“Mirkwood Biscotti” by Astrid Tuttle Winegar
Alas, their time with Beorn must end, but now that he is their friend he lends the company a few pack animals and provides them with good foods that will travel well: “nuts, flour, sealed jars of dried fruits, and red earthenware pots of honey, and twice-baked cakes that would keep good a long time, and on a little of which they could march far. The making of these was one of his secrets; but honey was in them, as in most of his foods, and they were good to eat, though they made one thirsty.” Beorn recommends keeping their skins filled with water, but warns against touching the water or animals of Mirkwood, the forest through which they must travel next. Do they listen to him? Of course not. This recipe is a fancy twice-baked version of Beorn’s cakes.
¾ cup soft salted butter
¾ cup packed golden brown sugar
⅓ cup honey
2 extra large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3½ cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1½ teaspoons mace
¾ teaspoon salt
4 ounces finely chopped pecans
6 ounces dried apricots, chopped into ¼” bits
18 ounces white chocolate
Preheat oven to 375°. Coat 2 large baking sheets with cooking spray or grease lightly. In a large bowl, cream the butter, brown sugar, honey, eggs, and vanilla until fully mixed. Add the flour, baking powder, mace, and salt and combine well. Add the pecans and apricots. Divide dough in half and form each portion into a cylinder about 12-14″ long. Place one on each pan. Smooth and flatten the tops until the dough is about 1″ thick and 3-4″ wide. Bake 25 minutes. Remove and let stand on the sheets for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 325°. Transfer one portion of baked dough to a cutting board. With a serrated knife, cut ½” diagonal slices. You’ll get about 12 full-sized cookies, then you can cut the remaining ends for shorter, irregularly shaped cookies. Place cut side down on one sheet. Repeat with the other portion. Bake 10 minutes. Turn all the cookies over and bake another 15 minutes. Cool on sheets 3 minutes. Place all on racks and cool for 1 hour. Don’t bother washing the pans; when they have cooled off, place a sheet of wax paper on each and set aside.
Meanwhile, place the white chocolate in an 8½” by 4½” glass loaf pan. Microwave chocolate in 30-second intervals until fully melted. Dip the bottom half of each cookie in the chocolate. Lay each on wax paper, on one side. Place in the refrigerator until the chocolate hardens, about 1 hour. Store covered at room temperature or keep chilled if the weather is warm. Makes 24, plus some smaller cookies.
These cookies are known as Bon Voyage Biscotti in my cookbook.
Astrid Tuttle Winegar
Astrid Tuttle Winegar is the author of Cooking for Halflings & Monsters: 111 Comfy, Cozy Recipes for Fantasy-Loving Souls, which is currently available exclusively in e-book form on the Amazon Kindle, but will soon be released by Oloris Publishing! Stay tuned for details. For now, she is mostly telling a culinary Middle-earth story here on Legendarium. Astrid has loved C. S. Lewis since childhood, J. R. R. Tolkien since middle and high school, all Star things, both Trek and Wars, all things Whedon, and many other things besides… She lives in the enchanted city of Albuquerque, New Mexico, with her husband and dog. She blogs occasionally at http://halflingsandmonsters.wordpress.com/. You can check out (and like!) her Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/halflingsandmonsters or visit her Twitter feed at https://twitter.com/astridwinegar.