Hey guys, guess what. I can be a semi-normal human being again.
I’m done with school… for the semester. Which makes me a senior. In college.
Which makes me old. Or something.
Mercy me, I feel a stroll down memory lane coming on…
We can make it a short stroll. Remember this time last year?
Probs not. I don’t expect you to know my life. I barely know my life sometimes.
But this time last year, I was ten types of crazy for twenty different reasons. Main one being that I was going to Tampa for an internship… but I didn’t actually have anywhere in Tampa to live.
Me being the worry wort that I am, I found the whole situation rather worrisome.
Low in behold, all worked out fine. I found housing. It was fine. I was fine. Everything was just fine.
But that was then. And this is now. And right now, I am better than fine.
A little like last year, I’m heading into this summer ten kinds of crazy. Crazy excited.
Crazy excited is exponentially better than plain old don’t hand me a knife crazy. And know what… I got buckets of crazy excitement. Yeah, buckets. Just ask my roommate. I keep spilling crazy excitement everywhere. I’m a slob. It’s cool.
All this crazy excitement is because for the first time ever, I’m staying in ATHENS for summer.
Not going home. Not going to some random scary place to work by my lonesome.
Athens people. Athens is where it’s at.
And oh what a glorious time it shall be… My list of fun projects, organizational projects, self-improvement projects, art projects, random projects is growing forever ever longer.
I get to plot dangerously awesome plans for the local, independent, student-run mouthful of a magazine ((Ampersand)) that I’m now managing editor for. So much awesomeness to come. I can feel it tingling in my toes.
I have an internship doing social media/PR-type stuff for a wine and gourmet food and gift shop called Shiraz. It might just be one of my new favorite places to be. There’s wine… everywhere. There’s wine in the walls for goodness sake. Plus a ton of other cool stuff. Like cheese. Wine, cheese, win.
I think I can handle plugging an awesome local business and attending wine tastings and snapping photos all summer.
Maybe my favorite part of being in Athens for summer is… I’ll be in Athens for summer.
Sometimes in the heat of the semester, it’s tough to enjoy all the amazing junk this town has to offer. But during the summer… I can run, I can play, I can watch sweet indie films at Ciné, I can go to the farmers market like every Saturday, I can zone out in the bot gardens, I can enjoy the music scene, I can go get lost for a while in the GMOA AND I can finally go to this year’s Athefest… Where my buckets of crazy excitement will definitely be spilling everywhere as I hand the summer music issue of Ampersand out to every living creature around me.
Lord help me, I can’t sit still.
Sorry, I legit didn’t mean to turn this into a list of bragging about how fabulous my summer is going to be. I’m just pumped that instead of going nuts with panic like last year, I’m going nuts with enthusiasm this year.
And going nuts with candied nuts for lightly spiced vanilla biscotti. Biscotti is making this nutty scenario all the more fabulous.
Come to Athens and share some of the fab with me. We can share biscotti too.
Ya wanna? Ya oughta. Let’s do it.
Ready, set, break!
White Chocolate & Candied Pecan Biscotti
Adapted from Joy the Baker
makes about 2 dozen biscotti
2 cups flour
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup granulated sugar
(3/4 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 ounces white chocolate, roughly chopped
1 large egg white
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups raw pecan halves
Start by making the pecans.
Place a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk egg white until the whites have foamed into small white bubbles. Add sugar, spices, and salt. Whisk until thick and opaque. Add pecans and toss to coat. Once thoroughly coated, spoon pecans onto prepared baking sheet. Leave any extra coating in the bowl.
Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until nuts are fragrant and toasted golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before chopping and incorporating into biscotti batter.
To make the Biscotti:
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F and arrange two baking racks in the upper portion of the oven. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder and salt. Set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer, fit with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Scrape down the down and beat in the egg followed by the egg yolk. Beat in the vanilla extract. Add the dry ingredients to the creamed butter all at once. With the mixer or just with a spatula, bring all of the ingredients together until a somewhat stiff dough is formed.
Fold in the white chocolate and 1 1/2 cups chopped pecans (use the remaining half cup for a different recipe, or just for snacking!) Divide the dough in two on the two making sheets. Shape each half of dough into a 9-inch long and 1 1/2-inch wide log. Bake the two sheets on two different racks in the oven for 20 minutes. Rotate the cookie sheets for even baking and bake for 20-25 more minutes until golden and firm to the touch. Remove from the oven but keep the oven on.
Let biscotti cool until able to handle. Using a serrated knife, cut logs into 1/2-inch wide diagonal slices. Place biscotti cut side down on baking sheet and sprinkle with more cinnamon sugar. Bake again until pale golden, about 10-15 minutes.
Store in an airtight container for up to one week.