Every Thursday I make my way into the office, and although the traffic might for some inexplicable reason mean that my commute takes over an hour and a half, I smile, because Thursdays mean one of my favourite things: coffee with Jenny.
I am one of the lucky people who has fallen into a job that she enjoys, and even luckier because I am surrounded by an office of women who really care about the work we are doing, and the people we are working with.
There is a feeling of camaraderie and dedication and hope in the halls of our office, and I am honoured to work with every single one of the inspirational women in our research centre.
My office mate, my friend, my wonderful work-mama is Jenny. Through all the ups and downs of the past two years Jenny has been a calming influence, a shoulder to cry on, a partner in excitement, and a willing ear. Thank you, Jenny: for telling me tales of the sea and encouraging me to go out and see the world, for all the lunch times under the sunshine, for trips to the writer’s festival (are you free next year?) or yoga studio, for the coffee dates on a Thursday morning, and for being my angel in the office.
These are for you.
(P.S. You don’t have to share with the boys if you don’t want too…)
Almond, White Chocolate, and Cranberry Biscotti
*To toast the almonds, spread out in a single layer on a baking tray and bake in the oven for 8-10 minutes. Allow to cool before chopping. You can store the toasted nuts for later use if you make a larger batch. Alternately, you can buy pre-toasted nuts in most supermarkets.
*Feedback from my last biscotti indicated that they were sliced a little too thick for some. This is completely personal preference. Me? I like ’em chunky but really, it’s up to you.
- 1 cup plain flour
- 1 cup wholemeal plain flour
- 1/2 cup almond meal
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 80 grams butter, softened
- 3/4 cup caster sugar
- 2 eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla essence
- 1/2 teaspoon almond essence
- 2/3 cup white chocolate chips (or chopped white chocolate)
- 1/2 cup toasted almonds, chopped (see head note)
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 2/3 cup white chocolate, extra
- Preheat your oven to 180C (350F) and line two cookie trays with baking paper.
- In a medium sized bowl whisk together the flours, almond meal, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, using a hand held mixer (or in the bowl of a stand mixer using the paddle blades) cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time and mix until well incorporated.
- Stir in vanilla essence and almond essence.
- Set mixer to low speed and add reserved flour mixture in three parts. The batter will start to come together into a thick dough and you may need to mix in the last addition with a wooden spoon.
- Using a wooden spoon mix in the chocolate chips, almonds, and cranberries.
- Turn dough out onto a lightly floured bench and flour your hands lightly too as the dough may be a little sticky.
- Divide dough into two balls and place one on each tray. Pat out each ball into a log about 24cm (11inch) by 10cm (4inch).
- Bake in the oven for about 25-30 minutes or until firm to the touch. The surfaces may crack a little, but that is fine.
- Remove baked logs from the oven, turn the oven off, and allow the logs to cool completely (about an hour).
- Once logs are completely cool preheat the oven to 140C (280F). Slice each log across ways into pieces about 1cm thick (see head note) and stand each slice up on the baking tray. After you have sliced both logs, place the biscotti back into the oven and bake for about 10-12 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.
- After biscotti are completely cool, melt the extra chocolate and spread a little across one end of the biscuit. The easiest way to melt the chocolate is to place it into a small glass bowl and melt in the microwave in two 20-second bursts and then stir vigorously until completely melted and smooth.
Allow chocolate to set and then serve to friends and family, or package them up in little cellophane bags. These make great Christmas gifts, especially for your own angels in the office.
Tell me dear reader, do you have an angel in the office? A mentor you particularly admire? Have you had a job that you really looked forward to showing up at work for?