Cherry & Pistachio (red & green) Christmas Biscotti.

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I make these red and green biscotti every Christmas.  I just love the red and green combination of the tart cherries and the green pistachios.  Biscotti are super easy to make, although take a bit of time because of the double baking.  But the end result is so worth it.

My grandmother always used cornmeal in her biscotti recipe and it just adds a different texture that makes these cookies undeniably a favorite.  I hope you get a chance to whip these up before Christmas next week.  The batch does make a fair amount, depending on how thick or thin you slice them.  And they keep for several days.  Perfect for dunking in tea, coffee or hot chocolate this season.

Ingredients:

2 cups of all purpose flour (I use King Arthur’s unbleached ap)
3/4 cup of stone ground corn meal
1.5 teaspoons of baking powder
1 teaspoon of salt
3 eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup of pistachios (shelled and roughly chopped) – you can use more or less
1/2 cup of dried tart cherries ( you can always use dried cranberries if you have them on hand)

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees and line your baking pan with a Silpat or parchment paper.  Set aside.

In a dry mixture bowl combine, the flour, cornmeal, powder and salt together with a whisk.

In your stand mixer, blend your sugar and eggs together for 2-3 minutes or until fluffy.  Then add in the dry mixture.  Blend for 1 minute then add the nuts/cherries.  Blend until combined.  The dough will be sticky.  Wet your hands prior to removing the dough from the mixer, this will help you to work better with it.  Divide the dough in half.  Place both halves on your cookie sheet and shape into a 12 inch by 2.5 inch log.  Press the dough down to a thickness of about an inch or so.

Bake the dough for 32-34 minutes or until it starts getting a golden brown edge.  Remove and let cool for 10 minutes.  Then with a serrated knife, slice diagonal about 1/2-3/4 of an inch thick.  You don’t want it too thick or too thin so eyeball it.  Take each slice and lay it cut side down on your baking sheet.  They can be butted up against one another.  You can fit all of the slices on one cookie sheet using your space wisely.  Bake again for 20-24 minutes.  The cookies should be toasted and as they cool, will get a bit crunchier.  Store in a ziploc baggie or tupperware.  Great for sending in a care package or as a gift for friends and neighbors.

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Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies topped with Sea Salt.

This could be the quintessential PMS cookie.  Salt, sugar… it’s perfection.  Even if you don’t suffer with that lovely disorder… anyone who loves bacon will be grabbing for one of these.  I don’t know why I thought it would be a great combo but it totally is and the smell is soooooo fabulous.  I ate one and stepped away.  I have to restrain myself or go back out to run again.  :)  Totally fun twist on a classic.

*Adaptation from Guittard.

Ingredients:

1 cup of all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup of butter, softened
6 tablespoons granulated sugar
6 tablespoons of light brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
10 ounces of Guittard Super Cookie Chips or regular dark chocolate chips
4-6 strips of cooked, cooled and crumbled pieces of smoked bacon
Sea Salt

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a separate bowl, combine flour, soda and salt.  Set aside.

In your stand mixer, paddle attached, cream butter and sugars.  Then beat in the egg and vanilla until creamy.  Add the flour mixture, blend.  Blend well.  By hand, stir in the chocolate chips and bacon.  Drop rounded cookie dough onto your baking sheet.  Sprinkle a tiny bit of sea salt on top of each cookie dough ball.  Bake for 10 minutes or until lightly golden.  Let cool and then store in a container with a lid.

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Peppermint Patty Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars.

Who doesn’t love peppermint?!  My kids LOVE it!  And tomorrow starts our first winter swim meet and I’m always baking like a madwoman to prepare.  The kids swim and they eat… this is what winter swim (and summer) is all about! Some healthy snacks and some decedent ones for post race celebration.  These are a reason to celebrate!  I promise.

Ingredients:

1 cup + 2 tablespoons of King Arthur’s all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup of Smart Balance butter (or you can use regular butter)
6 tablespoons of packed brown sugar
6 tablespoons of granulated sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon of peppermint extract
10 ounces of chocolate chips
1 bag of individually wrapped Peppermint Patties (unwrapped)

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Spray your 9×9 glass pan with baking spray.

In a small bowl, mix flour, soda and salt.

In your stand mixer, beat butter and both sugars for 3 minutes.  Then add the egg and peppermint extract.  Add the flour mixture and beat on slow until incorporated.  Beat in the chocolate chips by hand.

Take half of the dough and place it in the prepared pan and smooth it out to cover the bottom.  Then lay the peppermint patties over top of the cookie dough.  You can spread them or butt them together.  Then take the remaining dough and place it on top.  It may not cover totally but it will melt and distribute.  Bake for 22-24 minutes.  Keep a watchful eye if they need to bake a few minutes longer depending on your oven.

*Chocolate chip cookie recipe is an adaptation from Guittard’s super cookie chip cookie recipe.

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Honey Cayenne Roasted Almonds.

