If I were to make a list of things that change when you have kids, trips to the coffee shop wouldn’t even make the top 25. Because pretty much every thing you do as a human being during the course of a day is impacted by children. Eating, sleeping, working, cooking, going to the bathroom, vacations, cleaning, driving, restaurants, grocery stores, doctor’s appointments, shopping, exercising … the list could go on for, umm, days. I really wish someone would have told me that children change everything. Oh wait, they did.
But I do think back to those unencumbered trips for a cup of coffee when I could read the newspaper or think about a project without breaking up fights and cleaning up spilled hot chocolate. And I have come to realize that your fellow coffee shop patrons will dread the sight of you walking in with children because their blissful, quiet newspaper reading is about to come to an end. And so, you have four options: 1) Say “I don’t effin’ care” and take the kids anyway, 2) Give up trips to the coffee shop, 3) Only patronize coffee shops with drive thrus (I’m a big fan of coffee shops with drive thrus), or 4) Bring the coffee shop home.
Number four makes sense, actually. At home, the cost of the coffee is actually in line with, umm, the price of coffee — as opposed to some sort of liquid golden petroleum that cures cancer. Your kids can run free around the house and watch Dora or color on your walls — so no dirty looks from the kidless crowd. You can use fair trade, organic coffees with local or organic milk. You can use your own wireless for free. You don’t have to pretend to enjoy that random Latin Jazz artist. And you can make your own biscotti where you control the ingredients!
So, while I still have no ability to make a heart in my foamed milk, I can make a pretty decent biscotti. This one is whole grain with additional wheat germ and ground flax, lightly sweetened with honey, and studded with dark chocolate and dried cherries. I don’t like my biscotti to make me feel like I am going to break a tooth, so I keep mine more on the tender side. But if you like them harder, you can cut them thinner and/or bake them longer.
I can’t promise you that the coffee experience will be the same as the days before kids, but the biscotti will be a lot better.
Whole Grain Dark Chocolate and Dried Cherry Biscotti
1 cup white whole wheat flour
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 cup ground flaxseed
1/4 cup wheat germ
1/2 t salt
1 t baking powder
1/2 cup butter, softened (1 stick)
1/2 cup honey
2 large eggs
1/2 t vanilla extract
1/2 cup dried sour cherries, roughly chopped
3/4 cup dark chocolate chunks (from about 6 oz. of chocolate)
3-4 oz. additional dark chocolate, melted (optional for dipping after biscotti are cooked)
1. Preheat oven to 325 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. In a medium bowl, stir together white whole wheat flour, whole wheat pastry flour, ground flax, wheat germ, salt, and baking powder.
3. In a large bowl with an electric mixer, cream together butter and honey for 1-2 minutes until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one a time and mix until incorporated. Add vanilla extract and mix.
4. Mix dry ingredients (flour, etc.) into butter mixture in about three separate additions. Mix until just combined and then switch to a wooden spoon or spatula. Stir in cherries and dark chocolate.
5. Shape cookie dough into a flattened 4 inch by 12 inch log. Try to square it off on the ends and keep it uniform in thickness.
6. Bake the log for 30 minutes until just golden. Remove from oven, slide log (on parchment) onto a cooling rack, and let cool for 10-15 minutes.
7. Reduce oven temperature to 300 F. Carefully transfer the log to a cutting board (Man, I wish I could come up with a better term than log. It is starting to seem obscene.). Using a very sharp knife, slice into 3/4 inch biscotti and transfer to a parchment lined baking sheet. Arrange on baking sheet with the cut side up. (You should end up with about 16-18 biscotti). Bake for 30 minutes until golden brown. (Slightly longer baking times will produce crunchier biscotti.)
8. Remove from oven and transfer biscotti to cooling rack. Allow to cool completely and drizzle with melted dark chocolate (if desired).