Just 10 days left to shop for the holidays. Have you gotten everything on your list? If not, you’re not alone. I still have a present or two left to get, and of course, because I’m the worst gift giver on Earth, I have absolutely no idea what to buy. Once again, I’ve searched the stores for the perfect gift, only to come out empty handed. It’s not that I haven’t seen some great stuff. I have! And I’ve thought of a ton of great ideas! They’re just not right for anyone on my list. How have I known these people for years, and some my whole life, and still can’t think of a single thing they like? And why don't they like anything I think of?
There’s one gift idea that I can’t get out of my head. We have this beautiful box of 6 sampler Starbucks coffees at work. Nicely packaged and reasonably priced, throw in a nice mug or travel cup, and it’d make the perfect gift for the coffee lover. Too bad the only person on my list that even drinks coffee is my dad. And I'm pretty sure he doesn't like Starbucks. But I still think it's a great idea! So I’m throwing the idea out to you guys. For all of you who still need that last minute Secret Santa office party gift, or just looking for a nice present for someone on your list, why not put together a nice coffee or tea lovers’ gift basket. Bake up some biscotti to go with it as a snack, and you’ve got yourself the perfect gift!
This was my first time making biscotti, but I have a feeling I’ll be making much more of it in the future. It’s actually really easy, and totally versatile. I made Cinnamon Sugar, but you can substitute and throw in just about anything you want. Like nuts? Throw in some almonds, walnuts, or pistachios. Add in some dried cranberries, cherries, or other fruit. Mix in chocolate chips. Experiment with extracts. The possibilities are endless! So bake some, package them up, and start handing them out to everyone on your list.
Adapted from Joy the Baker and Epicurious.com
Makes 30 cookies
2 cups all purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup granulated sugar
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 large egg
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 large egg, beaten (for brushing)
1. Preheat oven to 325F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats; set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add whole egg, followed by egg yolk, beating until combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add vanilla extract. Add flour mixture, beating until ingredients come together to form a slightly stiff dough (holds together when pressed between your fingers and isn’t too sticky).
4. Divide dough between the two baking sheets. Shape each half of dough into a log that measures 9-inches long and 1 ½ inches wide. Press dough down to flatten slightly.
5. In a small bowl mix together cinnamon and sugar for topping. Brush each dough log with the beaten egg and sprinkle generously with cinnamon sugar. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, rotating halfway through, until biscotti is golden and firm to the touch.
6. Remove from oven, but keep oven on. Let baking sheets cool on wire racks until biscotti is cool enough to handle. With a serrated knife, cut logs into ½-inch wide diagonal slices. Place biscotti cut side down on baking sheets and sprinkle with more cinnamon sugar. Place back in oven and bake again until pale golden, about 10 to 15 minutes.