Just purchased several huge bags of raw almonds.  We love them for snacking and with our first swim meet this weekend – they are a go to, healthy snack.  These are super easy to prepare and you can control the heat.  These also package well for holiday shipping care packages.

Ingredients:

3 cups of raw almonds
1/3 cup of honey
1-2 teaspoons of cayenne pepper (depending on how spicy you want them)
1/4 cup turbinado sugar
2 teaspoons of salt

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 350 and line your baking sheet with a Silpat.

In a small bowl combine the turbinado sugar and salt.  Set aside.

In a larger mixing bowl, add the almonds, cayenne and honey.  Stir to coat.  Then spread them out in a single layer on your lined baking sheet.  Bake for 15 minutes then give them a good stir.  Add back for an additional 10 minutes.  Once you remove them, stir them again.  Then sprinkle with some of the sugar/salt mixture.  While cooling, I keep stirring and adding additional sprinkles or salt/sugar mixture.  They will stick together but easily break apart.  Taste to adjust if they need more salt etc.

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Eggnog Bread with Rum Glaze.

 

 

A friend just emailed me for this recipe and I thought I would add it quickly to my website.  I will be making this shortly for Christmas gifts for friends/neighbors (as well as taking better photos of it).  But for now, here are my not-so-fabulous pics of my very fabulous eggnog bread :)

 

 

 

I want to preface this recipe by stating that I make it in mini loaf pans (4 to be exact) for one batch.  If you don’t wish to use alcohol try using juice as a nice substitution.  Now onto the recipe:

 

Ingredients:

2 eggs
1 and 1/2 cups of regular eggnog (not low fat)
2 tsp Spiced Rum
1 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup butter @ room temperature
2 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 (3.4 ounces of powdered) package of instant French vanilla pudding mix
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg


Directions:


Preheat oven to 350. Spray your loaf, muffin etc. pan with non stick spray with flour. 

In your mixer using the paddle – mix together the eggs, eggnog, rum, sugar, vanilla and butter. The butter will remain clumpy but that is just fine. In a separate bowl, sift the flour, pudding mix, baking powder, salt and nutmeg. Add the dry mixture to the wet and blend until incorporated. Avoid over mixing. Again, the butter will remain clumpy and this is to be expected. The butter will melt when cooking. The dough will be thicker – be aware.  Pour into your prepared choice of pan(s). Bake your mini loaves for approximately 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. A regular loaf pan will take about 45-55 minutes. 

Rum glaze:
1 cup sifted confectioners sugar
2 tsp eggnog
2 tbl Spiced Rum
1/8 tsp of ground nutmeg

Whisk together and pour over your cooled eggnog bread.

 

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Double Chocolate Peppermint Biscotti.

 

From the minute Thanksgiving is over I’m dreamily going through my days anticipating Christmas.  I know, most people are stressing, but I love this time of year.  Coincidentally, my birthday is very close, which only makes this time of year more fun for me!  I’ve been wanting to whip up my double chocolate peppermint biscotti and with a quiet house this afternoon, on this nutty cyber Monday, I took the opportunity.  They are as good as I remember from last year.  Nice hint of cool, crisp mint flavor, decadent smooth dark chocolate… ****I’m swooning.**

I love these as a little gift for neighbors, teachers or anyone who you want to share a lovely treat during the holidays with.  They package beautifully and ship perfectly.

Ingredients:

2 cups of all-purpose flour (I use King Arthur’s)
1/2 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder (I use Wilbur)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons of butter (I use Smart Balance baking stick)
3/4 cup of granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon peppermint extract
1/2-3/4 cup of dark chocolate chips for the biscotti

Topping:

20 candy canes (crushed)
1 cup of melted chocolate (dark)
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
1/2 teaspoon canola oil

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Line your baking sheet with a Silpat or parchment paper.

In a large mixing bowl combine the flour, cocoa, soda and salt.  Whisk to combine.  In your stand mixer, paddle attachment on, blend the sugar and butter for 2-3 minutes.  Then add the eggs.  Blend.  And finally the extract.  Add the dry ingredients to the wet and blend.  This is a very firm dough.  Once combined, add the chocolate chips and mix by hand or with the mixer.

Separate the dough into two equal halves.  Then form a long log like shape that you flatten a bit.  It should measure about 12 or so inches long.  I like to make these smaller biscotti because they are very decadent with the chocolate coating.  Then repeat.  Place both logs onto your baking sheet and bake for 34-36 minutes or until firm.  Remove and let cool for 10 minutes.  Then place on a cutting board and with a serrated knife, slice 1/2 thick pieces on a diagonal.  Place them back on the baking sheet and return to the oven for 12 minutes or until toasted nicely.

Melt your chocolate over a double boiler or in the microwave, keeping a watchful eye so it doesn’t burn.  Add the oil and mix until creamy and smooth.  Add the peppermint pieces to a bowl and set aside.  Once the biscotti are done toasting.  Dip one end of your cookie into the chocolate.  Let the excess drip off.  Then sprinkle some peppermint pieces over the melted chocolate.  Place on a drying rack to set up.  Once the chocolate has firmed up, store in a tupperware container with a lid for up to 4-5 days.  Enjoy!

