Every Christmas I try to make some kind of biscotti. I’m not sure just why December seems to demand them, but there is something about sitting with people you love over cups of fresh coffee and some nice crunchy biscotti to dunk in as we enjoy each other’s company – it makes you feel all warm and cozy inside. And biscotti is very flexible stuff – you can bake up the logs ahead and freeze them – just bringing them out to slice and bake the second time when you need them. Once baked, they keep a good long while in a sealed container.
I was feeling all un-continental that I sometimes prefer to skip that second baking until an Italian friend told me that plenty of Italians skip it as well, or only bake them until they are a little crunchy. Crunchy or soft, the combo of 3 kinds of ginger in these is just amazing with the chocolate on top.
It is great to have some of these in your freezer for unexpected company – in just a short time, you can have them sliced, baked and drizzled. It’s a pretty impressive treat, for anyone, expected or not!
- 3 & ½ cups all purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- 3 large eggs
- ⅓ cup molasses
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 2 tablespoons freshly grated lemon zest
- 2 tablespoons freshly grated ginger
- ¼ cup crystallized ginger, cut in a small dice
- 1 & ½ cup toasted, chopped walnuts
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and dry spices.
- In the bowl of your mixer, beat together the sugar and eggs.
- Beat in the molasses, oil, vanilla, lemon zest and fresh ginger.
- Gradually mix in the flour mixture, until fully incorporated.
- Mix in the crystallized ginger and nuts.
- Line two heavy baking sheets with parchment paper
- Divide the dough into 4 equal pieces, and with wet hands, shape into logs, approximately10 inches by 3 inches, with two on each sheet. It is easiest to do this right on the baking sheet, kind of spreading the dough into the rough shape, and then patting in into place with wet hands – it’s pretty sticky. A bench scraper or some such is useful for tidying the edges
- Bake at 350º for about 20 minutes, and remove to cool on a rack. At this point, you can freeze the logs to slice and bake later if you wish – thaw completely before proceeding.
- Slice into about ½ to ¾ inch slices, and lay cut sides down on the baking sheet. For nicely crunchy biscotti, bake about 6 minutes, flip slices over and bake 6 minutes on the other side. You can bake less time if you want to keep a little chewiness in the texture.
- Cool completely on a rack.
- In separate bowls, melt about 8 ounces dark chocolate, and about 5 ounces white chocolate. [I do this in the microwave, at about 20 second intervals, stirring between each to get a good consistency.]
- Use a small fork – dip into the chocolate and wave over top the slices to get some nice streaks of chocolate, first with the dark, then the white. Allow to dry completely before storing in a tightly sealed container.
Make sure the chocolate is completely firm and dry before sealing them up to store.
Then make some coffee – hot chocolate for the short people, and sit in the waning afternoon light, enjoying your blessings.