If your family is anything like mine - you have your fair share of holiday traditions. My family specializes in food-centered Christmas traditions - I think its our Italian genes. 🇮🇹😅I mean, is it really Christmas if we don't roast chestnuts or make homemade tiramisu or eat 7 fishes on Christmas eve? I also feel like every year we add to our list of special meals, festive drinks and stockpile of sweets that we need to consume in order to properly celebrate the season. 🤣🍝🌰
We always have biscotti on our Christmas menu and my way of shaking up our family traditions is to add a fun new biscotti flavor to our breakfast table. (Life on the wild side.😂) This year, I'm introducing my family to Nutella biscotti. 🤞🏻I feel like it's a safe bet though- who doesn't love a chocolatey hazelnut spread?
2 ¼ cups all purpose flour
2 tablespoons baking cocoa
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon sea salt
3 large eggs
1 cup sugar
½ cup nutella
½ cup chocolate chips
½ cup hazelnuts, chopped
Place flat side down on baking sheet and bake 10 minutes. Flip and bake another 10 minutes.
These biscotti are safely tucked away in the freezer for an official unveiling on Christmas Eve. 🤫Now that the cats out of the bag - I'm kindly asking all family members to NOT look through the freezer in search of a sample the Nutella biscotti. 😂
Who says that all gingerbread needs to be in a masculine form? I mean - nothing against gingerbread men but as a woman - I feel discriminated against. 😅 Believe it or not, I actually have a gingerbread WOMAN cookie cutter but in the 12 years that I've been baking professionally, nobody has ever requested a gingerbread cookie in a feminine form. 🤷🏻♀️ 🤣
Our family has an annual gingerbread house decorating contest every December. I'm the baker, the architect and construction crew and everyone else jumps in for the decorating. 😉I typically gather up the leftover scraps from the houses and cut out gingerbread men to snack on while we build.
The cookies are delicious but the dough that I use for the houses is stiff and crispy - you know - so the houses don't collapse. So I decided to come up with a gingerbread dough that was more suited to a snacking cookie, this year. Something soft and chewy but with all the yumminess and flavor of traditional gingerbread.
Chewy Gingerbread Man Cookies
10 Tablespoons butter, softened
3/4 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup molasses
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 and 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon ground ginger
1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
Decorate with royal icing.
Gingerbread cookies are one of my favorite Christmas cookies. They make the house smell AMAZING while they're baking because they're loaded with all the best flavors of the season - cinnamon, cloves, ginger, allspice. And... they're delicious. 😋
This year, to help get me into the spirit of Christmas cookie decorating, I invited a few helpers come and spend and afternoon baking cookies with me. The enthusiasm of these young bakers was contagious. 👩🏻🍳 They were rolling, cutting, frosting and sprinkling with reckless abandon. 🤣
I haven't actually added up the exact number of cookies that I need to bake and decorate this month, because honestly, I don't think I want to know the total number. 😬I've learned that the best way for me to get all of my cookies made, is to break up the sugar cookie orders with other holiday baking. Biscotti is one of my favorite Christmas treats to make in between batches of sugar cookies.
I have 42 different biscotti recipes on my website and without question, the most requested biscotti flavor by friends, family and clients, is White Chocolate Coconut. I find this so curious because coconut is a very unpopular flavor in any other dessert. And among the chocolate family - white chocolate is the flavor that is requested the least. So it doesn't make any sense to me that White Chocolate Coconut leads the category for most requested biscotti flavor.
I have no explanation for why White Chocolate Coconut Biscotti is at the top of the list of biscotti favorites. I can assure you though, that I can't seem to make enough of it these days. That alone should be enough to inspire you to try some White Chocolate Coconut Biscotti for yourself.
White Chocolate Coconut Biscotti
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ cup unsweetened dried coconut finely shredded
½ cup butter, softened
¾ cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs room temperature
2 tablespoons water
¾ teaspoon coconut extract
½ cup mini white chocolate chips
1 cup white melting chocolate
½ cup shredded dried coconut sweetened or unsweetened
Spread over cooled biscotti and sprinkle with coconut.
Allow to set.
