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Posts Tagged ‘pecans’

Last minute gift cooking Christmas Eve afternoon.  Wow, it got me through the evening for sure.  A terrific recipe for the candy dish or to use as filler as I did, for a gift card.  I bought an inexpensive Christmas coffee mug.  Then I filled a treat bag with candy and placed it in the mug.  Add a pretty ribbon and tie on a gift card.
from Family Living Classics – Favorite Holiday Candies

Crunchy Caffeine (Coffee Bean Toffee)

1 1/2 cup coarsely chopped almonds or pecans

1/2 cup coffee beans (coarsely chopped in food processor or spice mill)

1 Tbl instant espresso granules (regular instant coffee can be substituted but will yield a milder flavor)

1/3 cup hot water

1 cup butter

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup water

1 Tbl light corn syrup

1/2 cup semisweet chocolate morsels

1 teas vanilla

1 teas cinnamon

pinch of salt

Line baking sheet with aluminum foil. Spray lightly with pam. Dissolve espresso/coffee in hot water, set aside.
In a heavy bottomed large saucepan, melt butter. Place candy thermometer on pan, into mixture but not touching bottom. Add sugar, corn syrup and dissolved coffee. Stir constantly until sugar is dissolved and mixture comes to a boil. Wash down sides of pan with hot water and a pastry brush. Do not stir again. Cook until thermometer registers hard crack stage. Remove from heat. Stir in cinnamon, vanilla, coffee beans and nuts. Pour into prepared pan. Sprinkle chocolate over top. Once chocolate melts, spread over surface of toffee. Allow to cool completely, refrigerate to speed up process. Break into pieces.

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Second annual biscotti blitz has just been completed (unless I give in to my desire for two more flavors).
Last year, all my family far away received my not quite perfect biscotti for Christmas. This year, I’ve been practicing and I’m thrilled to say I have the METHOD down pat. I love cooking this way, instead of relying on a specific recipe. I’m so pleased, I can finally trust myself. So, how many biscotti did I make, you ask? Six batches of at least 24 each.

Day one, I made Anise Biscotti with Anise Glaze, Almond Biscotti with Chocolate/Almond Dip, GingerBread Biscotti with Molasses, gingerbread drizzle.
Today I got real gutsy and tried some off the wall things using my foolproof biscotti METHOD.
So, I have Green Chai Tea with Pine Nuts and Chai drizzle, Mexican Chocolate Chip with Cinnamon and Chocolate Drizzle, and finally Espresso Mocha Biscotti with Dark Chocolate Drizzle. Yummy.

I love Biscotti because it’s easy to make, makes a great snack all day long, and goes with hot tea and coffee ohhhh so well. It’s also low in sugar, no added fat (except what is in chocolate) and so versatile. In my house biscotti baking has become the new food trend, replacing cupcakes (almost)

BISCOTTI BASIC METHOD

1 3/4 Cups flour
1/2 Teas Salt
1 Teas Baking Powder
4 Eggs
3/4 Cup Sugar (when adding Cocoa, add an extra 1/4 Cup Sugar)

Assorted Flavorings/Nuts/Dried Fruit (See Notes)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

In a larger mixing bowl combine flour, salt, baking powder and any dry flavorings (ie. Cocoa, Cinnamon, Anise Seed, or other dry spices. See Notes). Add 1/2 cup nuts and/or fruits. Try whole toasted almonds, hazelnuts, pine nuts, walnuts, pecans. Fruits might include chopped apricots, dried cranberries, lemon or orange zest, raisins, dried cherries, the list is endless)

In another bowl placed over hot (not boiling) water, whisk eggs and sugar until light and lemony looking.
Add any liquid flavorings (ie. Extracts, Molasses). Whisk a moment more. A spoonful of mixture poured from a spoon will ribbon. With mixer running on low speed, slowly add egg mixture to flour mixture. Don’t over mix, just mix until it all comes together.

With wet hands, turn dough onto baking pan and form into a log about 12 inches long and 3/4 inch thick.

Bake 30-35 minutes until toothpick inserted comes out clean and dry. Decrease oven temperature to 300 degrees. Allow loaf to cool about 15 minutes. Slice at an angle 3/4 inch thick. Place slices on baking sheet. I like to stand these up for the drying period so I won’t have to turn them over, but sometimes the little suckers just won’t stand up. Place baking sheet in oven and bake about 10 more minutes or until slices feel dry. If necessary, turn over and bake 10 minutes longer.

Decorate or glaze as desired, using powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla or melted chocolate, etc.

Notes: I used 1/4 Cup Cocoa and 1 tbl espresso powder in the Mocha biscotti. For the mexican chocolate, I added a teas vanilla, 1/2 teas cinnamon and 1/2 cup cocoa. For the Gingerbread I used 1 Tbl cinnamon, 1/2 teas cardamon, 1/2 teas ginger, 1/4 teas cloves, 1/4 teas nutmeg, 1/4 teas allspice, 1/2 teas chinese five-spice. I also added 1/4 cup molasses to the egg mixture. Extracts like anise extract and almond extract are usually added by the teaspoon.

I’d be glad to share these recipes should anyone need an absolute/no guessing recipe.

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