Gingerbread Biscotti – Dipped in Chocolate

Chocolate-dipped gingerbread biscotti

Chocolate-dipped gingerbread biscotti

Biscotti, those twice-baked Italian cookies, have been on my must-make-for-Christmas-list for the past few years.  The Holidays wouldn’t be the same without them.  I have made a variety of flavors over the years, some of them we really loved, others were just so-so.  Some kind of biscotti always ends up in the cookie-gifts I put together for friends and family.  This particular recipe is one of our very favorites, and becomes a favorite of everyone who has it.  I either get asked for the recipe, or “are you making those spicy biscotti cookies this year?”  The answer is Yes, Yes,Yes.

These cookies are just great as a light dessert,  with a cup of coffee,  on a dessert buffet, or for a cookie swap.   I can’t imagine anytime when they wouldn’t be welcome, and not just for the Holidays.  They can be made and enjoyed any time of the year.  Dipping them in chocolate may be omitted, but the combination of gingerbread and chocolate is so good and a little decadent!   I’ve even gone so far as to sprinkle the chocolate end with finely ground nuts or decorative sugar while the chocolate is still moist.

CHOCOLATE-DIPPED GINGERBREAD BISCOTTI

YIELD:   Makes about 2 1/2 dozen biscotti

INGREDIENTS

Molasses, spices and ginger are the essentials for these cookies.

Molasses, spices and ginger are the essentials for these cookies.

  • 3/4 cup crystalized ginger, chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup light molasses
  • 2  3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1  1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2/3 cup ( 4 ounces ) chopped bittersweet chocolate, or chocolate chips

DIRECTIONS

1.    In a large bowl, whisk together the the spices and the sugars.  Sift in the flour and baking powder, and whisk to blend well.

2.    In a large mixer bowl, beat the butter until light and creamy.  Beat in the eggs, 1 at a time, followed by the molasses, until the mixture is smooth.

3.    Add the flour/spice mixture and mix to blend.  Add in the chopped ginger.  The dough will be thick and slightly sticky.  You may need to stir in the last of the flour and the ginger.

Cover the dough and chill for at least as hour.

Cover the dough and chill for 2 – 3 hours.

4.   Divide the dough in half, wrap each half in wax paper or plastic wrap, and chill for 2 to 3 hours.  (When tightly sealed, the dough will keep for up to 1 week in the refrigerator.)

5.   Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Grease a baking sheet, or line with parchment paper, set aside.

6.   With lightly floured hands, shape each portion of dough into a loaf about 1/2 inch thick, 2 inches wide, and 12 to 14 inches long.

Shape the dough into two long loaves with your hands.

Shape the dough into two long loaves with your hands.

Place the loaves on the prepared sheet at least 2 inches apart.   Bake until the loaves are completely set and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean—-about 25 minutes.    Do not turn off the oven.

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7.    Place the baking sheet on a wire rack and let the loaves cool on the sheet for 5 minutes.  With a serrated knife, firmly cut each loaf on the diagonal into slices 1/2 inch thick.

Cut each loaf crowd-wise into slices.

Cut each loaf crowd-wise into slices.

Place the slices upright on the baking sheet and return to the oven for 10 minutes, or longer if you like a crisper cookie.   Remove the biscotti from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

8.    Melt the chocolate in a heat-proof bowl over boiling water or in the micro-wave.  Dip one end of each cookie into the chocolate, and using a knife or spatula, smooth as needed.  Do not dip more than half of each cookie.  Set the cookies upright on a wire rack until the chocolate has set.

After dipping stand the cookies upright to allow the chocolate to firm up.

After dipping stand the cookies upright to allow the chocolate to firm up.

Cookies may be stored in an airtight container, separated by wax or parchment paper between the layers.

Biscotti are always good with coffee or a glass of wine.

Biscotti are always good with coffee or a glass of wine.

Nutrition summary:  per cookie:  135 calories, 4 g. fat, 1 g. fiber, 21 mg. cholesterol, 33 mg sodium.

