After a successful whirlwind week of showing properties to my sister and brother-in-law, I am ready to unwind with a little baking. My freezer is also saying “yes, please” as we managed to get through the fruitcake scones, potato scones, cherry scones and the sourdough English muffins. Oh, and the anis cookies, pfeffernusse, almond bars and the Dutch speculas which filled in the gaps between meals. With two half Danish sisters in the same house, it is a dead cert that baked goods are on the menu. We also made a dent on the sourdough rye-bread, rosemary sourdough French bread and a sourdough boule.

Welcome to Honeybell orange season in Florida. Now that winter in Florida (January) has come and gone, the honeybells are here. Their season always seems to be even shorter than our winter–and a lot more enjoyable. If your Florida friends tell you not to visit in January, heed them. The one month that you don’t prefer being outside here leaves us all challenged as to what there is to do. Fortunately for us, we were busy househunting in Palm Coast and Ponte Vedra. Palm Coast provided the winning entry and next year my sister will not be visiting us in Florida, but living here!

The Honeybell is also known as a Minneola Tangelo. A cross between a Darcy Tangerine and a Duncan Grapefruit, it is a mixture of sweet and sour with juicy flesh and a loose peel. What’s not to like?

Honeybells otherwise known as Minneola Tangelos

If I were to choose an orange to eat, this would be it. However, I tend to use it more for its beautiful orange zest in recipes as diverse as baklava, orange and carrot soup, orange liqueur and my offering for today–Orange and Almond Biscotti. You can find my recipe for orange liqueur first mentioned as Limoncello with a lemon variation in my post: Can’t Stop Those Lemons

I’ll include it again here as it will make an awesome treat combination with the Honeybell Biscotti recipe that will follow.

Orange Liqueur Recipe

Oranges, vodka and sugar—that’s all it takes!

4 oranges, Honeybells will give the best color (and flavor, in my opinion)
3 Cups Vodka
1 ½ Cups sugar

  1. Use a carrot peeler to remove the zest from 4 oranges.  Pat the zest with paper towels.
  2. Place the zest into a large, wide-mouthed plastic or glass jar.
  3. Pour over 2 Cups of really inexpensive vodka.  Seal and leave in a dark place for 3 to 4 days.
  4. Remove and dispose of the zest.
  5. Add 1 ½ Cups sugar to the vodka.  Stir well to dissolve as much as possible.  Stir in 1 more Cup of vodka.
  6. Leave in a dark place for 1 week, checking daily to dissolve any remaining sugar.
  7. Put in decorative bottles, label if desired and place in your liquor cabinet.  Lasts until it is gone.  I like to keep a bottle in the freezer or you can pour it over ice cubes to enjoy. This is also the perfect liqueur to use in your Margaritas.

Honeybell Biscotti

10 Tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1 Tablespoon grated Honeybell orange zest
1 1/2 Cups sugar, plus 1 Tablespoon for sprinkling
3 large eggs
3 Cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 Cup whole almonds, lightly toasted

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. If you don’t have silicone baking mats which I highly recommend that you order today, then butter and flour a large baking sheet.

Using an electric mixer, beat the butter and orange zest until well blended. Gradually beat in 1 1/2 Cups sugar. Beat in 2 of the eggs, one at a time.

Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Add them to the mixer and stir until well blended. Use your hands to knead in the whole almonds.

Divide the dough in half and shape into 2 logs 15″ x 2.5″. Beat the 3rd egg and brush it over each log. Sprinkle the logs with the remaining Tablespoon of sugar. This is what they will look like when ready to hit the oven.

Unbaked Biscotti

Remember that “biscotti” means twice baked. You will bake the logs for about 30 minutes at 350 degrees then remove the tray from the oven and allow them to cool for 10 minutes. Lower the oven temperature to 325 degrees before the second baking.

After first bake

Now you need to move the warm logs to a cutting board and cut them on the diagonal with a serrated knife in about 3/4 inch thick slices. Arrange the slices flat side down for the second baking. at 325 degrees for 8 minutes. Then you have to flip them over and bake them a third time for 5 to 8 minutes. I am not Italian, so don’t write to ask me why they are called twice baked when they are actually baked 3 times. You may, however, write me about anything else!

This recipe makes about 40 cookies. I keep them in a glass jar or in the freezer until I need them.

Right now I’m going to enjoy a couple with some Honeybell Orange Liqueur.

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