December 7, 2014

Gingerbread Biscotti

It's a little sad when all you have for Christmas cookies are overpriced little boxes from the dining hall. All I want are some warm, fresh, homemade cookies. Is that too much to ask? I guess I'll just have to settle for microwaving their chocolate chip cookies.

Luckily, you don't have to. These gingerbread biscotti are absolutely perfect for this time of year because they are flavored for the season, one batch makes a ton, they aren't too bad for you, and they last much longer than regular cookies. You can eat them plain, dunk them in coffee or tea, crumble them over ice cream, or eat them however else you can imagine.

Biscotti roughly translates to "twice-baked," which is why they last so long. You shape the dough into logs, bake them once, slice the logs, and then bake them again until crisp. Most cookies go hard and stale after a few days, but these last for upwards of a week with little noticeable change and freeze wonderfully if you need them longer.

I'll start with the dry ingredients. I use a mixture of regular all-purpose flour and whole wheat flour because you can't really tell that it's whole wheat with all the spices in there (so why not make them a little healthier?). Speaking of spices, I use ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg, four of your Fall staples. You can't have gingerbread without them! Granulated sugar is all you need for sweetness; there's no need to use brown sugar since I add the molasses separately and that's the only difference between the two types.

For the wet ingredients, I use a little bit of butter, eggs, and, of course, the molasses. The molasses is the key ingredient for the gingerbread flavor, and it also gives it a lovely brown hue. There's less than a stick of butter in the whole batch, which makes 40-50 slices, so that's part of the reason why I use so many eggs. The eggs provide the necessary moisture, and they also help hold it all together.

Biscotti typically have add-ins like nuts, chocolate, or dried fruit. You can use one, a combination, or none depending on what you like and what you have on hand; I recommend using dried cranberries, pecans or walnuts, and/or white chocolate chips.

Whether you have a cookie exchange, gifts to give, or guests to feed, biscotti can solve all your problems. You can mix and match these, pumpkin white chocolate biscottichocolate orange hazelnut biscotti, orange almond biscotti, or whatever other flavor combinations you create. I'm sure everyone will love them!

1/3 Cup Butter, Melted
1 Cup Sugar
3 Eggs
1/4 Cup Molasses
2 1/4 Cups Flour
1 Cup Whole Wheat Flour
1/2 tsp Salt
1 T Baking Powder
1 1/2 tsp Ginger
1 tsp Cinnamon
1/2 tsp Nutmeg
1/4 tsp Cloves
1/2 Cup Dried Cranberries and/or Diced Crystallized Ginger, Optional
1/2 Cup Chopped Toasted Pecans, Optional
1/2 Cup White Chocolate Chips, Optional

Heat oven to 375F and line cookie trays with parchment.

Whisk the butter, sugar, eggs, and molasses together. Sift the flour, whole wheat flour, salt, baking powder, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg together. Stir the butter mixture and the flour mixture together, then fold in the cranberries and pecans if using.

Split the dough in half and shape each into a log. Bake for 20 minutes or until cooked through. Set aside to cool.

Slice the biscotti and bake for 12 minutes or until crisp; they will continue to dry as they cool.

Makes 48
Recipe Adapted from Chew Out Loud

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