Twelve Days of Christmas: Biscotti for Santa

Chocolate dipping is not optional

Chocolate dipping is not optional

Because Santa really likes biscotti and we hear he’s a sucker for chocolate too. A special thanks to Bits And Breadcrumbs for putting us in the chocolate biscotti mode with this recipe that includes ginger and chocolate.

 

Almond Biscotti

  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 cups sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 6 ounces almonds, toasted
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 2 ounces dark chocolate

Preheat oven to 375. Spread almonds on a cookie sheet in a single layer and put in oven until starting to crackle, or 8-10 minutes. In a large bowl, mix flour, salt, baking powder and sugar. Create a well in the center. Add eggs, honey and almond extract. Stir until incorporated. Drop dough onto greased baking sheet in two even logs, about two inches wide and 10-12 inches long. Bake until golden and firm. Let cool for 10 minutes. Lower heat to 325. Once biscotti has cooled slightly cut them at a diagonal in roughly 1/2 inch slices. Stand upright on baking sheet and return to oven. Cook for 10 minutes longer. If desired melt dark chocolate on the stovetop and dip one end of each cookie in warm chocolate. Place on parchment paper to dry.

Guess which is the chocolate recipe

Guess which is the chocolate recipe?

Triple Chocolate Biscotti

  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 cups sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup cocoa
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375. In a large bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and cocoa. Create a well in the center. Add eggs, honey and almond extract. Stir until incorporated. Mix in chocolate chips. Drop dough onto greased baking sheet in two even logs, about two inches wide and 10-12 inches long. Bake until firm, about 15 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes. Lower heat to 325. Once biscotti has cooled slightly cut them at a diagonal in roughly 1/2 inch slices. Stand upright on baking sheet and return to oven. Cook for 10 minutes longer. If desired melt dark chocolate on the stovetop and dip one end of each cookie in warm chocolate. Place on parchment paper to dry.

 

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Twelve Days of Christmas: Coquito

Like icecream

Like ice cream

This is a Christmas tradition in Puerto Rico and Cuba and we think it will be in our rotation for years to come too. This is better than your standard eggnog and we happen to really love eggnog. (At least one of us does.) A number of recipes call for white rum, but we thought a nice spiced rum was more in the spirit of Christmas.  Make sure to buy cream of coconut, which may be a bit trickier to find. Here’s the brand we used.

Coquito

  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 12-oz can evaporated milk
  • 1 14-oz can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 14 to 16.9 oz container of cream of coconut
  • 1 cup spiced rum
  • roughly 14-oz coconut milk (We’ve found the ounces vary slightly)
  • pinch mace
  • pinch salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

Fill the bottom half of a double boiler with water and set over medium heat. Once water is simmering, whisk egg yolks and evaporated milk in top half of double boiler and set over simmering water. Stir constantly, removing from heat once mixture reaches 160 degrees. Set aside and add remaining ingredients to a blender. Blend until combined. Combine the egg mix and coconut mix and blend. You may need to pour some of the coconut mix into a glass container to fit he egg mix, just stir everything together at the end and you’ll be fine. Refrigerate overnight in a glass container. Serve with cinnamon sprinkled on top.

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Twelve Days of Christmas: Sugared Cranberries and Christmas Cranberry and Vodka Tonics

Also know as Rudolph noses

Also known as Rudolph noses

These little jewels are tasty on their own, but also a great garnish for drinks and a wonderful addition to scones. To make them even prettier, roll them in superfine not regular sugar. (We’re still working on a 25-pound bag of regular sugar someone picked up on clearance over the summer so we skipped that step.) This recipe is adapted from one from Whole Foods.

Sugared Cranberries

  • 3 cups sugar
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 whole star anise
  • 1/2 nutmeg pod
  • 6-10 whole cloves
  • 3 cups water
  • 3 cups fresh cranberries, rinsed
  • 1 cup regular or superfine sugar

Mix three cups of sugar, cinnamon sticks, nutmeg, anise and cloves with water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Simmer for a minute, stirring until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and pour into a bowl. Stir in cranberries. Cover and refrigerate overnight and up to two days. Drain cranberries reserving liquid for holiday drinks. (Strain out the spices.) Place superfine or regular sugar in a bowl and gently toss in cranberries, coating evenly. Place berries on a baking sheet to dry, about two hours. Store in an airtight container for one to two days.

So festive and fun

So festive and fun

Christmas Cranberry and Vodka Tonics

  • 1 1/2 oz cranberry simple syrup (leftover from sugared cranberries)
  • 1 1/2 oz vodka
  • 1 1/2 oz cranberry juice
  • squeeze of lime juice (optional)
  • tonic water
  • sugared cranberries for garnish

Throw a few ice cubes in a Collins glass. Pour in simple syrup, vodka and juice. Stir. Top with tonic water and a squeeze of lime. Garnish with a few sugared cranberries.

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Twelve Days of Christmas: Peppermint Hot Chocolate

Add any number of liquors for extra adult fun

Add any number of liquors for extra adult fun

Hot chocolate shouldn’t taste like warm chocolate-flavored milk. It should be all about the chocolate — thick, rich chocolate. This drink is super indulgent, super chocolatey and super creamy. It’s not for the weak of heart. If you must, increase the milk. Or just pour yourself an espresso cup full and sip slowly.

