SRC: Cantucci (Almond Biscotti)

Sweet, nutty, crisp almond biscotti is a wonderful fall treat. Biscotti always looks so fancy, but only requires a handful of ingredients and comes together in a snap! A great fall treat.

Cantucci - sweet and nutty almond biscotti on #src #recipe #secretrecipeclub

This month for Secret Recipe Club I was assigned to a lovely, exotic blog filled with recipes from across the globe! Choosing a recipe from Manu’s Menu was a tough assignment! Manu, an Italian-native lives in Australia with her Indian husband and their adorable children. Did you catch all those countries and all that cuisine? Italy, Australia, India… Manu’s recipes comes from literally ALL over the world–from her homeland(s) and her travels. So fun. Her photography is gorgeous and every recipe seems authentic, delicious, and do-able for any home cook. I’m not sure how she manages this but I’m so impressed. I thought about making tons of recipes, like her Artichoke Frittata, these cute Kitten Chocolate Cookies, Tahini Honey Roasted Cashews, or this refreshing Moroccan Mint Tea. Ultimately [as I usually do when stressed out about making a SRC recipe choice], I consulted Ben and he thought biscotti sounded like a good choice. So biscotti it is… :)

Cantucci - sweet and nutty almond biscotti on #src #recipe #secretrecipeclub

I think biscotti was a great choice from Manu’s blog. What’s more Italian than crunchy cookies to dip in coffee? But while reading Manu’s blog post with her recipe for biscotti, I learned some interesting facts that I just had to share with you! First of all, what we think of as biscotti is actually called cantucci to signify that they are twice baked. All cookies in Italy are called biscotti [plural, singular is biscotto]. Confusing, right? And traditionally, cantucci are dipped not in coffee but in sweet wine! Huh. I mentioned this to Ben and he was like, hmmm, a new sort of communion? Haha! I hope that’s not too sacrilegious to say online but it was just too funny not to share. :) I can’t attest to how these taste dipped in wine, but in coffee… let me just say they are FABULOUS!

Cantucci - sweet and nutty almond biscotti on #src #recipe #secretrecipeclub

These almond biscotti, err--cantucci–are sweet, crunchy, and a lovely treat to make even a weekday morning more special. I love it whenever we have biscotti on hand, since they last for a couple weeks on the counter and also freeze well. #treatsfordays Thanks, Manu, for a great recipe! Enjoy!

Cantucci - sweet and nutty almond biscotti on #src #recipe #secretrecipeclub

one year ago: Baked Blueberry Pork Egg Rolls
two years ago: Autumnal Muffins
three years ago: Iced Tea with Ginger-Mint Simple Syrup
four years ago: Honey Fig Scones
five years ago: Citrus Tilapia

Cantucci (Almond Biscotti)

  • Servings: 48
  • Time: 90 minutes
  • Print

from Manu’s Menu


  • 10.5 ounces whole almonds – or a generous 1/2 cup sliced almonds
  • 3 eggs
  • 10.5 ounces sugar
  • 5.25 ounces butter, melted
  • 2 cups/500 grams flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract [or vanilla]
  • egg and milk, for brushing – optional


Toast almonds in a preheated oven at 375 degrees F for 3-4 minutes, or on the stovetop. Or you can take the easy way out and buy toasted and sliced almonds like me. :) Set aside, and leave oven on. Line a large baking sheet with a silpat or parchment paper.

Then, place eggs and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat with whisk attachment until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Stir in melted butter, then slowly beat in flour and baking powder with paddle attachment on low speed. Fold in almond extract and toasted almonds.

Transfer the dough to a floured work surface and gently knead dough to form a ball. Dough will be sticky, so flour your hands too. Divide dough into two equal parts, then roll each ball into a long log and place on prepared baking sheet. Brush with an egg/milk mixture, if desired. I forgot to do this!

Bake at 375 degrees F for 20 minutes or until the top is just getting golden brown. Remove from oven and cool for about 20 minutes, then slice into thin strips and place on parchment-lined baking sheets. Reduce oven temperature to 340 degrees F, then bake for 20 minutes or until crisp on each side, flipping halfway through.

Cool completely, then eat by dipping in beverage of choice–coffee, milk, tea, or cocoa. Mmm!

For more great Secret Recipe Club recipes, check out the link below!

Mystery Dish: Minty Turkey Meatballs with Quinoa + Cookbook Giveaway

These Minty Turkey Meatballs with Quinoa are tied together with a creamy mint-almond pesto. An easy, healthy dinner that comes together quickly!

