Flavors and Colors for Spring March 20 2019

As the days lengthen and the clouds clear away, I've been finding myself holding back spontaneous laughter bubbling in my chest, itching to move, overflowing with inspiration. Are you feeling the same way? Here in the PNW, winter is dark, grey, dreary and a real slog to get through. Today may be equinox, the true first day of spring, but I've noticed for a week or two now that people's steps have been springier and conversations are more musical in tone.

It seems we are moving again from greys and browns to pinks and oranges, electric greens and soft yellows. These colors are so lively and flavorful, it's only right to have delicious gatherings with friends to celebrate all the rich Yum around us! In that spirit, may I suggest we begin to make time for regular afternoon teas? How appealing is it to think of sweet, smooth tea over delicate scones and fresh fruits? Perhaps a tea sandwich with a twist? Let's play with Spanish smoke in our salmon and fresh lemon zest on our cucumbers. I want matcha and orange peel in my biscotti.

Matcha and Orange Peel Biscotti
  • 6 tablespoons butter, salted or unsalted
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup culinary grade matcha
  • 1/4 cup fresh orange zest
  • coarse white sparkling sugar, for sprinkling on top, optional
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease (or line with parchment) one large (about 18" x 13") baking sheet.
  2. In a medium-sized bowl, beat the butter, sugar, salt, vanilla, and baking powder until the mixture is smooth and creamy.
  3. Beat in the eggs; the batter may look slightly curdled. At low speed of your mixer, add the orange zest, flour and matcha powder, stirring until smooth; the dough will be sticky.
  4. Plop the dough onto the prepared baking sheet. Divide it in half, and shape it into two 9 1/2" x 2" logs, about 3/4" tall. Straighten the logs, and smooth their tops and sides; a wet spatula or wet bowl scraper works well here. Sprinkle with coarse white sparkling sugar, if desired, pressing it in gently.
  5. Bake the dough for 25 minutes. Remove it from the oven.
  6. Using a spray bottle filled with room-temperature water, lightly but thoroughly spritz the logs, making sure to cover the sides as well as the top. Softening the crust just this little bit will make slicing the biscotti much easier. Reduce the oven temperature to 325°F.
  7. Wait 5 minutes, then use a sharp chef's knife or serrated knife to cut the log crosswise into 1/2" to 3/4" slices. Or cut the biscotti on the diagonal, for fewer, longer biscotti. As you're slicing, be sure to cut straight up and down, perpendicular to the pan; if you cut unevenly, biscotti may be thicker at the top than the bottom, and they'll topple over during their second bake.
  8. Set the biscotti on edge on the prepared baking sheet. Return the biscotti to the oven, and bake them for 25 to 30 minutes, until they feel very dry and are beginning to turn golden. They'll still feel a tiny bit moist in the very center, if you break off a piece; but they'll continue to dry out as they cool.
  9. Remove the biscotti from the oven, and transfer them to a rack to cool. Store airtight at room temperature; they'll stay good for weeks.
  10. Yield: 30 to 40 biscotti, depending on size.

What new recipes are you inspired to create? We'll be sharing a few more of our own here soon, as well as ideas for themed tea parties and more Behind the Blend insight on our springtime favorites.

Much love to you all, and please go enjoy the sunshine while it's beaming!