Star anise biscotti

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I have spent every Christmas so far (yup, all 21) with my mom, dad, and brother. Tuesday will be my first away from my family and I am sad that I will miss spending the holidays with them.

The reality of starting a new job is that vacation days are few and far between. I get the 24th and 25th off from work, but that’s it. Traveling to Ohio and back takes a full day of flying in each direction, so visiting my family is just not realistic this year. The last time I set foot in my home state was November of 2011.

I suppose I could have taken Paid Time Off, but that has issues too. I am applying to medical school during the next admissions cycle and I plan on reserving my vacation days for interviews. (Pssshh, who needs vacation anyway?) It is hard knowing that I will not be able to take a real vacation for the next year and a half, but I am trying to stay positive knowing that the sacrifices I make now will help me achieve my long term goals.

So here I am, alone at Idyllwild Ranch. All six of my roommates have gone home for the holidays. My friends who are still in school are away for break. Matt has gone home to see his mom, brother, and nephews.

But enough of my wallowing in self pity. Christmas in California ain’t so bad. I made my situation sound way worse than it really is. I actually have a lot of relatives who live in Northern California and are happy to have me over for a dinner here, a brunch there, and even a white elephant party.

This Christmas, I am grateful to have a wonderful extended family, especially my cousin Susie and her husband Jeff.

Earlier this week, I made biscotti. The time between Thanksgiving and New Years always leaves me in a sugar overload, so I was craving something sweet, but not too sweet. This recipe is adapted from The Joy of Cooking and hit the spot. These biscotti have a mild citrus flavor and just a hint of anise, a flavor combination I associate with Christmas.

I wish you all happy holidays and safe travels!

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 and 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • zest of 1 orange
  • 1 or 2 star anise, ground (~1 tsp)
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Directions

  1. Combine wet ingredients: vegetable oil, sugar, eggs, egg whites, vanilla, lemon zest, orange zest, and star anise.
  2. Combine dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, and salt.
  3. Mix together dry and wet ingredients and form dough into 2 long loaves on a cookie sheet.
  4. Bake at 375F for 25 minutes.
  5. Remove loaves from oven and cut the loaves at a slight diagonal to form cookies about 1/2 inch thick. Place the biscotti back on the cookie sheet and bake for another 10 minutes at 375F.

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