Minty Turkey Meatballs with Quinoa | thepajamachef #mysterydish

I had a really tough time with this month’s Mystery Dish. I’m not sure why–pretty much ALL the ingredients on the list are things I love. I was just uninspired I guess. But I don’t think my recipe reflects that… this meal was pretty darn delicious. Andi from Weary Chef was our host and she asked us to use three ingredients from this list: pistachios, wine, mint, gluten-free flour, red pepper flakes, fish, agave nectar, applesauce, blueberries, parmesan cheese, milk, and corn.

A couple weekends ago, we were going to grill turkey burgers [Ben makes a to die for turkey burger with Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, salt, and pepper] but we were rained out and I had some ground turkey thawed in the fridge. We could have grilled indoors, but instead I decided to make some Mystery Dish magic with these Minty Turkey Meatballs with Quinoa. And you guys… they are so good! I love a good turkey meatball anyway, but add some fresh mint to your typical garlic and onion mixture and they’re definitely amped up a notch. To fulfill the ingredient requirement, I used gluten free flour to help hold the meatballs together and red pepper flakes instead of normal black pepper. In hindsight, I wish I would have used more flour because the meatballs didn’t hold together super well. Though that was three ingredients, I decided to make the flavors even more apparent by making a mint pesto to serve over the meatballs and to toss with the quinoa I decided to serve on the side. If quinoa isn’t your thing, try rice, pasta, or some other grain/starch. Though my pesto wasn’t a true pesto it was still pretty addictive and a great sauce that was nutty, minty, and creamy all at once.

Minty Turkey Meatballs with Quinoa | thepajamachef #mysterydish

The mint in this dish balances perfectly with the crushed red pepper. I was somewhat generous with the red pepper flakes, but it was definitely an approachable level of spiciness so if you aren’t a spicy person you’ll be okay here. I was supposed to tell you that that description was Ben’s idea, and I was threatened with a lawsuit if I didn’t. :) Ha ha, a lawsuit from my husband. Moving on… I loved how minty this dish is… enough flavor to make things interesting but not so much you think you’re eating toothpaste. I love having a great repertoire of healthy, easy dinners and I know this dish will go into my usual rotation. Hope you give it a try!

And, as a special treat since we’ve been Mystery Dishin’ it up for a YEAR now [whoa], we have a special giveaway for our lovely readers… copies of cookbooks from MasterChef Season 3 Winner Christine Ha and Season 4 Winner Luca Manfe! I wish I could win! Go HERE to enter.


one year ago: Roasted Peach Muffins with Cinnamon Streusel 
two years ago: Brown Rice, Feta, and Tomato Salad
three years ago: Healthy “Fried” Rice –> I make this ALL the time with different veggies, meat, and/or tofu. A must try!
four years ago: Cornmeal Pizza Dough in the Breadmaker

Minty Turkey Meatballs with Quinoa

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 40 minutes
  • Print


for meatballs

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 green onion, diced
  • 3 sprigs fresh mint, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons tapioca flour [or other flour, gluten free or otherwise + more if you need it]
  • 1 egg
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • crushed red pepper flakes, about 1/2 teaspoon or to taste

for quinoa

  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed
  • 2 cups water [or stock if preferred]
  • 1 cup prepared pesto [above]

for pesto

  • 1 cup loosely packed fresh mint
  • 1/3-1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2-4 tablespoons half and half
  • 1/4 cup almonds
  • 2 tablespoons parmesan
  • crushed red pepper flakes, about 1/4 teaspoon or to taste


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Heat a large skillet with 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat.

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients for the meatballs–garlic, green onion, mint, flour, egg, turkey, and crushed red pepper flakes, to taste. Mix well with your hands, then shape into 16 meatballs. Place half the meatballs in the preheated skillet and cook on each side for about 2 minutes per side until browned all over. Remove meatballs from skillet and place in a large oven safe dish, misted with cooking spray if not nonstick. Repeat with remaining meatballs then bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes until cooked through.

While meatballs are cooking, prepare quinoa according to package directions. Bring rinsed quinoa and water to a boil in a saucepan, then cover and reduce heat to low. Cook for about 15 minutes until all water is absorbed.

Prepare pesto by combining mint, 1/3 cup olive oil, 2 tablespoons half and half, and almonds in a food processor. Pulse until combined, adding more oil and/or half and half if desired. Stir in parmesan and red pepper flakes to taste. Pesto yields about 1 cup.

When quinoa is ready, pour about 3/4 cup pesto in the quinoa and stir to combine. Serve meatballs with quinoa and reserved mint pesto, along with sides like green beans or crusty bread.

