Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Gingerbread Biscotti #CreativeCookieExchange

All the spicy flavors of gingerbread, ramped up a notch or two with the addition of chewy crystallized ginger and crunchy toasted almonds, are represented in these very dunk-able biscotti, decorated with the requisite royal icing. They are perfect to enjoy on a winter morning with a hot cup of something special, or to wrap up as gifts. 

When my girls were growing up and we neared Christmas on the calendar – we lived far too near the equator for the other usual harbingers of the season like falling leaves or a nip in the air – I often baked gingerbread for their after school snacks. And we always made some gingerbread men together as a weekend project, decorating them lavishly with royal icing. The smell as the gingerbread bakes is heavenly!

Yes, somehow gingerbread and the Christmas season just go together. How could I resist turning gingerbread into biscotti for this month’s Creative Cookie Exchange? And don't forget, being twice baked and crunchy, biscotti are very good travelers, in case you need a homemade gift for someone far away.

Many thanks to Laura from The Spiced Life for organizing us each month and for coming up with this great theme!

This recipe is adapted from one at Christmas Cookies.

Ingredients for about 55-60 biscotti
For the biscotti dough:
1 cup or 150g almonds, blanched
3/4 cup or 150g sugar
1/2 cup or 113g butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup or 120ml dark molasses
3 eggs
3 cups or 375g flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup or 75g candied ginger, coarsely chopped

For the royal icing:
1 1/2 cups or 190g icing sugar
1 egg white (Do not serve raw unpasteurized eggs to persons with compromised immune systems.)
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
Pinch salt

Preheat your oven to 350°F or 180°C and line two cookies sheets with baking parchment or silicone baking mats.

Toast your almonds for about 10-15 minutes in the preheated oven using a small baking pan where they can fit in one layer. Keep an eye on the almonds and shake or stir the pan at about the five-minute mark to make sure they aren’t scorching on one side. You are looking for a nice golden color.

Let the almonds cool, chop them very coarsely, and set aside. Turn your oven temperature down to 300°F or 149°C.

In large bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the sugar, butter and molasses until smooth.

Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Your batter may look a little curdled at this point but it's nothing to worry about.

In another mixing bowl, sift together your flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, allspice and salt.

Add the candied ginger to the dry ingredient bowl and use your fingers to separate the pieces and coat them with the dry ingredients so they don’t stick together again.

Add in the almonds to the dry bowl and mix well.

Tip the dry ingredients into the egg mixture; mix well to combine. The dough is going to be quite sticky.

Divide your dough up into four equal pieces and wrap each in a large piece of cling film. Use the cling film to shape the dough into four flat loaves, about a 1/2 in or 1 1/4cm thick and 2 inches or 5 1/2 cm wide.

Turn your dough loaves out on to your prepared pans, leaving plenty of room between them for expansion as they bake.

Dampen your hands with water so they won't stick to the dough and to pat the loaves into shape, if necessary.

Bake in your preheated oven until browned at edges and springy to touch, about 25 minutes. Depending on how well your oven circulates, you might need to rotate the pans midway though the baking time so everything gets evenly browned.

Leave the loaves to cool for about 15-20 minutes on the baking sheets.

Remove the loaves to a cutting board and use a serrated bread knife to cut them into long, 1/2-inch or 1 1/4cm thick diagonal slices.

Return the slices to the baking sheets, with one of the cut sides down.

Return to the oven and bake about 15 to 18 minutes longer, turning the biscotti over once halfway through the baking. Once again, rotate the pans if necessary to get an even bake. They should be slightly more brown around the edges.

Transfer biscotti to racks and let cool completely.

To make the royal icing, sift your sugar into a small bowl, then add the pinch of salt, the lemon juice and the egg white. Mix together until smooth.

Spoon the icing into a piping bag and use a small tip to decorate the biscotti.

Serve, or store in an airtight container of up to 1 month; wrap well and freeze for longer storage.

So much gingerbread biscotti! 

Biscotti (or mandelbrot or any other twice baked cookie by any other name) are one of the perfect Holiday tin cookies! They last forever, and there are so many ways to make them festive. So Creative Cookie Exchange has got you covered--sweet, savory, low fat, loaded with decadence, you name it, we’ve got it! Happy Holidays!

Creative Cookie Exchange is  a great resource for cookie recipes! Be sure to check out our Pinterest Board and our monthly posts (you can find all of them at The Spiced Life). We post together the first Tuesday after the 15th of each month!

Looking for more gingerbread deliciousness?

Check out my Rich Gingerbread Muffins with Honey Ginger Glaze

Or my Dark Chocolate Gingerbread Muffins. Both perfect for a special tea or breakfast!


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