After a frantic week of possibly selling our house, and possibly not having sold it after all (we still don't know), preparing for an open house that was planned before all the hectic set in, I tried to calm myself with baking. It always does the trick, plus, there's the added bonus of a lovely smelling house :o).
Again, my inspiration came from the Fine Cooking forum, and, of the Fine Cooking magazines. I found a biscotti recipe that called for apricots and lots of ginger, and knew I would make my mom pretty happy with those, so I decided to give it a try. Let's just say Silvana inspired biscotti baking (thanks Silvana, and I'm trying your macadamia nut biscotti soon!)
The recipe is out of FC 75, the cookies are called gingerbread biscotti.
10 oz (2 1/4 c) AP flour
1 1/4 c packed dark brown sugar
2 tsp ground ginger
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp nutmeg (I used cloves, I hate nutmeg)
1/4 tsp baking soda
4 oz (1 c)pecans coarsely chopped
4 oz dried apricots (1/2 c) coarsely chopped
1/4 c molasses
2 large eggs
2 tsp finely grated orange zest.
Position rack in middle of oven and preheat to 350. Line a large cookie sheet with parchment. In a stand mixer with paddle attachment, combine floour, brown sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg, salt, ginger and mix to combine. On low speed, briefly mix in pecans and apricots.
In a measuring cup, mix eggs, molasses and orange zest. With mixer on low, slowly pour in egg mixture. Mix until well blended and dough comes together in moist clumps, 1-2 minutes. Divide dough in two equal piles and shape into 10 by 1 1/2 inches logs. Shape with floured or slightly wet hands (dough is sticky). Position logs 4 inches apart and bake 30 - 35 minutes. Let cool on rack until cool enough to handle, about 10 minutes. Slice with serrated knife into diagonal slices, 3/4 inches wide. Bake another 10-20 minutes on baking sheet, to desired dryness. Store in airtight containers after cookies have completey cooled.
My notes: the second bake I only baked them for 10 minutes, yet they are quite crunchy. Seeing the recipe has no butter, I think they'll end up bone dry no matter what. The flavor is excellent though. A really wintery, spicey cookie. I think that dipping in bittersweet chocolate would be a nice addition, but they are good without as well.
Next up were the dark chocolate crackle cookies, out of the latest FC issue (I can assure you this recipe is worth the prices of the magazine all by itsself).
The recipe calls for cocoa, melted chocolate, and chocolate chips and adds orange zest for some extra flavor and interest. The end result is a deeply chocolatey cookie, with a hint of orange. This is definately on my list of new favorites (I'm so psyched to have discovered so many of those since starting this blog!). Karen told me she used espresso instead of the orange, and I'm trying that the next time I'm making them, as I know it will be a fantastic flavor combination. So without much more ado, here are the cookies, dressed up for festive occasions :o).
I bet these would make a great Christmas gift!
Hopefully, in the next week we'll learn more about the house selling or not, so until then, please send some house-selling vibes our way!!