Ho ho ho! It's nearly Christmas, sugar plums! Can you believe it?!?! All this talk and anticipation and it's finally here!
Now that our work is almost done...you know, shopping for oursel...er, we mean, other people and baking for oursel...um, other people that is, it's Santa's work that begins.
That ol' fellow has A LOT of work and most of it has to be done in one night. Of course, he prolly uses time zones and warp speed travel and stuff to his advantage, but still. There are a lot cupcakes out there expecting some goodies on the 25th.
We think Santa must get a bit tired though of milk and cookies at EVERY house he visits. Don't get us wrong. Nothing satisfies the sweet tooth quite like a cookie (and clearly Santa has been indulging his sweet tooth of late, if you catch our drift, wink wink, nudge nudge) but that pairing is kind of the bedtime comfort dessert combo, no? Like chicken soup to make you feel better when you are sick and cookies and milk to make you feel better when you are about to go to sleep? Yes? Yes.
Rather, don't you think Santa would prefer a little dessert pick-me-up? Something to return the spring to his step and zing to his sleigh?
Espresso. Duh. And some sweet spicy gingerbread biscotti (not really a cookie, as we have already established). You know, eye-opening and festive (he IS Santa after all).
Of course we have a slightly ulterior motive...if Santa is impressed with our baking creativity perchance he will put us on the extra-good list...
Makes about 24 cookies
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups granulated sugar
zest from 1 orange
1/2 cup dark molasses
5 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground ginger
3 cups chopped pecans, lightly toasted
11 ounces white chocolate or white almond bark (optional)
In a large bowl or stand mixer, combine butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time. Mix in orange peel and molasses, scraping sides of the bowl to mix. In a separate, medium bowl sift together flour, baking powder, salt and spices. Slowly mix the dry mixture into the wet mixture. Then, fold in the nuts. You may need to use your hands to work the nuts into the dough. Chill for 4 hours or overnight.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. On a very lightly floured surface, turn the dough out and divide into thirds. Shape each third into a flat loaf, roughly 10 x 4 x 1-inch. Transfer them to the prepared baking sheet, spaced about 2 inches apart, and bake for 35-45 minutes until firm and dry to the touch. Remove and cool for 10 minutes. Lower the oven temperature to 275 degrees Fahrenheit.
Using a sharp or serrated knife, cut the loaves into 1-inch wide logs and place the logs cut-side down on a baking sheet. Bake for another 10-15 minutes, turning halfway through, or until the biscotti are dry. Cool on a wire rack.
If desired, you can dip some (or all) of the biscotti in melted chocolate. For white chocolate you will likely have to spread it on whereas almond back melts better and you can dip the biscotti in the chocolate. Either way, melt chocolate in the microwave in 30 second intervals. Cool slightly, it should be warm but not hot. Dip the bottom of each biscotti in chocolate (or spread on one side) and place, chocolate side up, on a wire rack until chocolate sets.