2/3 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup white flour
1 tsp baking powder
A pinch of ground cinnamon or other spice (or lemon zest)
1 1/2 cups nice stuff, such as chocolate chips, chopped dried fruit, or toasted nuts
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large bowl, beat together the eggs and the sugar until thick, pale, and fluffy (about 5 minutes with an electric mixer on high, or eternity if you’re doing it by hand).
Add the vanilla.
In another bowl, combine the salt, flours, baking powder, and spice.
Add dry to wet, and fold in the chocolate and/or nuts and/or dried fruit.
On a greased baking sheet, form the dough into two flattish logs, about 3 inches wide and 12″ long.
Bake for 20 minutes. When it’s done, let cool for 10 minutes and turn over down to 325 degrees. With a serrated knife, cut the logs into 1/2″ slices, on a slight diagonal.
Spread out on the baking sheet and return to oven, crisping each side for 10 minutes. Let cool completely before storing and wrap well to maintain crunchiness.
Tonight, Oats and I made a lot of biscotti to give away as holiday gifts. We did one batch of chocolate/almond/dried cranberry, another two of chocolate/walnut/dried apricot, and one more with candied ginger/lemon zest. We’ll ship them off to our families out east in a day or two, once we organize the rest of their packages. Originally, we’d planned on sending just jam and pickles, and though I think we’ll still include a jar per household, I’m glad we’ve got this lighter and less fragile alternative.
This recipe was a first for me, and I’m really happy with the way it turned out: Super-easy with few ingredients, and pretty cheap since we used eggs from a farm stand and dried fruit that was on sale. Even the walnuts came from a friend’s parents, making them both fresh and local. It’s not that we’re tightwads or anything, it’s just that… Oh… No, wait, yes, we are. But that’s okay, because we put a lot of love and effort into these cookies, and they are damn fine.
Also a first time for me was doing holiday prep with a partner, having previously been involved with people who were more integrated into their parents’ celebration of events and usually left our city to go to wherever that was happening. Which has been fine by me: On my own, I’ve had a lot of great Christmases and really love the chance to relax. My family’s pretty used to the lateness of my gifts after all these years, and I’ve managed to make it into a good low-pressure season for myself.
Having said that, it’s pretty amazing to share it with someone. I love cooking with Oats (heh heh… No pun intended!), and love filling our apartment with good smells. It’s also great to be collaborating with someone whose relatives also live far away and thus require gifts that are well-planned in advance, because I’m inspired to actually think about it now instead of sometime closer to December 25th. It’s getting me excited about what else we could do during the rest of the month, creating a bit of holiday momentum that really isn’t my usual style. We’re having a solstice party on the 19th, and I’m thinking of all the stuff we can get ready for it… Not just the food, but crafts too! There’s a big evergreen branch growing out over our patio, and I’m planning on cutting it for a solstice tree, to be decorated with homemade ornaments. Also, candles: What’s a solstice party without some light? Something had better curb my enthusiasm, because I could get to like this.
(And if you’re in town on the 19th, you should come by!)