.

Ingredients

 ½ cup butter (I use regular, not unsalted) softened
 ½ cup sugar
 1 ½ tsp vanilla
 3 eggs
 1 cup coarsely chopped toasted hazelnuts
 1 cup chopped dates
 3 cups flour
 ½ tsp salt
 1 tbsp baking powder
 1 egg yolk
 ¼ tsp sugar
 ½ tsp water
 1 cup Nestle White Chocolate Chips
 ¾ tsp cinnamon

Directions

1

In a large mixer, beat the sugar and softened butter until fluffy. Add the vanilla and eggs. Then add the dates, and the nuts. Stir just to combine.

2

Then combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Slowly add the flour, salt baking powder mixture to the date nut, egg, butter, sugar mixture. Mix until the dough holds together.

3

Separate the dough into two equal pieces. Roll each piece into a long log and put it on a cookie sheet. (Preferably one without edges - it's easier to cut the biscotti on those.) Then flatten each log into a rectangle about five inches wide and 1/2 to 3/4 inch high. Mix together the egg yolk, 1/4 tsp sugar and the 1/2 tsp. water, and brush the top of each flattened log with that mixture.

4

Bake at 350 for 20 minutes. Then remove from oven, run a spatula under the rectangles to loosen them from the baking sheet. Then cut each rectangle in to one inch pieces width-wise. Take each biscotto and turn it on its side. Then reduce the heat to 325 and return the pan to the oven for 15 minutes.

5

When the biscotti have cooled, heat the white chocolate chips at half power for 1 minute intervals until they melt. The more you stir them, the easier they melt. Once melted, add the cinnamon to the white chocolate and stir to combine. Then drizzle that white chocolate on each biscotti, or cover one whole side with it. Let them cool, so the white chocolate dries, then store in a cool, dry place.

Date Hazelnut Cinnamon Biscotti

  • Reply
    Julia
    July 18, 2020 at 9:34 am

    Equally bored here in the Bay Area, but relieved to be well and in relatively good shape. We’re cooking, streaming, and taking walks. My beloved dance studio offers zoom classes, and that keeps me sane and connected, along with a weekly family zoom call with my sibs. I got Disney+ to watch Hamilton and it was fantastic. Celia and I sing the songs daily. Good luck with your book. I’m looking forward to reading it.

    • Reply
      Fran Tunno
      July 21, 2020 at 4:22 pm

      Julia!!! So happy you are all well. I had no idea Celia was staying with you. I think one, or both of your daughters was in New York, right? I could be totally wrong. At least you have company. Better than a dog with minimal conversational tools. I may have to get Disney+ too. I’ve been wanting to see Hamilton for years! Thanks for letting me know! Stay healthy! I must get back to my dance routine.

  • Reply
    Bruce Barker
    July 17, 2020 at 11:43 am

    In case it becomes part of your picking-up-trash routine (as it did mine), lacquer thinner is fantastic at removing graffiti from street signs. None of us should need to know these things. 🙂

    • Reply
      Fran Tunno
      July 17, 2020 at 11:59 am

      As if I couldn’t think more highly of you Brucie, you just elevated yourself…again! Good to know. Thanks. I’m hoping it doesn’t come to that in this neighborhood.

  • Reply
    Chas Madonio
    July 17, 2020 at 8:03 am

    Hey Fran, I sure hope your book is picked up by a publisher soon. I’m know it will be a great read. I too am writing a book. It’s about my years in rock ‘n roll bands. It probably won’t be of much interest to the general public, but for those who hung out in Kent during the 60’s and 70’s, I think it will bring back many memories. So, I’m just going to self publish. I don’t think it would have a broad enough appeal to interest a publisher. And I don’t care if I make any money on it, or even lose a little. Unfortunately, there are a lot of stories I can’t tell because I might get sued. As you can imagine, stories about drugs, sex and rock ‘n roll might offend a few people who are now upstanding citizens. Anyway, we are as bored as most people. One thing we are doing is visiting areas and college campuses within and hour or so of home that we either haven’t been to for a while of have never been there. Last week we went to Oberlin and before that Hiram College, and this week we’re going to Wooster. One good thing is I am now working out every day. Since February 25, I have missed only one day, because I had vertigo that day. But I miss seeing all our friends and all the things we’ve had cancelled – March Madness, major league baseball, NBA playoffs, concerts, summer theater, all the street festivals Kent has all summer, meeting friends for breakfast, lunch and dinner, entertaining, traveling and a planned family vacation. Covid sucks. But we’re still alive and enjoying those parts of life it hasn’t stolen from us. Stay well.

    • Reply
      Fran Tunno
      July 17, 2020 at 10:59 am

      Chas! I am so happy to hear you are writing! What fun. I say, don’t worry too much about what other people will think because everyone’s a critic no matter what you write. Just write from your heart and you’ll be OK. You are really funny, i’m sure the book will be fun to read! And kudos to you for working out. I’m walking more everyday, lost a few lbs. but Vogue is not calling yet, so I’ll keep at it. I love the idea of visiting college campuses, since no one is there anyway! Good thinking! Enjoy the short baseball season and keep writing. I want an autographed copy when you’re published. I’m reading a great book called, The Shortest Distance Between You and a Published Book. It’s by Susan Page. Good stuff to keep in mind. I got it secondhand for a few bucks. It’s very good! Give Nancy a hug from me.

  • Reply
    Monica
    July 17, 2020 at 7:11 am

    You won’t want to live vicariously through ME because I am doing basically the same things you are- reading, baking, writing and watching Netflix (okay, maybe not much writing). Watched both seasons of Dead to Me and loved it! I still have my job although I’m on a partial furlough. I ride my bike three times a week so I don’t go insane. My kids are home, which for me is the best thing about Covid. Please keep us posted about your book, I really think it will be a HUGE hit, then you can just buy that house in Pittsburgh.

    • Reply
      Fran Tunno
      July 17, 2020 at 10:54 am

      So glad to hear our lives are equally dull. At least your kids are there to liven things up. Topper hasn’t been providing much excitement, but it’s fun to see him still able to chase a ball in the house. Happy to hear you still have your job, it’s some comfort during this insanely stressful time. And YES to Dead to Me. I just finished it and am so sad. Can’t wait to see what happens next. There will be a season three, yay! Say hi to Davey and the kids! And thank you for your support on the book.

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