Monday, December 31, 2012

Belated Holiday Cookies

Happy Holidays, everyone!

If my resolution for 2012 was to blog recipes more often... I may have failed. So, what have we been up to lately? Still working at the knit shop; Josh busy with his grown-up job. Room-momming Halloween and Holiday parties; chaperoning field trips to the Smithsonian and a whole bunch of other stuff. 
Still cooking, though! Always. Here are two of this year's Christmas cookie hits, both adapted from Bon Apetit recipes. And if you're like me, and you sometimes bake "after-Christmas" cookies for the kids' teachers because you were maybe a bit over-commited before the fact, then these will come in handy for you! Enjoy!

Holiday Biscotti

1 3/4 c. flour
1 c. sugar
1/3 c. old-fashioned (not quick-cooking) rolled oats
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
2 large eggs
3 TB vegetable oil
1 TB organic orange zest
2 tsp. organic lemon zest
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 c. sliced almonds
1/2 c. unsalted, shelled pistachios
1 c. dried sour cherries
1/2 tsp. peppermint extract
12 oz. white or dark chocolate chips (or 6 oz. each)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line heavy baking sheet w/ parchment. Combine first 6 ingredients in a large bowl. In medium bowl, combine eggs, oil, zests, and extract. Add egg mixture to large bowl/dry ingredients and mix until combined. Fold in cherries and nuts.

Transfer dough to lightly floured surface and gently knead until it holds together. Divide dough in two and shape each half into 12-14" log and transfer to baking sheet, 5" apart. Flatten each log a bit, so they're at least 2-3" wide. Bake, rotating baking sheet halfway through, until browned and set ~30 min. 
Cool on rack for 10-15 minutes, then transfer logs to cutting board. Reduce oven to 250 degrees F, and arrange racks so that one is in top third, and one is in lower third. Line a second baking sheet with parchment.
Use a serrated knife to slice logs, semi-diagonally into 2/3" slices. Arrange slices on lined baking sheets, cut side down and bake 40 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through baking time. 
Cool completely. Melt chocolate chips in microwave and stir in peppermint extract. Dip ends of biscotti in chocolate and arrange on wax-paper until chocolate is set. Refrigerate if you need them to set quickly.
Store in airtight container at room temperature. Makes about 4 dozen. Recipe doubles well.

Chewy-Snappy Ginger Cookies

"Chewy-Snappy" because they are wonderfully chewy for a couple of days, but for the rest of the week (if they last that long!), they're more like ginger snaps, and still very tasty.

2 1/4 c. flour
2 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. freshly ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
3/4 c. packed brown sugar
1/2 c. canola or vegetable oil
1 stick unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
1 egg
1/2 c. molasses
2 tsp. peeled, grated ginger root
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. organic lemon extract
1 c. turbinado (raw) sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and arrange racks in upper and lower thirds. Line two heavy baking sheets with parchment. Whisk first 7 ingredients together in medium bowl. Using electric mixer on high, mix brown sugar, oil and butter in large bowl, until light and fluffy. With mixer on low, add egg, molasses, grated ginger, vanilla and lemon zest; mix until blended. Add flour mixture and beat on low just until blended. 

With raw sugar in a shallow bowl, form tablespoon sized dough balls and roll in sugar. Place 1 1/2" apart on prepared sheets and bake 10-12 minutes. Cool completely and store in airtight container at room temp. Makes about 4 dozen.

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