Peppermint Hot Chocolate 

  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 crushed peppermint (we used a coffee grinder
  • 1 cup dark chocolate, chopped
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder

Over medium-low heat melt chocolate with peppermint, stirring often. Don’t allow the mix to boil. Whisk in the cream and cocoa powder. Pour in the milk and bring to heat without allowing to boil. Whisk constantly to break up any peppermint bits. Serve warm.

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Twelve Days of Christmas: Figgy Pudding

Now it just needs the glaze

Now it just needs the glaze

This is an involved pudding and does require some special equipment. It is a pretty simple thing to make though, just time-consuming. The recipe below is adapted from The Essential Dessert Cookbook.

Figgy Pudding

  • 1 cup dried figs chopped fine
  • 1 cup dried dates chopped fine
  • 1/4 cup candied ginger chopped fine
  • 2 tbsp cognac
  • 2 cups sifted flour
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder sifted
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 3 cups dried bread crumbs
  • 10 tbsp melted butter
  • 3 beaten eggs
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 tsp orange zest

Mix dried fruit and cognac together in a bowl and let stand overnight. Mix sifted flour, baking soda , salt, breadcrumbs and brown sugar together. Add everything else and mix well. The mix should resemble thick cookie dough when done.

Now here is how to cook it.

Starting equipment

I see the Evil Empire is lurking about

You will need a 7-8 cup souffle pan, a pan that will hold a trivet, the souffle dish and a lid, parchment paper, foil, bakers twine and a ton of butter.

The steaming pan needs to be just big enough to hold the souffle dish with water around it and a trivet to hold it off the bottom of the pan and covered with a tight lid. I used a four-quart All Clad that I had lying around and a Star Wars pancake mold for the trivet.

Butter butter butter

Butter butter butter

Grease the inside of the souffle dish with butter. Cut a circle of parchment paper to fit inside the base and grease it with butter on both sides before placing it.

More butter

More butter

Cut a large square of tin foil and an equal sized piece of parchment paper. Use butter to hold the foil to the paper and grease the parchment on both sides.

A simple seam

A simple seam

Fold a seam down the center of the papers for expansion.

Pack it in

Pack it in

Press the pudding into the greased souffle dish and push out all the air bubbles.

Very tightly

Very tightly

Place the foil on top. Do not press it into the pudding. Tie it tightly with bakers twine.

A homemade handle

A homemade handle

Tie a double piece across to use as a lifting handle.

Now boil

Now boil

Now place the trivet in the pan and fill it with water to come half way up the pudding bowl. Bring to a boil, then lower to simmer and place the pudding in. Cover with a lid and steam for four hours or until done. (A knife inserted in the center should come out clean.) Add more boiling water as the level decreases depending on how tight the lid sits and how quickly the water evaporates.

That is a good sauce

That is a good sauce

Brandy Glaze

  • 1/4 cup cornmeal
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1/3 cup brandy

Mix cornmeal and sugar and gradually add milk until smooth and creamy. Add remaining milk and bring to a simmer over medium low heat. When it begins to thicken stir in butter and brandy. Continue to thicken slightly and serve.

 

 

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Twelve Days of Christmas: Espresso Bark

This is stupid easy

This is stupid easy

This is a great addition to any holiday dessert bar and it’s super easy to make. Feel free to swap out the topping with crushed peppermint, candied nuts or whatever else strikes your fancy. While this is simple to make, have all your equipment and baking sheet ready to go. And remember to keep the water at no more than a simmer to keep from burning the chocolate. We used Ghiradelli chocolate chips. If your bag is a little smaller or bigger than the size below you’ll be fine. Just make sure to use roughly the same amount of white and bittersweet chocolate.

Espresso Bark

  • 11 oz bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 11 oz white chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup coarsely ground espresso beans
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon sugar

Line a baking sheet with parchment and have a rubber spatula and icing knife handy. Mix the cinnamon sugar and espresso beans in a small bowl. Set aside. Set the bottom half of a double boiler over medium-low heat and bring water to a simmer. Put white chips in a metal bowl large enough to set over the pan. Put dark chips in the top half of the double boiler. Set over the simmering water. Melt chocolate stirring often. Once just melted pour the chocolate onto the prepared baking sheet and smooth into one even layer with icing knife. Clean the knife once done and set white chocolate over the simmering water. Melt chocolate stirring often. Once melted, pour over the bittersweet chocolate. Smooth into one layer with icing knife. If you have some bleed through don’t worry. Sprinkle the espresso bean mix in an even layer over the top. Refrigerate for 1-3 hours. Once hardened break into pieces and store in a tin in the refrigerator.

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Twelve Days of Christmas: The Bishop

The angel of the horizon is shaky captain

The angle of the horizon is shaky captain

This drink was super popular back when Dickens was dreaming up Scrooge. We’re not sure why it fell out of favor. Maybe Ebenezer stole all the oranges and hid all the cloves. Anyway not only is this drink delicious, it makes the house smell wonderful.

The Bishop

  • 1 750-milliliter bottle of port
  • 2 small oranges
  • about 20 whole cloves

Stud the oranges with cloves and roast at 375 degrees until brown. Let cool slightly, the quarter. A serrated knife will help you cut through the skins better. Place the studded orange slices in a pot big enough to hold the port. Pour in the port and bring to a simmer over low heat.

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