Martin Vandiver of Preston Hollow has helped run a bakery before, tasked with all the grunt work, such as draining the doughnut vat. “That left me scarred for sure. I had no interest in food service after that. I know how much work it takes to make a buck.” These days, though, the self-described foodie is able to turn a longtime hobby into a viable business on the side while he’s not working full time as a commercial photographer. When Vandiver had his first taste of authentic Italian biscotti, he started experimenting with his own recipes. “Most people have only tasted what they serve at Starbucks,” he says. Among Vandiver’s creative flavor combinations are coconut and curry with apricot, chocolate hazelnut with black currant and cocoa nib, cherry and pistachio, Tuscan-style saffron with almond, and mole with Peruvian raisins. His EMA Baking Co., composed of Vandiver, his wife, Ann, and daughter, Elizabeth, sells the products at local markets. “It’s quite literally a mom-and-pop operation,” Vandiver says. They also operate online without the stress of a storefront. The business idea came after the passage of the Cottage Food Law that allowed people to sell dried baked goods from their home. Demand grew after a few months, so the Vandivers obtained their FDA license to sell outside the home. Biscotti in Latin means “twice-baked.” The batter is baked, cooled, carefully sliced and then baked again. “It’s not like baking a batch of cookies and putting them in a box.” When someone purchases a box of Martin’s Biscotti, the Vandivers often hand out free recipes that make use of the biscotti, such as “pazzo,” which means “crazy” in Italian. It combines fresh strawberries, balsamic vinegar, black pepper, sea salt, crumbled biscotti and mascarpone cheese.
Martin’s Biscotti from EMA Baking Co.
Price range: $12.95 for a 6-oz box
Where to buy it: White Rock Local Market, artizone.com
Tip: Biscotti has a shelf life of three to four months.