Chocolate Chip Biscotti

I’ve never been a big fan of store-bought biscotti.  Unless it comes from a quality Italian bakery, it seems to be hard and stale by the time I eat it.  I know you are intended to soften it with an espresso or a steaming mug of tea, but I wouldn’t usually choose it over a soft, chewy chocolate chip cookie.  Or any cookie, really.

That all changed when I decided to make homemade biscotti for dessert after an Italian dinner.  I’ve been experimenting with different variations of this Giada recipe.  Strangely, the recipe title does not include the word “biscotti” but that is what you get.  Soft and chocolatey, with a pleasing crunch and a good shelf life.

I’ve left out the anise seed, but otherwise stuck to the recipe.  I’ve also added chopped dried cranberries and 1 teaspoon almond extract.  When using cranberries, I recommend reducing the amount of chocolate chips by about 1/3 cup.  Otherwise, the chocolate overpowers the cranberry taste.

I’ve also shipped the biscotti out-of-state via UPS and it has arrived whole and still fresh.  I definitely recommend this recipe for a homemade gift for that coffee, tea, or cookie lover in your life!


Goodbye Twinkies!

With today’s announcement by Hostess Brands that they are closing their plants and the absence of a new buyer, millions of Americans will have to stay goodbye to Twinkies, Ho Hos, Wonder Bread, and other Hostess and Drake’s treats – staples of childhood lunchboxes for decades.

Fortunately, the Internet is full of make-your-own recipes, which are quite likely better than the originals, as

they’ll avoid the chemical preservative taste.  Of course, homemade Twinkies wouldn’t have the shelf life of the store-bought ones, but make some yourself and see if they stick around long enough to worry about shelf life anyway!

I don’t think that the end of Hostess means the end of the snack cake, though.  Entenmann’s is still around (thank goodness for their crumb-topped donuts!)  Other brands will step forward to fill the lunchbox void with similar snacks.  Plus, isn’t a cupcake really just an upscale snack cake?

Here’s a roundup of recipes for homemade Hostess products:

Twinkies (notice the difference between recipes in the filling ingredients – these will taste different from one another.  You could have a Twinkie recipe taste test party!)

Hostess Twinkie Recipe by Top Secret Recipes

Homemade Twinkies by Leite’s Culinaria

Homemade Twinkies by The New York Times

Homemade Twinkies by Simple Math Bakery (they also have a recipe for Pumpkin Twinkies!)


Homemade HoHos by Gale Gand of Food Network

Homemade HoHos by How to Baker

Sno Balls

Homemade Sno Balls by Serious Eats

Homemade Sno Ball Cupcakes by Baking Bites

Ding Dongs

Homemade Ding Dongs by A Cozy Kitchen

Homemade Ding Dongs by Baker