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Holiday Baking

During the holiday season, you can almost always find me spending my free time in the kitchen baking Christmas cookies. As a child, I loved helping my mom and grandma bake cookies, and for several days, I was dusted in flour. I continued the tradition with my children as well, and smile at the memory of my flour coated boys standing on their step stool decorating snowmen and reindeer. It must be genetic. The warm aroma of cinnamon, molasses, butter, and sugar fills the house which is such a treat on cold winter evenings.  Although I occasionally toss in a new recipe here and there, my family has their favorites and for the most part, we stick to our familiar cookie playbook.

This year, however, I decided to add a new recipe to our repertoire. I love to watch cooking shows and recently, Giada De Laurentiis baked a pan of almond biscotti. Biscotti are an Italian almond biscuit which are twice baked, oblong, and with their crunchy texture, they are ideal for dunking into your favorite hot beverage. They are not overly sweet which makes them a perfect holiday treat if you’re having guests for tea, or just want a little afternoon pick me up. They are also a great cookie for gift giving. I have always loved them, but they are a little drier than most cookies, which can take a little getting used to.

Ingredients:

2 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup cornmeal

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup sugar

3 large eggs

3/4 cup coarsely chopped whole almonds

18 ounces white or semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt. In another bowl, beat sugar and eggs with an electric mixture until pale yellow, about 3 minutes. Mix in flour and beat until just blended. The dough will be sticky. Stir in almonds. Let the dough rest for 5 minutes.

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Divide the dough evenly into 2 equal mounds and place on prepared baking sheet. With moist hands, space dough evenly apart and form into 2 ( 9 by 3 inch) logs.

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Bake for 35 minutes until lightly browned. Cool for 5 minutes. Using a serrated knife, cut logs crosswise into 3/4 inch thick diagonal slices. Arrange the biscotti cut side down on the same baking sheet. Bake until the cookies are pale golden, 20- 25 minutes.

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Let cool completely. Place the chocolate chips in a medium bowl. Place the bowl over a pan of simmering water, making sure the bottom of the pan does not touch the water. Stir until the chocolate is melted and smooth. Dip the end of each biscotti in the chocolate. Transfer the dipped biscotti to a wire rack, set over a baking sheet, until the chocolate has hardened. Store in airtight container.

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These are such a pretty addition to your holiday cookie tray. Enjoy!

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~May

“First we’ll make snow angels for two hours, then we’ll go ice skating, then we’ll eat a whole roll of Tollhouse Cookie-dough as fast as we can, and then we’ll snuggle.” Elf

 

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