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.


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


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


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!

— Knead to Cook

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.


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


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


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.

— Knead to Cook

Cranberry Orange Relish.


Thanksgiving is next week and this is one of my favorite recipes.  So easy, yet so flavorful.  I love cranberries and oranges together.  Perfect as a side or on your leftover turkey sandwiches.  My youngest daughter loves to make this dish – so it’s totally kid-friendly.  Great way to get everyone to pitch in and help with dinner prep.  Also, this can be made up to 4 days in advance and stored in the fridge.

[Read more…]

— Knead to Cook

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.


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


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.

— Knead to Cook

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.


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


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!

— Knead to Cook

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.


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


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.

— Knead to Cook

Eggnog Pull Apart Cinnamon Rolls.

I’ve been thinking (and panicking) a lot about Christmas.  I swear it was just October and next week is Thanksgiving already?!  I’ve been concocting some recipes in my head and gave this one a whirl last night – thinking it would make Monday morning that much more special.  It did!  I love this recipe and will continue to massage it to perfection.  I did want to share it because it is pretty good as it stands.  My kids loved it along with my husband.  I was good, I only took one bite before the gym this morning.


3/4 cup of almond or white milk
1/4 cup of eggnog
3.5 cups of all-purpose flour (I use King Arthur’s) – divided – you may need additional flour if the dough is too sticky
1/3 cup of sugar
1 egg
1 1/4 teaspoon of yeast (rapid rise) or two packets
1 teaspoon salt
Non stick baking spray with flour


1/2 cup of brown sugar (light brown)
3 tablespoons of ground cinnamon
1/2 stick of Smart Balance light baking butter (you can use regular butter) at room temperature


1 1/3 cup of confectioners sugar
3 tablespoons of eggnog


Melt the butter or butter spread in the microwave and set aside. Warm the milk to about 120 degrees and add the yeast.  Set aside for 5 minutes.  In the meantime, add the butter, 1 cup of flour, sugar, egg and salt into your mixing bowl with the paddle attachment.  Add the milk/yeast mixture to the stand mixer as well.  Blend on low for about 4 minutes.  Add the remaining flour and beat on low until incorporated.  The dough will be sticky when blended.  If too sticky, add a tablespoon of extra flour as needed.  Turn the dough out onto a flour surface and knead for an additional 10 minutes.

Lightly oil a clean bowl and place the dough inside.  Cover with a towel and store in a draft-free location for 1.5 hours.  The dough should rise to double it’s size.

Preheat oven 375 degrees.  Spray your round 9 inch pan and set aside.

Punch the dough down and roll it out into a large rectangle (the dough should be about 1/4 inch thick.  Place the butter in your hand and rub it all over the dough – right to the edges.  This will help the spices to stick to the dough.  It needn’t be a thick but a thin layer.  Then add the brown sugar and sugar in a bowl.  The spread all over the dough – right to the edges.  Roll the dough tightly starting from you moving outward.  Once you have one long roll you will slit the top of of the roll with a sharp filet knife.  You will pierce the dough and go approximately half way down through the roll.  Then gently add the roll of dough into your round prepared pan.  I started at the center of the pan and rolled it moving outward like a bullseye.  Adjust the positioning as necessary.

Bake for 35 minutes or until lightly golden.

While the rolls are baking, whip up the glaze so it’s ready to go when the rolls coming out of the oven.  In a bowl add the confectioner’s sugar with the eggnog.  Whisk until creamy.  Pour over the rolls the minute they come out of the oven.  You can serve at this point or place back in the oven to crisp up the glaze for an additional ten minutes.


— Knead to Cook

Mint Chocolate Crinkle Cookies.


Today, Leslie and I whipped up a preview of a delectable Christmas cookie.  Once I popped one in my mouth, I remembered why I make these every Christmas.  If you love mint… these are the babies for you!


1 2/3 cup of all-purpose flour (I use King Arthur’s)
1/2 c cocoa powder (I used Wilbur’s)
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 stick of unsalted butter (or butter spread like Smart Balance) at room temperature
1 1/4 cup of granulated sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon of mint extract
1/3 cup of confectioner’s sugar (for rolling in the cookie dough balls in)
1 bag of Mint Truffle Hershey Kisses, unwrapped


Preheat the oven 350 degrees.  Line your baking sheets with a Silpat or parchment paper. Set aside.  Pour the confectioner’s sugar in a bowl and set aside.