SOURCE:   Martha Stewart,  Gifts From Your Kitchen

Continuing the Baking Traditions

Scandinavian Kringla Cookies

Scandinavian Kringla Cookies

As we now count down the weeks and days until Christmas, I will be doing a lot of baking.  It seems as though every weekend brings some event that I will be bringing baked goods to.  The first of these takes place  this weekend at our church where we will be having a “Christmas Cookie Walk”.  This has become an annual tradition where many of the women of the church bake cookies and package  them in half dozen amounts, attractively and creatively presented.  The townspeople look forward to this event and come in “droves” to purchase our home baked bars and cookies.

Baking cookies for the Holidays has been going on in my family for a long time.  For me, baking the same recipes that my mother and grandmother baked is a connection to the past, and like me my daughter also bakes some of these same recipes.  So we are carrying on those same baking traditions.

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I am making two kinds of cookies for our “Cookie Walk”.  One is an old Scandinavian recipe called Kringla that I am happy to share with you today.  The other is a Red Velvet Crinkle cookie.  I will be telling you about that one in my next post.

Kringla is a somewhat plain, not too sweet cookie with a mild anise flavor, made from a dough made tender by the addition of sour cream, and a little butter.  The dough is easy to work with in forming the “ropes” that you shape into the cookie.  Initially, after mixing , the dough is somewhat sticky, but I let it chill for about an hour, and then find it smooth and shapeable. Kids will like forming loops and twists with this easy to handle dough. Because they are pale in color, using decorative sugar to decorate them gives them a festive appearance.  A cup of hot coffee or a glass of cold milk is a must when enjoying Kringla.

KRINGLA

YIELD:   Makes about 48 cookies

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3  3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder

    Anise is available as either crushed or whole seeds,or as an extract.

    Anise is available as either crushed or whole seeds,or as an extract.

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 Tablespoon water
  • 3 egg yolks, slightly beaten
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 Tablespoon butter, melted
  • 1/4 teaspoon anise extract, or  1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • coarse or fine decorating sugar

1.  In a medium bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

2.  In a small bowl or cup lightly whisk together the egg white and water, set aside.

3.  In a large bowl, beat together the egg yolks, sugar, milk, sour cream, melted butter and anise extract, (or vanilla)

Cream together the sugar, egg, butter, sour cream, and anise extract

Cream together the sugar, egg, butter, sour cream, and anise extract

4.  Using a wooden spoon stir in the flour mixture until combined.  The dough will be stiff and sticky.  Cover the dough and  chill for about an hour.

5.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly grease 2-3 cookie sheets or line with parchment paper.

6.  On a well floured surface, drop about 1 tablespoon of dough. Roll dough into a 5- or 8-inch long rope.

Roll small balls of dough into ropes either 5 inches or 8 inches long.

Roll small balls of dough into ropes either 5 inches or 8 inches long.

On the prepared cookie sheet, shape a 5-inch rope into a ring, crossing it over itself about 1 inch from ends.

Form dough into a circle and cross the ends.

Form dough into a circle and cross the ends.

Or fold an 8-inch rope in half and twist three times; seal ends with egg white mixture.

Fold dough in half and twist three times.

Fold dough in half and twist three times.

Repeat with the remaining dough, placing shapes 2-inches apart on the cookie sheets.

7.  Brush cookies with egg white mixture, and sprinkle with decorating sugar.

Brush with egg white and decorate with sugar.

Brush with egg white and decorate with sugar.

8.  Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until bottoms are a light golden brown.  Transfer to a wire rack and cool.

Baked and cooling on a wire rack.

Baked and cooling on a wire rack.

Enjoy Kringla with a cup of coffee or a glass of cold milk.

Enjoy Kringla with a cup of coffee or a glass of cold milk.

To bake ahead and store: After baking, place cookies in layers separated by waxed paper in an airtight container.  Store in a cool area.  They may also be frozen for up to 3 months.

SOURCE;   My Mom’s recipe box.