Biscotti are an easy treat to make…and they make great neighbor/teacher gifts!
These Chocolate Walnut Biscotti are one of my favorites!
It’s amazing how much stuff collects around this house. And I’m not talking about dog toys, Robbie toys or the dust buffalo roaming under our couch. Nor am I talking about baseball cards, comic books and retro Nintendo games. Nope, I’m talking about stuff in my kitchen pantry. I like to cook and bake. That’s no surprise, right? So our spice pantry is pretty well stocked. You name it, chances are I’ve got it! And chances are I’ve got a whole bunch of other spices in there, too.
I finally took some time to clean out our spice pantry the other day. It was getting a little unruly in there! The garlic powder was encroaching into the chili powder’s territory. The oregano apparently had an all night party at some point recently. And don’t even get me started on the cayenne pepper! Spicy! Seriously, though, that cabinet was bursting at the seams…so it was time to clean it up a bit. Here are just a few of the more random things from my foray into the spice pantry:
- Bay leaves. Not that strange of an item. Until you remember that most recipes only call for 1-2 bay leaves. I had a bag large enough to last 10 years. Maybe 11. And that’s assuming I made lots of recipes using bay leaves…which I don’t. Same goes for the Taco Seasoning. I think I found no less than about 5 cups worth of Taco Seasoning. Apparently we forgot we had some, so we bought more. Then we did it again…4 more times.
- Cranberry balsamic vinegar. Delicious when added to a salad. But I always forget that we have these flavored balsamics and olive oils. I end up going to the ‘regular’ versions of both…and thus I end up with a surprisingly large collection of tiny bottles. I’m looking at you, habanero olive oil and smoked olive oil.
- Curry powders. Laura loves Indian food. And I’ve gotten to where I enjoy it, too. But does anyone need 5 types of masala and even more varieties of curry powder? Great seasoning…but I think we’re set on that front for quite a while. Especially when you consider that dried spices slowly lose their flavor over time.
- Gumbo filé. Ever heard of this one? Filé powder is ground sassafras leaves, and it’s used to thicken gumbo. It also lends a nice earthy flavor to the dish. But here’s the thing: I can’t find filé powder up here. So I think my stockpile of filé is totally acceptable!
- Tartufato salt. Ever heard of tartufato salt? Didn’t think so. It’s actually pretty cool! Tartufato salt is truffled salt. Salt with bits of truffles mixed in. We picked up this unique seasoning on our honeymoon to Assisi, Italy. Oh, did I mention that was about 5 years ago now? Oops. Glad I found this one…we’ll have to actually use it now!
- Ancestral trapichazi. Never heard of trapichazi? Don’t worry. We hadn’t either until one of our friends brought this back after she studied in Argentina last year. It’s a seasoning mix that is common in Argentinian foods. But we have no idea what type of trapichazi we have…and there’s no ingredient list to find the types of spices in the mix. Guess we’ll have to experiment with that one night…
- Loveless Cafe’s BBQ Dry Rub. Put this one in the same section as Puckett’s Butt Rub. Both are from Nashville. My mother and sister live in Nashville, so it’s not surprising that my pantry contains several types of BBQ rubs. And I love to smoke various meats, too. But I have enough spice rubs to last at least 2 years…maybe 3.
- Buffalo Popcorn Seasoning. I found this gem hiding in the corner. We used to use it all the time, but then I think we just forgot about it. That, and if you accidentally take a big whiff of your popcorn and inhale some of this seasoning…well, just don’t do that. Still, I’m glad we found it again. I think I need some popcorn this afternoon!
Ok, that’s enough of the tour through David’s spice pantry. One thing that I never run out of? Chocolate! In this case, cocoa powder. And I also keep large bags of several different types of nuts in the fridge. Pecans, almonds and walnuts are pretty much always in stock. I grabbed the walnuts and whipped up a batch of Chocolate Walnut Biscotti the other day. Tasty…and perfect with a morning (or evening) cup of coffee!
I make biscotti fairly regularly, and I’ve posted several different varieties here on Spiced. I gotta say that these Chocolate Walnut Biscotti rank right up there near the top. Perfectly crispy and chocolate-y with a nice flavor from the chopped walnuts. I thought about dipping these bad boys in white chocolate or perhaps drizzling a simple icing on the top. But in the end, I decided to keep it simple with just a light dusting of powdered sugar.
If you’ve never made biscotti, then these Chocolate Walnut Biscotti need to be on your list! They’re great to keep on hand during the holidays when friends drop by to visit…and they would also make for great neighbor and teacher gifts! (If you’re using these as teacher gifts, just make sure your school isn’t a nut-free zone.) Enjoy!
What is your favorite (edible) neighbor/teacher gift for the holidays?
What is the strangest spice you have hiding in your pantry?