In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt.  Whisk.  Set aside.

In your stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar.  Then add one egg at a time, blending well in between the additions.  Then add the vanilla and mint.

Add the flour blend to the stand mixer in thirds.  Blending well after each addition.  With a cookie scooper, scoop out a ball and roll it in the confectioner’s sugar to coat and then place on your baking sheet.  Repeat.   Bake for 10-11 minutes.  Remove promptly and depress a Kiss in the middle of each cookie.  Let cool for 10 minutes then serve or store in a tupperware container.

— Knead to Cook

Candy Corn Marshmallow People.


I made these last year and they were a total hit.  I shared the on my blog and on Facebook and they have shown up as a guest on many other blogs.  I needed to make more and take a better photo of these cuties.  I made these super-sized.  These are the jumbo marshmallows but this recipe works well with the regular size as well.


1 bag of marshmallows
8 ounces of white chocolate
Vegetable/canola or coconut oil
Yellow food coloring
Orange food coloring
Black gel icing tube

OR you can use colored Wilton baking chocolate in orange and yellow.One bag each is sufficient.



You have many different options for chocolate use on this recipe – please read the entire recipe before proceeding to ensure that melting is optimized and you don’t have any issues.

If using the colored Wilton chocolate melts, melt according to the package directions and then follow directions below.  Of course adding food coloring isn’t necessary.

If using melting wafter in white chocolate or chocolate in bar form – chop the chocolate into very small pieces for easier melting (melt in a double boiler or in the microwave on the defrost setting).  Set the time for small increments, like 30 seconds and remove and stir.  If using a double boiler, bring a small saucepan filled with about 1/4 way up filled with water to a boil and place an oven-safe bowl over the top.  The water below should not be touching the bowl.  Add the chocolate and melt slowly, whisking frequently. Once the chocolate is completely melted, you may add a bit of oil to the chocolate if needed to loosen it up.  I start with a small amount, 1 teaspoon and add more if necessary.

Pour the chocolate into two separate bowls and add your food coloring (if using white chocolate and not the colored Wilton chocolate).  Add the coloring and whisk.  Dip your marshmallow in the orange first about 1/3 of the way up and then set on some parchment paper.  Proceed throughout the marshmallows doing the orange.  Placing your dipped marshmallows on a platter or a table lined with parchment. Once the chocolate is set up and firm, repeat with the yellow and only coat half way up the orange color.  Again, let that set up.  Using a gel tube of black icing, gently make two eyes and let that set up before bagging (this seems to take the longest).   Avoid putting too much of a dot for the eyes or they will drip.  Enjoy!


— Knead to Cook

Nutella stuffed Challah French toast.

Today is our first Saturday without a swim meet in quite some time so I thought I would make it a special breakfast for my girls.  My husband and dad are off for the morning looking at properties and to a gun auction so it looks like a girly type morning.  I took my second loaf of Challah that I froze last week out and decided to create something yummy for them!  Nutella + Challah… yep!  Can’t go wrong there.


Challah Bread loaf (or whatever thick bread you have i.e. Italian)
4 eggs
1 tbl of water or milk
1 tsp of cinnamon
Butter for the pan or nonstick spray
Optional – toasted slivered almond for topping
Powdered sugar for dusting the final product

Cut the Challah into 1/2 inch slices and set aside.

Crack your eggs into a bowl and add the water or milk and whisk.  Then add the cinnamon.  Pour that into a baking dish that is flat so that you can easily dip the bread into it to coat.  Set aside.

Then you’re basically going to make sandwiches.  Spread the Nutella on one side of the bread and top it with another piece of Challah.  Then repeat.  Take that sandwich and dip it into your egg mixture to coat both side.  I do let it sit in the mixture for about 30 seconds on each side.

Get your skillet ready over a low-medium flame with a pat of butter or spray warming up.  Once hot and the butter is melted, add your French toast sandwich.  I normally top one side with slivered almonds but this is optional.  Cook until golden brown on both sides and dust with powdered sugar.  Serve and enjoy!


— Knead to Cook