Be sure to check out what my Mystery Dish pals whipped up this month:

Mystery Dish |

  1. Tuna Tacos with Avocado Corn Salsa by The Weary Chef
  2. Blueberry Scones by Yummy Healthy Easy
  3. Parmesan Crusted Tilapia by Culinary Couture
  4. Minty Berry Fruit Roll Ups by I Want Crazy
  5. Baked Blueberry Donuts by Chez CateyLou
  6. Hearty Minestrone Soup by Joyful Healthy Eats
  7. Blueberry Lemon Pannacotta with Pistachio Tuilles by Flavor the Moments
  8. Minty Turkey Meatballs with Quinoa by The Pajama Chef
  9. Blueberry Crumb Coffee Cake by I Dig Pinterest
  10. Pistachio Drop Scones with Blueberry Compote by The Well Floured Kitchen
  11. Grilled Corn & Blueberry Flatbread with Whipped Goat Cheese, Pistachios, and Basil Vinaigrette by Baking a Moment
  12. Pistachio Crusted Tilapia and Peach Salad by Blahnik Baker

Linked up with: Weekend Potluck.

SRC: Coffee Blondies

If you like coffee, then you will love these rich and sophisticated glazed coffee blondies. They’re delicious!

Coffee Blondies | #secretrecipeclub

I was really excited to see that I was given Kate’s blog, Kitchen Trial and Error, for this month’s Secret Recipe Club. Kate lives in New York with her family–including two adorable little boys–and she’s always cooking up something new in her kitchen. I’ve long admired Kate’s blog for her lovely photographs and creative, challenging recipes, and was thrilled to get to make something from it! She’s been blogging since 2010 so there were lots of recipes to choose from, and I was quickly overwhelmed [does that ever happen to other SRCers? There’s just so many options!]. So I turned to my Pinterest boards, and found four of her dishes that I wanted to make–Quinoa Cakes, Chocolate Peanut Butter Sandwiches Cookies, Fish in Crazy Water, and what I ultimately chose… Coffee Blondies.

Coffee Blondies | #secretrecipeclub

Kate first made them to fulfill a craving for a flavorful, non-chocolatey dessert. And seriously? These blondies are the perfect way to do so! They’re rich and chewy, and taste like something out of a fancy bakery. Since this recipe uses coffee grounds [and not just brewed coffee], the coffee flavor is very prominent but really isn’t too overwhelming–similar to coffee ice cream.

Coffee Blondies | #secretrecipeclub

The topping of these blondies is my favorite part, I think! I hardly ever make glazes for things, and truthfully almost just sprinkled powdered sugar on top of the blondies. But then at the last second, I changed my mind. Before I put the blondies in the oven I threw a handful of sliced almonds on top, per the recipe, and then after the blondies were cool, glazed them with a simple powdered sugar glaze. After the glaze hardened, I took one bite and was just overwhelmed by how delicious these blondies are! The almonds and glaze give them a nice crunchy, sugary bite that pairs perfectly with coffee… almost like almond flavored coffee. These blondies are perfect with a refreshing glass of milk, and I bet they’d be awesome with a nice cup of coffee for a double caffeinated treat! Thanks, Kate, for a great recipe!

Coffee Blondies | #secretrecipeclub

one year ago: Pineapple Cream Pie
two years ago: Grandma’s Blueberry Muffins 

three years ago: Linda’s Caramel Ritz Bits Crackers

Coffee Blondies | #secretrecipeclub

Coffee Blondies

  • Servings: 16
  • Time: 45 minutes + time to cool
  • Print

Coffee Blondies | #secretrecipeclubfrom Kitchen Trial and Error


  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons freshly ground coffee
  • pinch salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2-4 tablespoons sliced almonds
  • 1/4-1/2 cup powdered sugar


Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 8×8 or 9×9 square baking pan with parchment paper. Spray any exposed sides with cooking spray if you don’t overlap.

In a large bowl, whisk melted butter, brown sugar, coffee, and salt. Add egg and vanilla; whisk to combine. Slowly stir in the flour and baking powder, then spoon evenly into prepared pan. Top with almonds–as few or as many as desired, then bake for 25-30 minutes until toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool completely in the pan before icing.

To make icing, whisk together 1/4 cup powdered sugar with 1 teaspoon water. Add more powdered sugar to make it thicker or more water to make it thinner. I liked it with a generous 1/2 cup powdered sugar. Ice blondies, then put in the fridge for a bit to harden. Cut into bars when icing is dry.