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Eggnog Baked Donuts.

Okay I’m not a huge fan of Eggnog (to drink) but love it baked into treats, as a recent discovery.  These little treats pack a lovely subtle eggnog flavor and pair that up with a cinnamon sugar crust on the top… folks, this is holiday perfection!


*Adaptation from Ina Garten.

Ingredients:

Baking spray with flour
Donut pans (I used mini size)
2 cup of all-purpose flour (I used King Arthur’s)
1 cup of sugar
2 teaspoons of baking powder
1 heaping teaspoon of cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg, beaten
1 1/4 cup of eggnog
2 tablespoons of butter, melted (always use unsalted so you can control your sodium)
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract

Topping:

8 tablespoons of butter (I used Smart Balance) melted on the stove over low heat source
1/2 cup of sugar
1/2 cup of ground cinnamon

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Spray your donut pans and set aside.

In you a large mixing bowl add the flour, sugar, powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.  Sift the dry ingredients once.

In a separate smaller bowl, blend the egg, eggnog, butter and vanilla.  Whisk to combine.  Then add to the dry ingredients. Whisk until incorporated.  Then fill each donut well about 1/2 or a tiny bit more with the batter.  Bake.  For regular sized donut pans, bake for 17-19 minutes.  For mini donuts, bake for about 9-11 minutes.  When a toothpick inserted comes out clean, the donuts are ready.

Remove and let cool for 4 minutes.  Mix the topping ingredients in a shallow bowl and set aside.

Then dip one side in the melted butter and then dip into the cinnamon and sugar topping mixture.   Place on a platter and watch them disappear.

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Cookie Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies. {addictive}

 

My daughters fell in love with Trader Joe’s cookie butter.  Admittedly, it is quite good.  We’re hosting a football party tonight and I thought I would whip up some chocolate chip cookies and thought I HAD to use some as we just stocked up big time at Trader Joe’s.  These cookies are super light and oh-so flavorful.  Quite a nice treat for football viewing or for holiday baking.  A fun twist on a classic.

Ingredients:

1 stick (1/2 cup) of butter (I used Smart Balance baking stick), at room temperature
3/4 cup of light brown sugar
1/4 cup of granulated sugar
1/2 cup of Trader Joe’s Cookie Butter
1 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1 egg, room temperature
1.5 cups of All Purpose flour (I use King Arthur’s)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
Guittard Chocolate Chips or whatever chocolate chips you prefer

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Line your baking sheets with Silpat or parchment paper and set aside.

In your stand mixer, blend the butter and sugars until fluffy.  This should take about 4 minutes.  Scrape the sides down and blend again.  Add your cookie butter, egg & vanilla.  Blend until incorporated.

In a separate bowl, mix the flour, soda and salt together with a whisk.  Add to the butter mixture and blend for 1 minute.  Add and blend, by hand, the chocolate chips.  Drop with a cookie scoop onto your prepared pans. Leave about 2 inches in between.  Bake for 10-11 minutes or until golden around the edges.

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Bob’s Roasted Chestnut Recipe.

My father, Bob, is a chestnut aficionado.  He loves this time of year when they’re sold at the farmer’s market so he can partake.  This week I found some and finally, with the completion of our kitchen, he was able to roast these up.  I don’t care for chestnuts but for those of you who do… enjoy this super easy and flavorful recipe.

Ingredients:

1 lb of chestnuts, with a cut in the top (about 1 inch long)
Pinch of salt
Water

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.  Set aside a baking sheet.  In a saucepan, add your chestnuts, salt and just enough water to cover.  Bring to a simmer and then remove from the heat.  Drain and place the chestnuts on your baking sheet and roast for 15 minutes.  Remove and let cool.  Peel and enjoy!

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Lemon Almond Biscotti.

My favorite cookie is the biscotti – hands down!  They are so versatile and I love trying out old recipes and new.  In the coming weeks I will be sharing my favorite recipes with you.  I hope you give some of these a try, especially with the cookie baking holidays upon us.

*Adapted from Giada DeLaurentis.

Ingredients:

2 cups of all-purpose flour (I use King Arthur’s)
3/4 cup of yellow cornmeal
1.5 teaspoons of baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
Zest from one lemon
1 cup of whole almonds, chopped

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Line two baking sheets with parchment or Silpat liners.

In a large bowl, whisk flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt.  In your stand mixer, blend sugar and eggs.  Add in the lemon zest.  Then add the flour mixture to the egg/sugar mixture.  Blend until combined.  Add in the almonds and mix.

Remove the dough from the bowl and divide into two “loaves” on your baking sheet.  They should be about 9×3 and 3/4 of an inch thick.  Bake for 35 minutes or until golden.  Remove and let cool for 10 minutes.  Slice on a diagonal with a serrated knife about 1/2 inch thick or slightly thicker.  Place on the cookie sheet and bake for an additional 25 minutes.

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