Last Christmas post, that is. Not the cheesy synth-song that's been covered by every pop star for the past twenty years. Yes, I know we're well in to the new year, but I couldn't post about these biscotti until the last of them reached their final destination. You see, I made several batches of these to give as Christmas gifts to Dan's co-workers and a few friends who had done us enormous favors this year. We also sent an almond-anise batch (not pictured) to Dan's parents for Armenian Little Christmas (Epiphany).
I don't know why I started making biscotti - I think it was because they charge so much for them in coffee shops and gourmet stores, but they just didn't seem that difficult to make. And - surprise! - they aren't. They are simple cookies, and yes, they are twice-baked, but it's one extra step and not so bad. I made my first batch of biscotti a few years ago and was instantly hooked. Now baking biscotti is a part of my annual Christmas preparations.
I dipped the chocolate-peppermint biscotti in white chocolate and crushed Starlight mints. The other kind is orange-almond, dipped in dark chocolate. Both were delicious, although very, very rich. We left some plain for ourselves. I almost like the plain ones better, since you can get away with having one at breakfast, but it's nice to go decadent for gifts.
Biscotti for Dan's co-workers, Mike and Michael (aka "The Mikes"), went in brown paper bags that I decorated with a silver Sharpie. I also doctored up some plain address label stickers to indicate what lay within. I had fun coming up with different design motifs. I don't doodle enough anymore.
The ones for friends were wrapped in parchment paper, tied with twine, and decked with hand-drawn labels. The labels would not stick to the parchment paper, so I had to bust out my trusty dollar-store glue gun to attach them.
When I first started baking biscotti, I must have tried eighteen or twenty different recipes. This one was by far the best. I use this as a jumping-off point for all biscotti, changing the flavorings as necessary. One other change: instead of brandy, I've always used Captain Morgan spiced rum. It just happened to be what I had on hand the first time I tried this recipe, and it's so perfect I can't imagine using anything else. Although if you really want to taste something amazing, try a little of the raw biscotti dough. Cookie dough + liquor = so divine it must be sinful!
I leave you with one last glamor shot and an exhoration to give these a try. Once you do, you'll scoff at ever paying $3.00 for a coffee-shop compressed-sawdust version again.