The Christmas baking has commenced! I believe this truly is my favourite time of year, the lead up to Christmas and of course, Christmas itself. No matter how old I get, there is still something magical about these few weeks, the excited preparation of food and presents, the chill of winter setting in, the hint of snow in the air. It’s different now that I have my own children, of course, as I know firsthand the behind-the-scenes effort it takes for parents to pull off the magic without giving anything away. It can get more than a little stressful, and yet I still find that I love it, year after year.
I love sending packages of homemade goodies to friends and family, with a variety of holiday treats in them. So I start early, with things I know hold up well in the fridge or the freezer. Closer to the main event, I will make the ones that need to be fresh. Biscotti is a good one to make early on, as it is meant to be hard anyway and withstands freezing very well. In years past, I have made a Cranberry Pistachio biscotti out of Bon Appetit that was very well received, but this year, I was struck by what I thought was a flash of brilliance. Gingerbread Biscotti! Dipped in white chocolate and sprinkled with chopped, candied ginger. Pure genius, n’est-ce pas?
I quickly discovered that it was so darn brilliant, other baking geniuses have already thought of gingerbread biscotti. Ah well, great minds think alike, I suppose. Regardless, I decided to go ahead with my version of this holiday treat. Thus far, I haven’t seen any others dipped in white chocolate and sprinkled with candied ginger, so for now, I can claim this idea as my own. If someone else has already done it, don’t tell me. I want to hold on to my delusions of grandeur for a little while longer.
The Results: Obviously, this is not exactly a low carb holiday cookie, so I limited my taste-testing to the non-white chocolate dipped version, and a small(ish) piece of it at that. What I can tell you is this…my kitchen smelled heavenly while these little guys were baking. When I opened the oven to check on them, the waft of gingerbread was incredible, absolutely incredible. But the texture is all biscotti, that hard and yet tender crunch. The raisins give them some added chewiness and the almonds add more crunch. And although I didn’t taste the ones with white chocolate myself, I wonder how you can possibly go wrong with that? My husband, who spent a year living in Italy, gave them a big thumbs up, and even the kids liked them.
Gingerbread and biscotti is a match made in heaven, I just wonder why no one has thought of it before? Oh wait, that’s right, they already did!
**If you plan on making these ahead and freezing them, wait to dip them in white chocolate until you are ready to serve them (or give them away!).
I was very honoured to be asked by LexioPhiles to contribute a holiday recipe to their annual International Recipe Advent Calendar, and I chose these Gingerbread Biscotti. Click on the image above to see the wonderful advent calendar and check out the contributions by foodbloggers all over the world. http://www.lexiophiles.com/featured-articles/international-recipe-advent-calendar-2010
Gingerbread White Chocolate Biscotti
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp salt
6 tbsp butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp dark molasses
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup slivered almonds
6 oz good quality white chocolate, chopped
3 tbsp chopped, candied ginger
Preheat oven to 325F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, spices and salt. In a larger bowl, beat butter and sugar together until combined. Beat in eggs one at a time. Mix in vanilla and molasses.
Beat in flour mixture until just combined. Stir in raisins and almonds. Dough will be stiff and sticky.
Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface and divide in half. Roll each half into a 12-inch log and transfer to prepared baking pan about 3 inches apart. Flatten each log into a 3-inch wide loaf.
Bake until loafs are almost firm to the touch, 30-35 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool 10 minutes, but maintain oven temperature.
Carefully transfer one loaf at a time to a cutting board. With a serrated knife, gently saw back and forth to cut loaf crosswise into 3/4 inch slices. Place slices, cut-side down, back onto parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake until firm and golden, 8 minutes per side. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
Line another baking sheet with waxed paper. Place a metal or ceramic bowl over a barely simmering pan of water. Stir until chocolate is melted and smooth. Remove from over water and dip one end of each cookie into melted chocolate, tilting the bowl to get good coverage. Place cookies on waxed paper and sprinkle with chopped ginger, pressing gently to adhere.
Chil until chocolate is firm.