We’ve long been fans of Jennifer Garner’s Instagram series, #PretendCookingShow, but right now it feels like exactly the kind of cheerful content we need to get us through quarantine. Over Memorial Day weekend, Garner posted her latest “episode,” this time featuring a recipe for orange-almond biscotti from Cook’s Illustrated.
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I must ask you to pardon my quarantine brain and weird space buns. Otherwise, let?s make @cooksillustrated Orange-Almond Biscotti. . From ?The Best Recipe? Cookbook Ingredients: 2 cups AP flour 1 tsp baking powder 1/4 tsp salt 4 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened 1 cup sugar 2 eggs 1/2 tsp vanilla 1/4 tsp almond extract 3/4 cup whole almonds, toasted and chopped coarse 2 Tbsp minced zest from an orange . Directions: 1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat to 350°. Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt together in medium bowl; set aside. 2. Cream butter and sugar together until smooth, about 2 mins with mixer at medium speed. Beat in eggs one at a time, then extracts. Stir in toasted and chopped almonds and zest. Sprinkle dry ingredients over egg mixture, then fold in until dough is just mixed. 3. Halve dough and turn each portion onto an oiled cookie sheet covered with parchment. Using floured hands, quickly stretch each portion of dough in a rough 13x2 inch log, placing them about 3 inches apart on the cookie sheet. Pat each dough shape to smooth it. Bake, turning pan once, until loaves are golden and just beginning to crack on top, about 35 mins. 4. Cool the loaves for 10 mins; lower oven to 325°. Cut each loaf diagonally into 3/8 inch slices with a serrated knife (normal-ish cookie size). Lay the slices flat, about 2/3 inch apart, on the cookie sheet and return them to oven. Bake, turning over each cookie halfway through baking, until crisp and golden brown on both sides, about 15 mins. Transfer biscotti to wire rack and cool completely. 5. Yum.
The recipe is apparently one of Garner’s favorites, as evidenced by the schmutz crusted onto her recipe page, and so felt like an obvious choice to make in an effort to “get back to a little bit of normal life,” as she puts it. As with any good show, Garner’s cooking adventure has love, loss and a few unexpected twists and turns. First her beloved stand mixer fears it has let her down (don’t worry, their wedding is still on), then the almonds are briefly forgotten (something they do not take lightly and later exact their revenge by taking an age and a half to toast) and the ever-present fear that Garner’s children might discover her secret hideaway, all set to tunes pulled right from another show we love, Schitt’s Creek.
Our favorite two things about this latest installment, however, are when Garner ends the episode by dipping her freshly baked biscotti into a glass of red wine at 11 a.m. (a true breakfast of champions) and the fact that, despite this being a recipe she’s made repeatedly, her quarantine-addled brain just can’t seem to get on board, a feeling we can all relate to. She skips steps, circles back, forgets ingredients and just generally laughs her way through it. In addition to showing us peak goofy Garner, it’s an excellent reminder to go easy on yourself, even if you’re trying something brand-new. Or, in Garner’s case, bumbling your way through something you’ve done multiple times before. Either way, you’re doing just fine.