2015 has been quite the year for us. I just finished my first year of grad school and I am transitioning to a new job that will allow me to be at home with Mike once again. While I have loved my work in Madison the last 2 1/2 years, being away from my husband during the week was more difficult than I had anticipated. I’m sad to be leaving a great job and my wonderful coworkers, but I am excited to see what opportunities my new position will bring.
Christmas is just a few days away, but the weather outside is more spring-like than winter. I’m not sure how I feel about the lack of snow. I’m trying to find ways to get into the Christmas spirit and this biscotti really hit the spot. The double chocolate base pairs perfectly with the white chocolate and candy canes. It’s sweet and crunchy and perfect with a mug of hot chocolate or some coffee.
I made my go-to Andes mint cookies for a cookie exchange last week, but I think that these biscotti will be my new holiday treat. So easy, so festive, and so good!
I want to wish you and your loved ones a very merry Christmas and a wonderful new year!
Double Chocolate Peppermint Biscotti
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
8 ounces white chocolate chips
3/4 cup crushed peppermint candies
Preheat oven to 350°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, about 1 – 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides and add eggs in, one at a time, until well combined. Scrape down the sides and add in the vanilla extract.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the dry ingredients and semisweet chocolate chips into the butter mixture and mix on low speed until just combined.
Lightly flour a work surface. Using a rubber spatula, scrape the dough onto the work surface (it will be very sticky) and lightly dust with flour. Using your hands, shape the dough into a ball and divide into two even pieces.
Form the dough into a log by rolling it back and forth. Place the logs onto the prepared baking sheet and press the dough into a longer log that is about 2 inches wide and 3/4 inch high. Make sure to leave enough room between the logs to allow them to spread slightly during baking.
Bake in preheated oven for 35 minutes. Allow to cool on the baking pan for a couple minutes, or until just cool enough to handle.
Using a sharp knife, cut the logs diagonally into 3/4 inch slices. Turn the biscotti onto their side and bake for 10 more minutes to allow the biscotti to crisp up. Allow biscotti to cool for 5 minutes on the pan and move to a wire rack to cool completely .
Once biscotti are cool, it’s time to decorate them. Line the baking pan with a clean sheet of parchment paper.
Place white chocolate chips into a microwave-safe bowl and microwave for about 1 minute, stirring every 20 seconds, or until chocolate is melted and smooth.
Dip one side of the biscotti into the melted chocolate, using the back of a spoon to make sure the biscotti is evenly covered. Sprinkle with crushed peppermint candy. Repeat with the remaining biscotti, re-heating the chocolate as needed.
I can’t believe summer is coming to an end; how is it almost September? The last few months flew by – a blur of work, school, and so many great vacations. I haven’t been able to cook much this summer – I spent most of my days traveling for work or traveling for fun – so every moment I get in the kitchen is extra special.
Mike and I finally had a quiet weekend at home to get caught up on housework and finally relax. A trip to the farmers’ market inspired this dish packed full of local foods – sweet corn, gorgeous cherry tomatoes, zucchini, and cheese. Seriously – there is nothing quite like Wisconsin sweet corn (sorry, Cape Cod, but the corn we had out there was terrible).
I served these fritters with a side of zucchini noodles sautéed in a bit of olive oil and lightly seasoned with some roasted red pepper and garlic seasoning we got from Soulard Spice Shop.
Cheesy Sweet Corn Fritters with Sautéed Tomatoes serves 6
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large red onion, finely chopped and divided
1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
1 – 2 small green chile peppers, minced (optional)
2 ears sweet corn, kernels removed
2 1/3 cup yellow corn meal
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, divided
1 cup buttermilk (or combine 1 cup milk with 2 teaspoons white vinegar and let sit for 5 minutes)
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar
2 tablespoons basil, roughly chopped
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a large non-stick pan over medium-high heat. Add half the onions and sauté for 1 minute. Add the bell pepper and chile peppers and cook for an additional 2 minutes, or until vegetables begin to soften. Add sweet corn and cook for two minutes, or until corn softens. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set vegetables aside to cool.
Meanwhile, combine the corn meal, flour, sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon of the cayenne in a large bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together buttermilk and egg. Add the buttermilk mixture to the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Stir in the vegetables, cheese, and basil.
Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a large non-stick pan over medium heat. Add the remaining onion and cook until softened, about 2 – 3 minutes. Stir in tomatoes and season with remaining 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne, salt, and pepper. Cook until tomatoes begin to soften, about 2 minutes. Set aside and keep warm.
Heat a very thin film of oil in a large non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Working in batches, cook 1/4 cup scoops of batter in the oil. Cook 2 minutes per side, or until fritters are golden brown. Repeat with remaining batter, adding more oil as needed. Serve fritters immediately with sautéed tomatoes.
I took today off work with the hopes of getting stuff done around the house. My garden is a jungle of weeds. I need to dust, vacuum, and do approximately 20 loads of laundry. Instead of doing anything productive, so far today I have made bourbon caramel apple cinnamon rolls, biked to Baskin Robbins for ice cream, and watched a shameful amount of Netflix. I decided to blog a bit so I could cross at least one thing off my “to do” list.
I’ve been meaning to share this cookie recipe with y’all for a while. I first made them in the winter, during my search for the perfect chocolate chip cookie. I tested several recipes, and decided that Cook’s Illustrated’s Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies were the winner.
I’ve been making them 4 dozen at a time ever since with a variety of mix-ins – chocolate chips, M&Ms, nuts… basically whatever your heart desires. Mike told me that he prefers them with M&Ms, so I’ve been making them with just M&Ms ever since. The best part of this recipe? Unlike this awesome cookie recipe, it doesn’t require any overnight refrigeration. That means instant gratification. Enjoy them this holiday weekend with some red, white and blue M&Ms! Happy Independence Day, everyone!
Thick and Chewy M&M Cookies slightly adapted from Cook’s Illustrated
2 1/8 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
12 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg + 1 large egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups of any combination of the following: chocolate chips, chocolate chunks, M&Ms, nuts
Preheat oven to 325°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
In a medium bowl, mix together flour, salt, and baking soda; set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix butter, brown sugar, and sugar until blended. Mix in egg, yolk, and vanilla. Add in dry ingredients until just combined. Stir in chocolate chips.
To form the cookie: Scoop a heaping tablespoon of dough and form it into a ball. Using the fingertips of both hands, pull the ball into two equal halves. Rotate the halves ninety degrees so that the jagged edges are facing up. Gently press the halves together to form a single cookie dough ball, being careful not to smooth out the jagged surface. Place the dough 2 inches apart on the prepared cookie sheet.
Bake cookies for 10 – 13 minutes, or until cookies are a light golden brown and the outer edges have started to harden. Let cookies cool for 5 minutes on a cookie sheet before transferring to a cooling rack to cool complete.