Be sure to check out what else was whipped up for SRC this month below:

Kale Quinoa Salad

When I was asked to cater the bridal shower, I was told that the bride loooved kale and quinoa. This salad was the direct inspiration of that. Well, and of Smitten Kitchen. Ha. But anyways, this kale quinoa salad is just SO good, you guys. It’s so fresh and delightful, I could seriously eat it for breakfast and be happy. With a fried egg on top? Oh goodness, I think I’m going to try that really soon.

Kale Quinoa Salad |

Like any kale or quinoa salad, the sky’s the limit on mix ins. I just used some basic, affordable pantry staples: dried cranberries, almonds, and feta, but feel free to adjust based on your preferences. I’m a huge pistachio fan myself and think think that would be yummy. Oh, and don’t skip the dressing! Sometimes I just wanna do a basic olive oil rub on kale or quinoa but taking a couple minutes to mix up this vinaigrette-eqse dressing is totally worth it. Enjoy!

Kale Quinoa Salad |

one year ago: Mexican Rice
two years ago: Black Bean Wraps

Kale Quinoa Salad [adapted from Smitten Kitchen]
click to print


for salad

  • 1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa, cooled
  • 8 ounces kale, stems removed and thinly chopped
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries [or cherries]
  • 3 scallions, chopped
  • 1/2 cup toasted slivered almonds
  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese

for dressing

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried dill
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper, as desired


In a large bowl, toss together quinoa, kale, cranberries, and scallions. In a small bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients: olive oil, viengar,lemon juice, mustard, honey, and dill. Taste and add salt and pepper as desired. Pour dressing over salad and toss well. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving to set. Top with almonds and feta just before eating.

Time: 40 minutes [10 minutes active].
Yield: 6-8 servings.

Chopped Kale Salad with Bleu Cheese & Bacon

Kale. Seriously can’t get enough of it. Ben can’t either. No complaints here.

Chopped Kale Salad |

Normally, our kale is cooked–in pasta, fried rice, or as a base for chicken or pork. But this time, I decided to do something different and make a chopped kale salad. That’s right… raw kale, chopped into a billion teeny tiny bites and tossed with a fabulous array of toppings and the most spectacular dressing ever. Intrigued?

Chopped Kale Salad |

What makes this salad special and different is ALL the tastes and textures going on. Crisp carrots, sweet apples, salty bacon, pungent bleu cheese, tart cranberries, crunchy toasted almonds. And a sweet peanut butter-maple vinaigrette that is nothing short of amazing. I was literally eating it with a spoon, for goodness sake! It has a peanut butter base, so that’s totally legit, right?

By the way, if you aren’t the biggest fan of bleu cheese, don’t let this scare you. There’s only enough to give a hint of the flavor, but if you like it you can always substitute feta or parmesan. I don’t always include cheese in my salads but it really works in this one, to make it more substantial. Just FYI.

Chopped Kale Salad |

I threw this recipe together quickly on a busy night when we were headed to a small group dinner, and it was all but polished off. Fortunately, there was enough leftovers to enjoy for lunch the next day, but the salad definitely got a little soggy on day 2 so I would recommend adding the dressing just before serving if at all possible. I only made this a couple weeks ago and am totally craving it now, as I write this at 10:27 pm. I have a feeling this salad is going to become a regular in our house and I hope it will in yours too! Enjoy!

So you tell me… have you ever had a kale salad before? What are your go-to [kale] salad mix-ins?

a year ago… Man Cupcakes
three years ago… Creamy Baked Spaghetti

Chopped Kale Salad with Bleu Cheese and Bacon [dressing adapted from Iowa Girl Eats]
click to print


  • 1 1/2 bunches kale
  • 1 1/3 cups red cabbage
  • 1 large carrot
  • 1 large Fuji apple
  • 3 ounces bleu cheese, crumbled
  • 5 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 1/2 cup almonds, toasted and chopped
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  • freshly ground black pepper


  • 4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons natural peanut butter


Wash and dry kale, then tear into small bite-size pieces, discarding thick stems. Add to a large bowl and set aside.

Wash and dry cabbage, carrot, and apple, then shred. I used my food processor but a grater would also work. Add to kale, along with bleu cheese, bacon, almonds, and cranberries.

Whisk together balsamic, olive oil, maple syrup, and peanut butter until smooth to make dressing, then drizzle half over the salad. Toss to combine, and add more dressing as desired. I used about 3/4 of the total dressing made. Season with black pepper to taste, and serve immediately.

Time: 20 minutes.

Yield: 10-12 side salads, 3-4 meal size salads.

Linked up with: Tuesday Talent Show.