I was into fruit this holiday season, which is odd for me, because I am usually more of a decadent chocolate and butter and cream kind of girl. However, this holiday's baking really focused on fruit and fruit flavors. For one, there was pear pound cake. Then there were these orange chocolate biscotti, which are my new favorite treat for the cookie exchange (of which I attended none this year, but I know there will be cookie exchanges in the future).
I think biscotti are a kind treat to give as a gift, because in addition to being an edible treat, they also suggest afternoon tea with friends or after dinner coffee after a nice meal at home. So, the gift of cookies really becomes the gift of time with friends and family, or a gift of time alone for some quiet reflection over a warming mug of coffee. And when this gift wafts the bright, sweet scent of orange and the bitter, sweet scent of chocolate, well there is no gift better than that.
I should have posted this earlier so you would have had time to bake these up for teacher's gifts and the cookie exchange and hostess gifts at the holiday soirees, however I was tardy with the post. I guess I was too busy handing out mason jars stuffed with homemade biscotti. But at least you still have time to bake them for Christmas morning, if you hurry, and if you have a well stocked pantry or the grocery store is open late. A nice chocolate orange biscotti, a hot cup of coffee, and a full stocking from Santa will go so well together tomorrow morning.
Merry Christmas to all!
from Bon Appetit 2003
- 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2 large eggs
- 2 tablespoons Grand Marnier or other orange liqueur
- 1 tablespoon grated orange peel
- 1 cup pecans, lightly toasted, coarsely chopped
- 6 ounces bittersweet (not unsweetened) chocolate, chopped
Line large baking sheet with parchment paper. Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt in medium bowl to blend. Using electric mixer, beat sugar and butter in large bowl to blend. Beat in eggs 1 at a time, then Grand Marnier and orange peel. Add flour mixture and beat until blended. Stir in pecans and chocolate. Gather dough together; divide in half. Wrap in plastic and freeze 20 minutes to firm.
Position rack in center of oven; preheat to 350°F. Using floured hands, form each dough piece into 14-inch-long, 2 1/2-inch-wide log. Transfer logs to prepared baking sheet, spacing 2 inches apart. Bake until light golden, about 30 minutes. Transfer parchment with logs to rack. Cool 20 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 300°F.
Place 1 log on cutting board. Using serrated knife, cut log on diagonal into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Stand slices upright on baking sheet. Repeat with remaining log.
Bake biscotti until dry to touch and pale golden, about 30 minutes. Cool completely on rack. (Can be made 1 week ahead. Store in airtight container.)