Tragic Secrets Await In ‘The Silent Fountain’ [REVIEW]

Tuscan villa

Two women decades apart are trapped within an idyllic Italian villa in Victoria Fox’s The Silent Fountain. (Photo by Mircea, Flickr)

Deep in the Tuscan hills of Italy stands a beautiful old villa. It is the stuff dreams are made of. Scenic and solitary, it should be a haven for all who enter. Instead, it holds dark secrets that threaten to escape. But what are they? And what will their discovery ultimately mean? Find out in Victoria Fox’s The Silent Fountain. 
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Dunk my cocoa cookie in your favorite cup of joe

If you know anything about my husband and I, it is that we are passionate about food. So we were bound to write about our favorite pastime, cooking, sooner rather than later! And what better way to start the food party on this new site than with a dollop of fudgy flavor? That’s why I wanted to introduce you to one of my favorite tasty treats, Chocolate Pistachio Biscotti.

Heather bakes up a batch of biscotti

So what is biscotti? Basically it is a cookie or biscuit that most people associate with the Tuscan region of Italy. But in truth, it goes back farther than that. In ancient times, bakers prepared biscotti for the Roman Legions to take into battle. They were great for the long journeys to war because they were both durable and nourishing. Why did they hold up so well? It’s the baker’s secret: they baked these biscuits once to cook them, and then again to dry them out completely. Thus they made for fantastic on-the-go treats.

Later during the Renaissance, biscotti re-emerged in the Tuscan region where many people love to dip them in wine (usually Vin Santo) after a meal, or simply munch on them at a sidewalk café with their favorite coffee.

Now biscotti come in many different varieties and can be found in most supermarkets, bakeries and even at coffee houses like Starbucks. But why purchase them when they are so easy to make? So from my kitchen to yours, here is my favorite biscotti recipe. I hope you love it as much as Jathan and I do!

Love,
Heather

Chocolate Pistachio Biscotti and coffee

Chocolate Pistachio Biscotti

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for baking sheet
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup shelled pistachios (4 1/2 ounces)
  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt into a bowl. In bowl of electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar on medium until light and fluffy. Add eggs; beat on low speed until well combined, scraping down sides of bowl if necessary. Add flour mixture; beat to form stiff dough. Beat in pistachios and chocolate chips until just combined.
  3. Transfer dough to prepared baking sheet; form into a slightly flattened log, about 12 by 4 inches. Bake until slightly firm, about 25 minutes. Cool about 5 minutes. Reduce oven to 300°F.
  4. On a cutting board, using a sharp, serrated knife, cut biscotti diagonally into 1-inch-thick slices. Arrange cut sides down on baking sheet; bake until crisp but still slightly soft in center, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature up to 1 week.

Yield: About 1 dozen