Biscotti lovers seem to fall into two camps: those who view dipping as essential and those who view dipping as optional. As you can see from the photo above, I fall into the dipping-is-optional camp. I like my biscotti with a chewy center (a texture achieved by butter, which dipping-biscotti recipes generally do not call for) and a crisp crust, and I like them on the larger, meatier size — I want to eat one (not ten) and feel satisfied.
While I am partial to classic almond biscotti, these gingerbread biscotti are a treat this time of year. This recipe is just a variation of my favorite recipe with molasses replacing some of the sugar and the addition of traditional gingerbread spices: ginger, cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg. With coffee or tea, a latte or hot cocoa, this dunking-is-optional treat will put anyone in the holiday spirit.
I hope all of your holiday preparations are going well. Below I’ve compiled some of my favorite recipes for this time of year, namely this mustard sauce (affectionately known as the ham sauce in my family), which is incredibly delicious, a wonderful accompaniment to a ham dinner, and a treat to have on hand for leftover sandwiches… you might want to make a double batch.
Hope you all have a safe and wonderful holiday.
Favorite Holiday Recipes
Note: images link to recipes
Party Starters: Glogg (Warning: This is potent stuff — bone-warming, rosy-cheek inducing, party-starting stuff.); Baked Fontina, Cheese Straws
Desserts/Treats: Rosemary Shortbread (my favorite), Rum Balls (so easy!), Almond Torte, Orange and Olive Oil Cake, Chocolate Torte, Boozy Chocolate Truffles
Christmas Morning: Cranberry buttermilk breakfast cake, Bakery Lane’s Honey Whole Wheat Bread, Baked Eggs
Notes: This is just a variation of my favorite almond biscotti recipe. Here, some of the white sugar has been replaced with molasses and traditional gingerbread spices have been added. I have altered the baking method here after noticing the logs browning too much on the underside after 35 minutes. Be warned: For the initial cutting, the biscotti will be very raw in the center. They bake up nicely, however, after two additional bakings.
Yield = About 30
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup molasses
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cloves
freshly grated nutmeg to taste
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1 cup sliced almonds
1. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter with the sugars until well blended. Add the molasses and stir to blend. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing after each addition.
2. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, spices and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the mixer and blend on low speed until just combined. Add the almonds and mix again until just incorporated.
3. Remove the dough from the mixer and divide into two halves. Plop one half into the center of a large piece of plastic wrap. Form into a long rectangle about an inch high. Wrap with plastic wrap. Repeat with remaining log. Chill for 3 hours (ideally) but less if you are pressed for time.
4. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Bake one log at a time on a parchment- or Silpat-lined baking sheet for 30 minutes. Remove pan from oven and place on a cooling rack. Let log cool for 20 minutes before transferring it to a cutting board. Reduce oven temperature to 325ºF or if you like your biscotti on the crisper side, reduce oven temperature to 300ºF. Cut the log crosswise with a sharp knife. Lay the cut slices on their sides on the baking sheet. Return pan to the oven for 15 minutes if you like a chewy texture and 20 minutes (at 300ºF) if you like a crisper texture. Remove pan from the oven, flip the biscotti over and return pan to the oven for 5 minutes (if you like chewy) and 10 minutes (if you like crispy). Remove pan from the oven and let cool on a baking sheet before serving. Note: Use your judgement regarding the time — increase or decrease the times based on your preferences for texture.