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Bake Your Stress Away: Coping with Difficult Times

By Bonnie Fishman


Cappuccino Biscotti in a handmade Tuscan jar
Cappuccino Biscotti in a Handmade Tuscan Jar

STRESSED OUT, “To experience a lot of mental, emotional, or physical strain or tension,” according to Wikipedia. DESSERTS spelled backwards is STRESSED. That’s no accident. Stress eating–we all go for comfort food, often sweet things. Maybe that’s why I wrapped myself in a dessert world when I opened Bonnie’s Patisserie in Southfield Mich. in 1980. Surrounded by the aromas, sights, and tastes of homemade cinnamon rolls, muffins, cookies, brownies, coffee cakes, and the like, I was a kid in a candy store (a.k.a. bakery) every morning for 30 years. You have NO IDEA what a high that was entering my shop when the bakers were taking delicacies out of the oven. That smell smacked me in the face. I was home, wrapped in a security blanket, being coddled like a small child. These were the aromas of my childhood, Mom baking almost every day. It was really no accident that I recreated that sensory space to bask in. I ate a sweet every morning with my coffee. (Who are we trying to kid? I ate them all day!). These comforting tastes and smells eased me through a stressful day of being a businesswoman.


Bonnie’s Patisserie Southfield, Mich. (1980-2005)
Bonnie’s Patisserie Southfield, Mich. (1980-2005)

Another ironic play on words is STRESS FRACTURE. Stress fractures are tiny cracks in a bone. They are caused by repetitive force. Actually, I see a real twist here, pardon the pun. When one’s life is fractured, it causes stress. Many people’s worries during this continued period of Covid-19–not feeling safe about career stability, schooling children, economic woes, safety of loved ones–have put a collective pressure on us all. I and my family are going through a particularly stressful time right now, so how do we get through it? For starters, supporting each other and processing the days’ and weeks’ events together. But when I am really, really over the edge, I don’t eat. Anything this side of that, it’s carbohydrates all the way: crusty bread with sweet butter, sesame bagels with cream cheese and apricot jam, my home-baked blueberry muffins (with extra berries!) right out of the oven. So I bake my stress away. I used to do it in college in the evenings after studying and before exams. Now I do it to help sort out my thoughts, give myself purpose, and well, enjoy the fruits of my labor.


The recipe I’m posting today is just the right ticket for stress eating. These Cappuccino Biscotti have it all. They go great with coffee and their snappy texture and flavor are the epitome of your many emotions: the warm cinnamon and cayenne spices wraps you in loving arms, the biting candied ginger lets you know you’re alive, the chocolate chunks hit the sweet spot, and the protein-filled nuts give you the support you need. Make these. Savor them. Give them away. Keep them in a jar. When the mood strikes, reach for my version of a great stress reliever. Then call your therapist.


As with most biscotti, there are many varieties and flavors. This recipe is a starting point for your creative mind. Take your pick: very crispy or ones with a little “give, depending how long you keep them in the oven. Feel free to substitute any of the items with something more to your liking. You prefer walnuts to almonds? Go for it. You want white chocolate instead of dark? I won’t argue with you. Golden raisins instead of cherries? Hmmm, maybe you’re on your own with that one.


Come and decompress with us-tell us here at The Insider what you put in your own biscotti.




Cappuccino Biscotti


Yield: 4 dozen


Freshly baked cappuccino biscotti
Freshly baked cappuccino biscotti

1 Tbs. instant espresso powder

1 Tbs. hot water

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

2 lg. eggs

1 egg white

2 c. flour

1 c. sugar

1/3 c. + 2 Tbs. cocoa powder

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

3/4 c. toasted chopped almonds or hazelnuts

3/4 c. chocolate chunks or chips

3/4 c. chopped crystalized ginger

3/4 c. dried cherries


Preheat the oven to 350°. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Spray with pan release. Reserve.


Dissolve the espresso powder in the hot water in a small bowl. Add the vanilla. When the water has cooled to room temperature, whisk in the eggs and the egg white. Combine the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, soda, salt, and cinnamon in a large bowl. Pour in the wet ingredients. Using a wooden spoon, stir together. Add the nuts. Continue working the dough until it comes together, using your hands if necessary (spray your hands with pan release first). Divide the dough into 2 pieces. Roll each piece into a log and press onto the cookie sheet. The logs should be about 3” wide x 14” long x 1/2” high.


Bake for 18 minutes. Cool slightly. Cut into 1/2” slices. Bake again until desired “crunch”, about 15 minutes. Cool completely.



Add wet ingredients to the dry.
Add wet ingredients to the dry.
After the dough has come together, add fruits and nuts.
After the dough has come together, add fruits and nuts.
Divide dough into 2 pieces.
Divide dough into 2 pieces.
Form each piece into a flattened log.
Form each piece into a flattened log.
 After baking the first time, slice on the diagonal with a sharp knife.
After baking the first time, slice on the diagonal with a sharp knife.

 



Bonnie Fishman attended the Cordon Bleu Cookery School in London. Later, she owned and operated Bonnie’s Patisserie in Southfield, Mich. and Bonnie’s Kitchen and Catering in Bloomfield Hills, Mich. She has taught cooking for over 35 years and created hundreds of recipes. She is now living in Northern California.

7 comments

7 Comments


rmbroder
rmbroder
Dec 21, 2021

Hi Bonnie, I look forward to your recipes. I made these wonderful Cappuccino Biscotti (sans ginger and tasted like dipping brownies) and they were a big hit. I love that they have no added butter or oil for the extra hardness. I’m assuming that was on purpose and would love another good biscotti recipe if you care to share. I make Mrs. Rosenbaum’s mandelbread-the mother of my old OP friend who moved to Southfield before we moved onto OPHS. Her mother was a great baker and I only got her mandelbread recipe, which is addictive, and her Mohn (Poppyseed) Cookies. I’m reluctant to make her Mandelbread without the oil, so wondering WWBD (What Would Bonnie Do?). I admire your range…

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Guest
Dec 21, 2021
Replying to

Shelly, I’m thrilled that you follow my recipes and are giving them a try. I would NOT leave the oil out. It is just perchance that these biscottis don’t have fat. I took a basic biscott recipe that I found and added cocoa, the spices, and the stuff to completely change the outcome.

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nancy.stulberg
nancy.stulberg
Sep 24, 2021

YES! I'm making this and will be remembering you and I baking Biscotti together in Ventura!

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Sharon McAlexander
Sharon McAlexander
Sep 09, 2021

Way to go Bonnie!!😘😘

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Bonnie Fishman
Bonnie Fishman
Sep 09, 2021
Replying to

Thanks Sharon, Great seeing you all in Ventura!

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pjbschwartz
pjbschwartz
Sep 09, 2021

Great article! And this is the recipe I’ve been waiting for!!! Thank You Bonnie!!!

Phyllis Schwartz

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Bonnie Fishman
Bonnie Fishman
Sep 09, 2021
Replying to

Phyllis, Let me know how your first batch comes out.

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