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  • Writer's pictureThe Baker

Of the first biscotti and the stench of coconut oil

Dec. 6th, 2022

A friend cancelled my belated birthday dinner due to her getting food poisoning at a previous dinner and so I've had the evening to do something, anything, anything at all. Biscotti is what the "anything" turned out to be. Shopped at the organic store for the biscotti recipe and two other recipes from the Green Rocket cookbook. Big plans to cook dinner for a friend while husband is away this weekend, but who knows if there'll be room for another body in this place with me and my ennui crowding up the half kitchen.

The biscotti ingredients were relatively easy to source, only harassed salesman three, or was it four times, for different ingredients that I couldn't find. Had to look up "arrowroot" in Google Translate in order to ask if they had it. They didn't.

Carried two very heavy sacks of ingredients home, including 2 ginormous bags of organic spelt flour that I forgot I already had at home. Forearms were extremely sore and I almost perished from violent thirst. After pouring 2 liters of water down throat in order to get back to 3D functioning human, I began biscotti.

Started off by roasting the hazelnuts, of which I bought way too many. For the charms of the organic store, they do not have any food scales. Annoying.

Ran into the big bad problem of this recipe in the first step. While melting a heart-stopping amount of coconut oil (and slathering it all over everything, including my counter, spoons, food scale and hands) and sugar in a pan, I made a lazy woman error. I left the sugar and the coconut oil on its own to melt, i.e. I stopped stirring. As years of watching Great British Bakeoff have shown me, sugar over too high heat will crystallize. Much to my wtf that is exactly what happened here.

At this exact moment, my phone playing Nico on full volume collapsed under the weight of her monotone and died. I had to run upstairs to retrieve charger so I could turn phone back on to Google how tf can you get sugar to un-crystallize. It's worth noting that it says nothing about this happening in the recipe and in fact doesn't even mention that you should keep stirring or else.

The sugar crystals, like my despair, continued to develop while I was getting the charger. Tried stirring the pot vigorously but that did nothing but clank the rapidly forming rock candy against the pot.

All of a sudden this entire project seemed to me beyond ludicrous as I had not factored in the possibility of anything going wrong during the cooking process. Wondered if I would cry but instead, to my relief, realized that I only felt extreme annoyance as per usual.

Anyways, from the depths of Google was retrieved the information that adding boiling water to crystallized sugar can get it to soften. So that's exactly what I did. Was not prepared for the boiling water to instantaneously turn the pot of sugar into a bubbling cauldron that, much to my alarm, started to pop and spit violently. Much sugar, coconut oil and water erupted over the sides of pot a la high school chem lab experiment.

It was then Whisk! Whisk! Whisk! and thank god or whoever, things started to calm down. Miraculously the rock candy formerly known as sugar began to transform itself back into a liquid.

The rest of assembly was smooth sailing after this mishap. I mixed and mushed all ingredients with my hands to keep the mixture, whose ingredients I had doubled, from spilling over side of bowl.

Arranged the whole mess on a baking sheet in the shape of a ciabatta (I Googled wtf shape this is) and into the oven it went.

Spent a significant amount of time trying to gouge bits of biscotti dough out from under my gorgeous nails. Still can't get the coconut oil smell off my hands. Looking forward to slicing biscotti when dough is cool cause currently it looks like a massive poop and the hazelnuts in it aren't helping this image.

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