As first time parent one resolves to do, or not to do, many things. Stuff like - I will only breastfeed. I will not fill the house with baby crap. I will only use cloth diapers. I will not speak in Baby when baby is not around. I will shower everyday and wear something more presentable than those old pajamas. I will not watch TV unless it's PBS. I will read to baby everyday. I will not spoil the baby. I speak in general terms of course.
The resolutions mostly work out, except when they don't. These moments of defeat usually creep up right after you tell your friends that the baby sleeps through everything and of course the baby then screams out loud and wont quiet down. Or when you find a new show on TV that is definitely not PBS material but so freaking good. Or when you see how much the baby poos and decide that you will recycle every single piece of plastic for the rest of your life instead to make up for the 15 disposable diapers per day that will clog the landfills forever.
Pacifiers present the greatest of challenge to parenting. It is truly amazing to see how pacifying a baby with a rubber nipple solves 90% of the problems. Loud shrieking in public - stick a cork in it and voila, peace. Louder shrieking in the middle of the night - stick a cork in it and it's like being at a spa getting a full body massage.
It's quite unfair then to have all these studies showing that excessive use of a pacifier is not good. No problem, the new parent says, we will just use it sparingly and not excessively. It is soon discovered though that to a baby, pacifier = crack and there is no in between with crack - one is an addict not just a casual user.
The only way to overcoming a baby's pacifier addiction is to go cold turkey. Sure you will be looked upon as a bad parent that cant quiet down the baby in a public place and of course there will be no mistaking the nights as a spa resort as you walk around in the dark holding a sleepy yet shrieking baby. This is where the biscotti comes into play. Sleepless nights will warrant a lot of coffee drinking the next morning and if the new parent has a stash of some homemade almond chocolate biscotti on hand, life will seem less cruel. They will tend to stick with the no-pacifier camp and soldier on.
Chocolate Almond Biscotti - Adapted From:Lebovitz, David. Room for Dessert. Harper Collins via Joyofbaking.com
- 3/4 cup (110 grams) blanched whole almonds
- 2/3 cup (135 grams) granulated white sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 3/4 cups (230 grams) all-purpose flour
- 2/3 cup (4 ounces) (110 grams) semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped into bite-sized chunks (can use chocolate chips)
In bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the sugar and eggs on high speed until thick, pale, and fluffy (about 5 minutes). At this point beat in the vanilla extract. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Add to the egg mixture and beat until combined. Fold in the chopped almonds and chocolate.
Transfer the dough to a well floured counter and roll into a log shape, about 12 inches (30 cm) long and 3 1/2 inches (9 cm) wide. You may have to flour your hands to form the log as the dough is quite sticky. Place on your baking sheet and bake for about 25 minutes or until firm to the touch. Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack for about 10 minutes.
Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Transfer the log to a cutting board and cut into about 1/2 inch (1.25 cm) slices, on the diagonal. Place the biscotti, cut side down, on the baking sheet. Bake for about 8-10 minutes, turn slices over, and bake for another 8-10 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool. Store in an airtight container.
Makes about 20-24 biscotti.