Chocolate Chip and Toffee Brickle Biscotti

Chocolate Chip and Toffee Brickle Biscotti

I like to make biscotti around Christmastime. They keep well, so I can package them with a bow and have them ready if I need a quick gift for a neighbor or to take to an appointment. They also ship well.

Chocolate Chip and Toffee Brickle Biscotti (gift)

For the first time in many, many years, I did not make my Cranberry and Pistachio Biscotti for Christmas. I just did not get around to it. I did make a batch of Chocolate Chip and Toffee Brickle Biscotti. They were well received.

Chocolate Chip and Toffee Brickle Biscotti

2 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1  cup mini chocolate chips
1/2 cup toffee bits (I use Heath Bit o’ Brickle Toffee Bits)

Heat oven to 350° F.  Line two baking sheets with foil and spray with cooking spray.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl.  In a large bowl, beat butter with electric mixer until fluffy.  Beat in vanilla, sugar, and eggs, adding eggs one at a time.  Add flour mixture on low, beating just until blended.  Stir in mini chocolate chips and toffee bits.

Divide dough in half.  With lightly floured hands, shape each half into a slightly flattened log measuring 12″ X 2 1/2″.  Place one log on each baking sheet.  Bake 35 to 40 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean.  Remove from oven and cool slightly.

With a serrated knife, cut each log into 1/3″ to 1/2″ thick slices.  Lay slices on baking sheets and bake 10 minutes. Flip slices and bake 10 minutes more, until crisp and dry.  Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely


Christmas Meltaways

Christmas Meltaways 2

Cornstarch and powdered sugar help to make these bite-sized cookies melt in your mouth. These tiny cookies are quick to make and not too sweet. They are a nice addition to your holiday baking.

Of course these cookies can be made any time of the year. Just use different colored nonpareils.

Nonpareils

Christmas Meltaways

1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 sticks (1 cup) butter, softened
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon Christmas nonpareils

Preheat oven to 350º.

Combine the flour, cornstarch, and salt in a small bowl. In a larger bowl, mix the butter and powdered sugar together. If your butter is soft enough, you can do this with a wooden spoon. Next, mix in the flour and cornstarch mixture. I usually lose patience with the spoon  (or mixer) and just finish mixing the dough with my hands. Knead in the nonpareils. Pinch off a small amount of dough (about a non-rounded teaspoonful) and roll into a ball. Place on a baking sheet. They are pretty small (and will only be about 1 inch in diameter when baked).

Unbaked

Bake the meltaways for 9 – 12 minutes (I like crunchy cookies, so I bake them for 12 minutes). Let cool completely.

Baked Christmas Meltaways

Makes about 6 dozen.


Trix Marshmallow Treats

Trix Marshmallow Treats

In November, I made Trix Marshmallow Treats for a bake sale at my oldest son’s school. They turned out so cute, especially when individually wrapped and tied with colorful curling ribbon. They also sold well. They are a fun and colorful variation of Rice Krispies Treats.

Trix Marshmallow Treats Wrapped 2

Trix Marshmallow Treats Wrapped (640x480)

Trix Marshmallow Treats

1 10 ounce bag mini marshmallows
1/4 cup butter
10.7 ounce box Trix cereal

Melt the marshmallows and butter together in a large sauce pan over low heat. Add the entire box of Trix and mix well. Pour into a greased 9 X 13″ pan and spread the mixture out evenly with your hands. I spray my hands with a little bit of cooking spray to help keep the mixture from sticking. Cut into squares with a sharp knife.

 

 


Benne Seed Cookies (Sesame Seed Cookies)

Benne Seed Cookies

Benne Seed Cookies have been a part of my Christmas cookie repertoire for over 15 years now. These nutty little treats are a nice change from traditional holiday cookies. Since moving to South Carolina, I have found out that Benne Seed Wafers are a Charleston, South Carolina food tradition. Slaves brought benne seeds (sesame seeds) over from Africa and they became a part of the Southern food culture. They are thought to bring good luck, which I could certainly use right now. Charleston Benne Seed Wafers are thin. I like mine a bit more substantial, more cookie-like, so I add more flour than the traditional recipes.

