Not that I’m the authority but I think that it’s safe to say that Holiday baking is may “officially” begin, now that it’s actually December.
Be it that we took our kids to the community Santa Claus parade or that was today was the first of December, Holidays get me to hum classic carols and remember highlights of Christmas Past. With my brain swirling of roasting chestnuts and the clementine I almost mistook as a lump of coal down in the depths of my stocking toe, I decided the first cookie of the year should be able to last as long as that heart wrenching childhood memory.
Memory aside, it’s always a thrill to bring home the first box of “Christmas Oranges”, as my daughter refers to them. Cracking into them fills a room with a special kind of happiness only little orange packages can bring.
With clementines and cookies on my mind, it wasn’t too tough a decision to get that this biscotti would be the first cookie of the season.
Biscotti is a double baked, super crunchy cookie, perfect for packing in just about any flavour combination and, of course, dipping into mulled wine, coffee or nog.
CHOCOLATE CHESTNUT BISCOTTI WITH CANDIED CLEMENTINE
1/4 Cup Margarine
1 Cup Sugar
1 Banana, mashed well
1/2 Cup Cocoa Powder
2 Cups Unbleached All Purpose Flour
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
10 Chestnuts, roasted
1 Tablespoon Candied Clementine Peel, finely chopped
1/2 Cup Sugar
1/4 Cup Water
Preheat the the oven to 400ºF.
Peel four clementines removing as much of the white pith from the rind as possible.
In a medium saucepan, dissolve the 1/2 Cup of the sugar in the 1/4 Cup water and bring to a low simmer over a medium heat setting.
Simmer for about 20 minutes or until the peels have soaked up much of the syrup, leaving them translucent.
Place a cooling rack over a baking sheet or parchment. Remove the candied peels with a slotted spoon and lay them on the rack to cool and dry.
Meanwhile, score the bottom of each chestnut with an “x”.
Lay the nuts “x” up in a baking pan and roast for 15 – 20 minutes, until the chestnuts open and are fragrant.
Reduce the oven temperature to 350ºF.
With a hand or stand mixer, blend the margarine and banana until very smooth.
Add the sugar and continue to mix until creamy, scraping the sides as necessary.
Peel and chop the chestnuts.
Chop enough of the prepared peel to equal 1 tablespoon (or slightly more if your tastebuds can’t deny it.)
Add the nuts and peel to the batter.
Sift the cocoa, flour, salt and baking soda.
Slowly add the dry ingredients to form a firm dough.
Line a cookie sheet with parchment and remove the biscotti dough from the mixer bowl.
With dampened hands, shape the dough into a wide, shallow log about 9″x4″.
Bake for about 25 minutes, remove and reduce the oven again, to 300ºF.
Once the biscotti is cool enough to handle, use a serrated bread knife to slice the biscotti on a slight angle, about 3/4″ widthwise.
Lay the biscotti cut side down and bake for an additional 8 minutes. Flip and bake the other side for another 8 minutes or until the biscotti is very crisp and dry.
View this and other great shots this month in the Click contest. The theme is nuts. Do you think there will be other chestnuts?? It is the Holidays after all….