Whenever we’re invited to Christmas parties, I try to bring something sweet, homemade, and chocolate. On Christmas day, I also prefer to serve a medley of Christmas cookies with coffee, instead of one single dessert after the big feast. I spent this past weekend frolicking with my family, attending holiday parties, and making four of my absolute favorite cookies to give and share. Here are two of those cookies I make that are sure to please any chocolate lover on your list !
Chocolate Dipped Handmade Biscotti
and Chocolate Wafers with Peppermint Buttercream Filling
I used to be completely intimidated by biscotti recipes, but it really is so unbelievably easy to make. You can always mix in dried fruits or nuts like cranberries or almonds or pistachios into the mix to add your own flavor. And they always taste better than store bought because they’re so fresh.
Plain Biscotti Ingredients
2 cups flour
2/3 cup sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3 tbsp butter
1 tbsp anise seeds (optional)
Chocolate Dip Ingredients
Baker’s Semi Sweet or Unsweetened Chocolate – 6 squares (I use 4 semi and 2 unsweetened)
Chopped pistachios, almonds or hazelnuts (optional)
Mix all dry ingredients with a fork. Add eggs and butter then blend for two minutes in a mixer or until crumbly like this.
Spray cooking oil on your hands and form rectangular loaf on parchment paper.
Bake for 25 minutes at 350 degrees until golden brown. Remove from oven and cool 15 minutes.
Slice your biscotti loaf in 1/2 inch slices, layer on parchment paper, and bake again for 8 minutes for more chewy biscotti, 10 minutes for firm biscotti.
Melt your Baker’s Chocolate in the microwave on medium for 90 seconds, stirring once in between. Do not over microwave or you risk scorching your chocolate. I use 4 squares of semi-sweet and 2 squares of unsweetened chocolate to get the perfect dark chocolate flavor – not too bitter, not too sweet. Mmmm mmm, just right. Yum.
Dip your biscotti slices in your melted chocolate.
Optional step: Dip in chopped nuts. I used hazelnuts this time, but I’ve also used almonds in the past.
Layer on parchment paper and allow to dry for one hour.
Store in airtight container for two weeks, or package up in a beautiful wrap with a homemade tag for a totally incredible handmade gift.
My next favorite recipe is for Chocolate Candy Cane Cookies with Peppermint Buttercream and it comes right out of my tattered Bon Appétit from December 2005. These taste so good with a cup of coffee! Kids love them too. I’ve made them every year since 2005.
Bon Appétit gives you the recipe for homemade chocolate cookies, available online right here. When pressed for time, like this year, I follow Sandra Lee’s semi-homemade philosophy, and use Nabisco’s Chocolate Wafers – they work just as well and save a ton of time.
Peppermint Filling & Coating
1 cup plus two tbsp powdered sugar
3/4 cup unsalted butter
3/4 tsp peppermint extract
Crushed peppermint candies or candy canes
To make the peppermint coating, gather candy canes or peppermint candies into a plastic bag and have at it with a mallet or rolling pin.
Mix sugar, butter and extract in a mixer until well blended. Spread evenly to the edges on top of chocolate cookies or wafers, press two together, then roll in your candy coating mixture.
So easy and so Christmassy delicious ! Pretty too. In a clear cellophane bag tied up with a red ribbon, these also make a marvelous hostess or cookie exchange gift !
I hope you had a delightful weekend as well. Happy baking, chocolate lovers !