Sesame seeds are super nutritious. You can find them in health food stores (bulk bins), Asian (Korean) markets, or order them online from places like Penzey’s.

Benne Seed Cookies 2

Benne Seed Cookies (Sesame Seed Cookies)

1 1/2  cups flour
1 1/4 baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup sesame seeds (hulled), divided
1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350° F.

In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and 1/4 cup sesame seeds. In a larger bowl, beat the butter and brown sugar together with an electric beater until fluffy. Beat in the egg and vanilla. Gradually add the dry ingredients, mixing well.

With your hands, pull off pieces of dough and roll into 1-inch balls. Place the remaining 1/2 cup sesame seeds in a small bowl or dish. Dip the top of the dough balls in the sesame seeds.  Place the balls on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, seed side up. Space the balls about 2 inches apart in 4 rows of 3. Using the bottom of a glass, flatten the cookies a bit.

Bake the cookies in a 350° oven for 6 to 9 minutes (7 minutes is perfect for me) or until the edges just begin to turn golden. Remove the cookies from the oven and let sit on the baking sheet a few minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

These cookies keep well in an air-tight container for up to 2 weeks or in the freezer for up to 2 months.

 


Coconut Macaroons

Coconut Macaroons

This is another dangerous (in a good way) recipe because I almost always have the ingredient to make these gluten-free cookies on hand. Luckily, this makes a small batch so I don’t have to feel guilty about baking cookies.

Coconut Macaroons (2)

Coconut Macaroons

1 1/2 cup sweetened flaked coconut
2 large egg whites
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.

Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray. Set aside.

Combine ingredients in a bowl with a wooden spoon. Drop by tablespoons onto prepared baking sheet. Bake at 300 degrees F. for 15 to 20 minutes or until tops are golden brown.

Variation: Add 1/8 to 1/4 cup of dried cranberries (or similar dried fruit) to the ingredients before baking.

Coconut Macaroons with Dried Cranberries (640x480)


Apricot and Pistachio Biscotti

Apricot and Pistachio Biscotti

I made a batch of these apricot and pistachio biscotti the other night. When they were cooled, I packaged most of them in clear bags (about 5 or 6 per bag) and tied the bags with pretty ribbon. I like to have cookies ready to give as gifts around the holidays. I took the bags of biscotti with me to my appointments today. They were perfect little gifts for my chiropractor and hair stylist.

Apricot & Pistachio Biscotti

Apricot and Pistachio Biscotti

2 cups of flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons butter (1/2 a stick), softened
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 cup dried apricots, finely chopped
1 cup shelled pistachios, chopped

Preheat oven to 350° F. Line two baking sheets with  foil (or parchment paper) and coat with cooking spray.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl. Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat butter with electric mixer until fluffy.  Beat in sugar and eggs, adding eggs one at a time.  Add flour mixture on low, beating just until blended.  Stir in apricots and pistachios.

Divide dough in half.  With lightly floured hands, shape each half into a slightly flattened log measuring 12″ X 2″ on each lined baking sheet  Bake 25 to 30, or until toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean.  Remove from oven and cool slightly.

With a serrated knife, cut each log into 1/3″ to 1/2″ thick slices.  Lay slices on baking sheets and bake 10 minutes. Flip slices and bake 10 minutes more, until crisp, dry, and golden.  Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.


Gluten-Free Peanut Butter Cookies

IMG_1109 (640x480)

This is a dangerous recipe because I almost always have all the ingredients on hand to whip up some of these wonderful gluten-free peanut butter cookies. This recipe is also so easy and fairly quick to make. My boys love these cookies too.

Gluten-Free Peanut Butter Cookies

3/4 cup sugar (white or brown)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup creamy peanut butter (about half a 16 ounce jar)
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large bowl, mix the sugar, baking soda, and  peanut butter together by hand or with a mixer. Add the egg and vanilla and blend well.

Take 1 tablespoon of dough and roll into a ball. Place balls of dough on a cookie sheet about 2 inches apart (I put 12 cookies on each baking sheet). Using the tines of a fork, press down lightly to make a crosshatch design on top of each cookie.

Bake the cookies at 350 degrees for 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove the cookies from the oven and allow to cool on the baking sheet a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Makes about 3 dozen.