Yes, it's true, I've been pretty bad about blogging lately. I'd like to blame it on too much egg nogg and the tsunami of rain that LA has had the past few days, but being cooped up indoors drinking merry delights screams blog-time. So, I must admit laziness, blog-laziness of course. I'm always baking!
I know it's almost Christmas, and waaaaaay too late to give out holiday party snacks ideas, or even great gifts for the giving. So all I can suggest is bookmark this blog for next year, when this lil' Christmas Elf is back on her A-game. (It's new year's resolution time after all...)
In the meantime, here's a fun recipe for Brilliant Biscotti, the kind that's sweet, tangy, and kicks you in the kisser with a surprise bite!
They make great holiday gifts... for next year...
And hey, for extra cool-points, I took the photos for this blog post all by myself! (Sure, maybe I got a few tips from my photographer boyfriend, but these photos are all me!). Yee Haw!
Cracked Pepper, Dried Cherry, and Chocolate Chip Biscotti
(Makes about 3 dozen pieces)
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 cup unsalted butter (at room temperature)
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups dried cherries
3/4 cup chocolate chips
1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1) Position one rack in the center of the oven and another rack in the lower third of the oven. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
2) In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Set aside.
3) In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until fluffy (about 3 minutes). Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix in the vanilla.
4) With the mixer on low speed, add the sifted ingredients in two batches, beating after each addition until the flour disappears. Do not overmix. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the cherries, chocolate, and pepper. (Note: if you don't have a pepper grinder, you can crush pepper corns with the flat side of a butter knife).
5) Turn the mixture out onto a lightly floured surface. The dough will be a bit sticky. Divide the dough in half. With floured hands, roll each half into a log 1 1/2 inches thick and about 15 inches long. Place both logs about three inches apart on a nonstick or parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake until lightly firm to the touch (about 25 minutes). Remove from the oven and let sit for ten minutes.
6) Place one log on a cutting board. With a sharp serrated knife and using a sawing motion, carefully cut the log on a slight diagonal into 1/2 inch thick slices. Place the slices on their sides on their sides on the baking sheet. Repeat with the second log, using an additional baking sheet (if needed). Bake until dried out and lightly golden, about 10 minutes. Turn each slice over and bake until lightly golden, about ten minutes. Transfer to wire racks to cool completely.
7) To decorate, place five or six pieces of biscotti in a cellophane bag and tie with paper raffia/ribbon. (Bags and raffia can be found in a local craft store).
8) Share and be merry!