Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Baking Biscotti

One of the things I like to bake for Christmas and also for other times of the year is Biscotti. It's great for gift giving and delicious to "dunk" into your favourite coffee or tea on a snowy winter day.  I made a batch last week and alas it was supposed to last till Christmas but looks like I need to make another batch!  Oh well, they are easy to make and I have all the ingredients on hand - so no excuses.  I want to share the recipe with you so here goes (please bear with me as I do this type of posting for the first time).  By the way, I've had complaints that you are not able to leave comments on my blog so I've changed a few settings - hopefully this will work now.  If not, I'll keep working at fixing the problem cause I would so love to hear from you.  Also, my pictures are all turning out sort of yellowish? I'll work on improving my photography a bit too :).

Have a great day all.  Tomorrow is the very last day of November and Movember ..... one more sleep till there are smooth upper lips (at least for some of you).


Biscotti

I like to fill my antique Blue Ribbon Coffee jar that I got from home with these yummy twice baked cookies!
4 Eggs
2 Tbsp. liqueur (brandy, cointreau, etc.)
2 Tbsp. vanilla
4 ½ Cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. Baking Powder
½ tsp. salt
1 Cup Butter – softened
1 ½ Cups sugar
Wisk together the eggs, liqueur and vanilla.
Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.
In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar till light and fluffy.  Gradually beat in the egg mixture until thoroughly combined.  Stir in the flour mixture.  Divide cookie dough into 4 equal parts.
Add “flavours” to each individual dough, enough that there are lots of chunks (approx. ¾  to 1 Cup per dough) but not so much that the dough can’t hold together.  You can make them all the same or make 4 completely different kinds.
Suggested “flavour” combinations:
·       Pistachio, dried cranberries or cherries, white chocolate chunks and orange zest - this is the "Christmas Combo" I used
·       Orange zest, cinnamon, dried cranberries and toasted pecans
·       White and dark chocolate chunks with espresso beans and toasted whole almonds
·       Candied ginger, dried mango, toasted coconut and toasted macadamia nuts, white chocolate chunks and lime zest (this is my favourite and I sometimes use toasted almonds instead of macadamia nuts)
·       Any delicious combination that appeals to your taste buds – think some nuts, some citrus zest, some chocolate, and some dried fruit (approx. 4 Cups in total).

On two parchment lined baking sheets, shape the dough with flavours into 4 (12” X 2 1/2”) logs.  Place them 4 inches apart and bake at 325 degrees for 30 minutes or until firm and golden.  Let cool on baking sheet for 15 minutes.  






 Transfer baked rolls to a cutting board and slice diagonally into ½ inch thick slices using a serrated knife. 


Lay cookies flat on baking sheets and bake again for 25 minutes until golden brown on both sides (turn once during baking).

Biscotti can be dipped into melted dark or white chocolate if desired.  Try dipping them into white chocolate and sprinkle with crushed candy canes for a more "Christmasy" flavour!  This recipe makes approx. 5 doz. cookies.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Decoration Favourites.....

Its "Hockey Night in Canada" and I have just finished doing most of my decorating. Between now and Christmas I'll probably add a few more things and tweek this and that a bit. One of the first things I set up each year is our little German "smoker" that friends sent us from Germany some 30 years ago. It's one of my favourite decorations. The sweet grass scented burning tip smouldered from his pipe and made the whole house smell wonderful while I set up the tree and decorated the mantel.


Another one of my favourite decorations is my kitchen window sill "icy crown jars" candle holders. I have quite a few of my mothers old crown canning jars and they seem to find many uses other than canning! For Christmas I lightly stuff them with crinkly clear wrap (saved from one or two flower arrangements received throughout the year - if I'm so lucky). Then fill the jars with water - they now look like they are filled with ice.  Put the zinc jar rings on upside down and place the glass sealer into the ring on top of the jar, creating a little holder for a tealite candle.  I once decorated the zinc rings with some ribbon and have saved these from year to year.


Today we received some wonderful news that our friends Stew and Karen became Grandparents for the first time!!  So exciting for them.  Their little grandson picked some wonderful grandparents for sure!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

4 weeks till.....

It's 4 short weeks till Christmas eve - EEK!  I am not a fan of Winter but I DO love the Christmas Season.  I never seem to be quite ready for it, however, and am always scrambling at the last minute.  Outside decorating (i.e. window boxes etc.) is done.  Hubby still needs to put up the flood lights.  No decorating done inside as yet.  I like to do this when I have a whole day to work at it - I put on the Christmas music, have the Nuts 'n Bolts baking, and do some thorough cleaning as I go along.  Over the years I've started keeping things a little simpler - less is more in my opinion.  I even put up an artificial tree (I know that's a bit lame but it's just easier).  Tonight I went grocery shopping and started stocking up on baking needs.  I love Christmas baking.  Our favourite things are Nuts 'n Bolts, Caramel Popcorn, Mini Cherry Cheese Tarts, Peanut Butter squares, short bread cookies, Biscotti (done), Breton Brittle Bars, Nanimo Bars, etc.  It's also a time when our favourite appetizer recipes are pulled and made.  I will try to post some of these recipes over the next few weeks.

Happy Thanksgiving to my American Friends.  Hope you had a wonderful day today!

All for now....


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

60's here I come.

Today is my beautiful daughter's 28th birthday and I'll be 60 in a couple of months weeks (did I say that out loud!!).  I hope to live this stage in my life gracefully and happily.  It's time to sit up straight, to stop and smell the roses, to have coffee with a friend, to travel and to enjoy the simple things in life!  It's going to be a wonderful year as there are wedding plans in the works!  I have chosen to start this blog to help me on this journey called life.  I hope to share bits and pieces of my everyday life as a wife, mother, sister, aunt and daughter, some of my favourite recipes, hobbies, and travel adventures.  Stay tuned as I try to figure out how to do this blogging thing.  There's no turning back now..........  Hugs!