Today is 2 for 1 day at Pink Piccadilly Pastries! You get 2 recipes for 1 visit! I am also joining Trish over at Sweetology for Tea Party Tuesday and Kathy at A Delightsome Life. Well, my son had grown some beautiful Zinnias that just started thriving as the cooler weather began here and I wanted to use them in a post. So I thought, now what kind of goodie could I bake today that would look nice with a Zinnia garnish? (LOL) So I decided on Pistachio Meringues. Then, since I only needed the whites of 2 eggs and didn't want to waste 2 yolks (with so many recipes waiting to be made!), I also decided on a yummy Italian cookie recipe that only needed 2 egg yolks called Biscotti Regina.
I have just discovered Italian Cookies and find that I like them alot! Many Italian cookies are not too sweet and will keep in the cookie jar a long time. I had recently seen a beautiful photo of some pretty "biscotti" cookies on the Tomkat Studio blog, but the recipe was not given. There was just a tag in front of the cookies with the word "Biscotti" on it. Well, I was overcome with curiosity (LOL) and had to find out what these cookies were. This is the photo from the blog.....
Aren't they pretty? They look nothing like the typical "biscotti" that I am familiar with. I wondered how it could be called biscotti when it obviously is not a twice baked cookie. So I just began to google Italian Cookie recipes that might fit. The very first recipe I found was for Biscotti Regina. I learned that Biscotti Regina is an example of an Italian Cookie which is not sliced and re-baked, since biscotti in Italian just means cookies. The true Biscotti Regina is rolled in Sesame Seeds before baking and is found on nearly every Italian Cookie Platter. The recipe description for this cookie fit what the picture showed if you left off the sesame seeds and dipped in powdered sugar icing after baking. So that is what I did!
Just call me Sherlock Holmes! I actually liked the cookies better before I dipped them in icing! They have a sort of crunch when you bite into them, but then melt away in your mouth. After they are iced, the crunch is not as pronounced. They are extremely light, a really different kind of cookie. I can imagine all kinds of variations, by changing the extract or rolling in chopped nuts! The recipe can be found here. I made a couple of changes to that recipe to "pretty it up." First, their recipe used unsalted butter, but I used salted. Next, I didn't roll the cookies in the sesame seeds, but instead made a simple powdered sugar icing adding lemon juice until it was the right consistency. Then, I added a bit of pink color gel and dipped the cooled cookies in that. I also sprinkled on a bit of light pink sparkling sugar to finish. I'm not sure that this is the recipe for the photo on Tomkat Studio, but it looks the same, and it is delicious! .....Now, onto my other yummy cookie that I made today.....
For my birthday I got a lovely book on meringues called Meringue Magic. I made the recipe for Pistachio and cardamom langue de chat, except that I didn't have cardamom and I piped them into discs rather than the langue de chat (cat tongue) shape. Langue de chat are shaped like ladyfingers.
I bought some pistachio extract online and this was my first time using it. I liked the taste alot better after the cookies had baked than before. When paired with the chopped pistachio nuts, it really was yummy. If you bake alot and don't have a digital baker's scale, I encourage you to add one to your Christmas list. They make measuring alot easier, and when you find recipes where the ingredients are measured in grams or ounces, you don't have to worry about converting to cups. Many European recipes are given in grams, as is this one.
Pistachio and cardamom langue de chat
2 egg whites, at room temperature
100 g (3 1/2 oz) caster sugar (I use Dixie Crystals extra fine granulated sugar)
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1 drop green food coloring (I used a powdered color in Leaf Green)
1-2 drops pistachio extract (I used 1/8 tsp) Bought online
Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment. Prepare a piping bag with a medium sized round nozzle. (I used my 1M open star tip)
Toast the pistachio nuts in the oven for 10 minutes. Allow to cool for 10 minutese, then roughly chop. Set aside. (I skipped this part because I bought a bag of dry roasted pistachio nuts).
Place the egg whites in a large metal bowl. (I used my electric mixer) Using an electric whisk, whisk on a medium speed for about 1 minute. The whites will turn to foam and begin to increase in volume. Increase the speed to high and continue until soft peaks begin to form. Still whisking, add the sugar a few spoonfuls at a time, whisking for 20-30 seconds after each addition. Continue to whisk until the egg whites are eight times their original volume, the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is stiff and shiny. Slowly add the cardamom, food coloring and pistachio extract, whisking until the mixture is a uniform color. It is ready for baking when it doesn't slide off a spoon and it holds its shape.
Put the mixture into the piping bag. (or just dolop onto baking sheet). For each langue de chat, pipe a line about 2 1/2" long, then pipe back up along the side, pulling the bag to make a little peak. Space the meringues about 1 1/4" inches apart. Sprinkle over the chopped pistachios.
Bake for about 20 minutes or until the meringues are dry to the touch and just starting to turn a little golden on the peaks. (I completely dry mine in the oven for 2 hours). Allow to cool completely before removing from the baking parchment. The meringues can be stored in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
As you can see, I sandwiched my meringues together with a dolop of slightly sweetened whipped cream. They were so yummy! I highly recommend the Biscotti Regina recipe as well, and think it would be a very lovely addition to any shower or tea party.
Today I used my sweet vintage feedsack with the delicate pink flowers that I bought on Ebay. I love the look of vintage linens! I hope you enjoyed your class on biscotti (LOL) and come back soon because I am going to be baking my very favorite and almost famous Pumpkin Bread, and my super yummy signature Toffee Crumble Scones! Thanks for visiting!