Orange Cardamom Almond Biscotti from and for David Lebovitz!

Yesterday  the teenager in me ( who I usually try very hard to repress) had a field day! She took a bus, then the muni and trekked all the way up to San Francisco and stood in line outside ( no, not a club or backstage at a rock concert ) but a bookstore, (this one) to meet one of my favourite cook book authors and bloggers, the inimitable David Lebovitz!

I have been a huge fan of his cook books and his wonderful blog featuring to die for recipes such as flourless chocolate cake and home made ice cream interspersed with lovely accounts of his life in Paris. So I considered it a truly Divine coincidence that he was visiting San Francisco and around the same time that the Sweet Punch baking group had chosen his biscotti recipe for this month! I am thrilled that I was able to bake a batch for him adding an orange cardamom twist to his own recipe.

Orange Cardamom Chocolate Almond Biscotti

Biscotti literally means "twice baked" and it is a sort of hard crunchy cookie similar to the texture of rusk that is popular in India and it is perfect to dunk in your mug of coffee or hot chocolate. It is usally made with eggs and traditionally no butter or fat is added. It keeps for a long time, so it's great to make ahead and give away as gifts. It's also surprisingly easy to make! 

I followed the base recipe from David Lebovitz here on Joy of Baking 

Naturally I had to bake up a batch adding my own twist by adding 1/4 tsp cardamom  and the grated zest from one orange which I rubbed into the sugar, and this was the only change I made.

It's a good thing I doubled the recipe to make two batches because we LOVED it too! I don't know if David liked it, but I hope he did!

Here are some more glimpses from the day:

I was hoping to buy Ready for dessert but unfortunately all his books were sold out so I had to ask him to sign a copy of Baked and that pamphlet instead which he very kindly did!  (Sending this picture off to Susan because it is a Black and White Wednesday! )

The cute little Omnivore bookstore was swamped because apparently every foodie in SF loves David and made it a point to come see him, fog or not! I was even an hour early and went to the nearby Martha and Brother's coffee shop to tank up after my long commute and guess who was sitting right at the entrance? David! but since he was deep in conversation I just said a quick hi and went to get my coffee and a yum turnover that had zucchini and onions and tomato and all sorts of yumminess inside it. Besure that I will be trying to replicate it at home soon!

When I got back to the store there was a line stretching all the way around it! This picture of finally entering it was after about half an hour! Notice how everyone came prepared with copies, except me :( Note to self: When going to book signings, even if IN a bookstore, get your copy before-hand! 

Still it was a fun day and the man is as witty, friendly and laid back in person as he is in blogdom. I also got to meet the fun Christina of Learning by Fire  (who took that picture of David btw- thanks Christina! : ) and Irvin of Eat the Love  who also hosts some fun foodie events at 18 reasons.

The wonderful ladies who run Omnivore are super nice and they even gave us samples of buttery toffee with pop corn bits in it, covered in dark chocolate from poco dolce ( which alone was worth the trip to discover) and wine!

I took along the biscotti and also some spices from Kerala. Sort of as a small thank you for how much we all enjoy his books and recipes and tales of Paris :)

David opened the bag, and in his inimitable witty manner, gasped with he saw the small bag of Kudampuli/ Kokum and asked me if it was marijuana! David, I really hope you enjoyed the biscotti and get to use the kudampuli and enjoy it in sol khadi or fish curry or something edible and DO NOT try smoking it!


  1. That' very cool! And I would have done the very same thing as you - wait to buy the book until I get to the bookstore. :P Happy Baking indeed. :)

  2. Wowo you met him now i am jealous ;-) ha ha i would have loved to see his face when he opend up the bag and so kudampuli, shame on you for not giving him the mariuana :-)

  3. tht's so cool! lovely to meet the dessert-king himself :)

  4. haha yes Jar Dee Ling I am very last minute but this time I thought that I would wait to buy the book from Omnivore since they were hosting the book signing, apparently that wasn't a good idea when the author is as popular as Mr Lebovitz

    Finla I wonder what his face would've looked like if I had!

    Sarah it was lovely indeed! had a good time.

  5. wow awesome that you got to meet david lebovitz! and even funnier that he thought the kodapulli was marijuana lol!

    love your recipes and the blog. keep writing!

  6. That's really awesome. I am a BIG/HUGE fan of his too and wish I had known he was visiting bay area:(
    Lucky you!

    BTW, I wanted to find out who won the Kerala kitchen award for August?
    Also, how do I become a member of Kerala Kitchen?
    Good luck with your blog!!!

  7. Cool shot, Magpie. Cookbooks are definitely part of the BWW fun. Thanks for your great shot. (I've been catching up with last week's comments b/4 I start Week 9 gallery.)

  8. Foodmycompanion:
    Check out the Kerala Kitchen blog to read about it, you can join simply by sending in a dish to the host that month.

    Vidhya was the host in august and the winner and round up are posted on:

    Susan thank you so much! I wasn't sure it would qualify :)

  9. WOW Thats fantastic. Such a wonderful opportunity.
    The biscotti looks scrumptious

  10. Oh hoo... great Rose.... I envy you :) wonderful oppertunity.

  11. hi rose .........lovely post, am sure this was an experience to remember!! congrats for the effort u took.pray u get many many more opportunities like this...good wishes always!!!!


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