Monday, December 14, 2009

To bake or not to bake....

Every Christmas since I am a young girl.....I can remember the women in my life baking. My Grandma spent days baking pies, cookies and other items. She would give me left over pie crust dough for me to roll out and sprinkle cinnamon and sugar on it. My aunt and my mom spent a couple days every year after Thanksgiving baking hundreds of cookies for the holidays. At some point I took over the Christmas cookie baking. I can spend days making the doughs and a few more days doing the baking. A few cookies have remained on my " to bake " list and a few have been added or removed. This holiday season since I am not currently working, I decided to take my time. I made double batches of cookie doughs and froze half of them. This way, I could spend a little time baking a few times during the holiday season. The cookies would be baked fresh as needed. Last week I baked. Next week I bake. Should I bake this week too? To bake or not to bake? that is my question. I have a couple new recipes that I found and wanted to try, so I made one last week and I will make the next one this week. They are my trial bakings. Last week I made a Christmas Biscotti. Mini biscottis with pistachio nuts and dried cranberries in them. A drizzle of sugar glaze over them and WOW are they delicious. With a cup of hot tea, apple cider or a glass of doesnt get much better than this. They are easy to make and great for gift giving. I will be packing some in Christmas Decorated chinese food to go containers as is the recipe. I hope you try it and love them as much as I do.

Christmas Biscotti

1/3 cup butter (softened)
2/3 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg ( I only use fresh grated but ground is fine)
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp rum flavoring ( I used Rum ) lol
2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp finely grated orange zest (peel)
1/3 cup pistacho nuts chopped
1/2 cup dried cranberries chopped
Powdered sugar icing

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper.
Beat butter in large bowl with electric mixer for 30 seconds. Add sugar, baking powder, nutmeg, salt, and cinnamon. Beat until combined. Beat in eggs, vanilla, and rum until combined. Add flour and beat until well mixed, scraping bowl occasionally. Add orange zest, cranberries and nuts just until combined. Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface. Divide dough into 3 portions. Shape each portion into an 8in long loaf using floured hands. Place loaves on parchment lined cookie sheet about 4-6 inches apart. Flatten each loaf to approximately 1 in high and 2 inches wide.
Bake in oven for approx 20-25 min until golden or tops are cracked. Cool on wire rack for 30 min. Lower oven to 325 degrees. Using a serrated knife, cut loaves into 1/2" slices. Place slices back on parchment lined cookie sheet. Bake 8 minutes then turn slices over and bake another 8-10 minutes until dry and crisp. Let cool then drizzle with Powdered Sugar Icing.

Powdered SUgar Icing...
1 cup powdered sugar and enough milk ( 1-2 tbs) to make an icing of drizzling consistency.
Store in an airtight container or freeze for up to 3 months.
Hope you enjoy them...and remember....Bite Me!!

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