How Preheating Your Oven Is Like Foreplay

If you think that you can turn on an oven and put your “dish” in right away… I’d like to meet the last woman that broke up with you… I mean, I’d like to see the last thing that you cooked in there, because honey, that’s not how it’s done.

Your oven needs to be wined, dined, whispered sweet nothings to and THEN you might be ready to bake, roast or even broil… rrraaaaagh.

Now I don’t care if you have a top, top, top of the line fancy schmany-talks-to-you kind of oven, or some old clunky, broke down, needs a match to light kind of oven, EVERYONE needs an oven thermometer. Getting back to foreplay for a second… your oven has “hot spots,” just like you. You know… those certain spots that when ignited turn you into a panting jungle cat… well, on you those spots are a very good thing, although in an oven, not so much. If you don’t know where the hot spots are, your cookies will surely get burned… and, nobody wants that.

So here are a few steps to have a very happy and satisfied oven… and a satisfied oven will almost always return the favor. I’m not sure what that means, but I had to go for the obvious sex joke.

Ok…

1. Buy an oven thermometer. Inexpensive and easy to find…

Let’s get hot baby!

Put the thermometer towards the back of your oven. Turn on your oven and “pre-heat” to the standard temp of 350°. If yours beeps or alerts you in some way to tell you that it has reached 350° – check the thermometer. Has it REALLY reached 350°? If so, you are good to go. If not, this is why you now have an oven thermometer. Once IT has reached 350° then and ONLY THEN are you now good to go.

2. Do a “hot spot” test. Put a few pieces of sliced bread on a 2 baking sheets and put in the oven- one sheet on a rack towards the top and one on a lower rack. Whatever part of the bread browns first is your hot spot. Now you know. The next time you bake cookies, or roast meat items you may have to turn your baking sheets half way through cooking time to avoid burning in that spot.

Speaking of cookies…

My husband and I have recently becoming obsessed with making ice cream (NOT good for New Year resolutions, btw)… and over the weekend we created a most spectacular flavor; Cappuccino & Biscotti.

I am definitely going to put together an ice cream post at some point for those with the proper equipment, but in the meantime, I would love to share my biscotti recipe; one I have been making for years.

Be warned: this is break-your-teeth-off kind of Biscotti. The real deal. This biscotti is meant to be dipped in your specialty coffee drink or perhaps a hot cocoa… Either way, try eating one on its own, and you might be seeing you dentist. You’ve been warned.

Almond Biscotti

2 Cups sugar

3 Cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp. baking powder

¼ tsp. baking soda

¼ tsp. salt

½ Cup butter, room temp

2 beaten eggs

1 tsp. almond extract

½ tsp. vanilla extract

1 cup almonds, toasted and coarsely chopped

Sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.

Put sugar into food processor and pulse. Add butter and pulse. Add extracts and pulse. Add eggs and pulse to mix.

Add dry ingredients a scoop at a time and pulse to incorporate.

Mixture should be a crumbly texture. Dump mixture into a large bowl. Mix in almonds.

On a greased baking sheet, form dough into 2 loaves three inches wide and one inch high. Bake 30 minutes in a properly preheated oven at 325°. Cool.

Slice the loaves into ½” pieces, lay on their sides and put back into the oven to bake another 20 minutes. Check to see that the cookies are dry and slightly golden.

Should make about 3 dozen cookies…

Some variations…

Add lemon zest for Lemon Almond Biscotti…

Use any other kind of nut that you like..

Add dried cranberries, cherries, etc…

Add mini chocolate chips…

When finished dip one side in melted chocolate…

And then dip your partner in chocolate and get back to that foreplay…