Tip of the day: If you need some gifts for teachers, neighbors, postal workers, etc - white chocolate coconut biscotti wrapped up with a pretty bow makes a great Christmas gift. 🎁 😉
My kitchen is so close to being finished - I can hardly contain my excitement. 😄 There are just a few little details to be finished up next week and then I can share the final reveal with all of you. As of today, I would say the kitchen is about 96.43% finished. 🤣The cabinets are loaded, the pantry is stocked and I'm back to cooking meals for my family and taking orders from all of you. 👩🏻🍳
Even though we're still a few days away from a fully finished kitchen - I'm totally enjoying this new space that I've been planning for the last 10 months. The new cabinets with soft close doors and full extension drawers are amazing. The updated lighting makes the space 100 times brighter and way more inviting. And then of course, there's this amazing, one of a kind - fit for a queen - kitchen island.
There are a LOT of elements of my new kitchen that have made cooking and baking easier but this platform drawer is by far my favorite. I'm super thankful to the people who listened to my plea and committed to making this drawer step a reality - despite the naysayers and obstacles along the way.
The minute that I had access to my (nearly complete) kitchen - I started baking. Pumpkin Butterscotch Bundtinis, Carmel Pecan Tarts, Sugar Cookies, Gingersnaps, Apple Pies and of course biscotti. It's never too early to stock up on Christmas biscotti and I think these Dark Chocolate Orange Biscotti are perfect for Thanksgiving AND Christmas.
Dark Chocolate Orange Biscotti
2 and 1/3 cups flour
1 cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
zest from 1 orange
1/4 cup butter, cold and cubed
3/4 cup chopped walnuts
2 Tablespoons fresh orange juice
1 Tablespoon canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 Tablespoon water
8 ounces dark chocolate, melted
Bake 25 minutes at 350. Cool 10 minutes.
Bake 8 more minutes on each side.
Dip one side of cooled biscotti in melted chocolate.
Biscotti is one of my favorite - make ahead - treats. I keep it a supply in my freezer but I also like to keep a supply in my parents freezer too because I know that they enjoy it as much as I do. I baked this batch of biscotti at their house and put away with the intention of saving it for Christmas. We'll see if it lasts that long. 😅
I did it again - I hijacked another kitchen just to get some quality baking time in this month. 😅 It's like I have a quota of baking hours that I need to fulfill just to keep myself in good baking shape. 🤣 I'm pretty sure that I wont forget HOW to bake a cake in 5 weeks - but I still have an unexplainable desire to keep my baking skills sharp - despite the fact that my kitchen is currently in a state of disrepair. 🤷🏻♀️
This week, I visited my son and daughter-in-law in Ohio and they very graciously allowed me to take over their kitchen for an afternoon. Technically, I don't think I ever asked if I could use their kitchen, BUT I showed up with groceries and offered to bake them cookies while they were at work. 🍪🤷🏻♀️Who could turn down that offer?
Not only did I confiscate their kitchen space - I also made the two of them guinea pigs for a new recipe that I've been wanting to try. Luckily - they're great sports and willing to at least try my new baking experiments. My son is no stranger to test recipes and my daughter-in-law has been a part of our family long enough now, that she's learned to expect a practice recipe from time to time. I can always count on my family to act as my test subjects and give me honest feedback - even when I don't want to hear it. 🙉
This recipe for Rugelach has been in my blog cue for over a year. For some reason, I've always categorized these as a Christmas cookie. Probably because I ate one, one time, at a Christmas party. 😂🎄 One day this Fall, the kids sent me a picture of some rugelah cookies that they had gotten from a pastry shop in Cleveland. Up until then, It had never even occurred to me that I could make the rugelach recipe at other times of the year. I'm pretty sure that there's some sort of Christmas cookie code that's broken if you make a "Christmas cookie" before Thanksgiving. 😆 So at the risk of getting caught by the Christmas cookie police - I've decided to go ahead and make what may or may not be considered a holiday cookie. 😬
1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 ounces cream cheese
10 Tablespoons butter, chilled
1/4 cup sour cream
2/3 cup nutella
1 Tablespoon raw sugar
Bake 30-35 minutes at 375.
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