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Friday, December 4, 2009

Peppermint-Twist Biscotti

Besides being yummy, biscotti makes a great giveaway treat because it doesn't really go stale, or at least not for a long time. It bakes once to bake and twice to make it hard and crunchy, which makes it a great cookie for dunking in hot holiday drinks. An added bonus is its long narrow shape, which makes it fun and easy to package in a canister, glass/mug, or gift treat bag. Take all these fabulous characteristics, add a bunch of crushed candy canes and peppermint flavor, and you've pretty much got the perfect goody plate treat.

  • If you want all the taste with a little less work, skip the whole food coloring and twisted rope part of step 2. It's just for looks.
  • If you do want the twist and need red paste food coloring, try Michael's, a cake/candy supplier or I ordered mine on Amazon.

  • The peppermint icing is sweet, and makes the biscotti super yummy if you're eating it plain or dipping in something unsweetened like black coffee or tea. But if you're dunking in hot chocolate or something sweet, go light on the icing or leave it off completely.

  • If you want a mint-chocolate thing, no problem. Just melt some dark chocolate in the microwave with a tiny bit of shortening or butter, then drizzle or dip the biscotti.
Peppermint-Twist Biscotti
2/3 cup butter, softened
1 1/3 cups sugar
1 T baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
4 eggs
1/2 tsp peppermint extract
4 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup coarsely chopped peppermint candy canes or peppermint candies
Red paste food coloring
Peppermint Icing (see below)
Chopped peppermint candy cans, optional

1. Preheat oven to 375. Line a cookie sheet with foil; set aside. In a large mixing bowl beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add sugar, baking powder, and salt. Beat until combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Beat in eggs and peppermint extract until combined. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Stir in any remaining flour and the 1 cup chopped candy canes.
2. Divide dough in half. Tint one portion of dough with red food coloring. Divide each half of dough into three portions. On a lightly floured surface, roll each portion into a 14-inch-long rope. On prepared cookie sheet, place a rope of each color side by side. Twist pairs of ropes around each other several times. Flatten twists until 2 inches wide; place about 4 inches apart on the cookie sheet (they expand a lot while cooking.)

3. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until light brown and tops are cracked. Cool completely on cookie sheet on a wire rack. Carefully peel foil away from twists.

4. Reduce oven temperature to 300. Transfer twists to a cutting board. Using a serrated knife, cut twists diagonally into 1/2-inch slices. Place slices, cut side down, on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 10 minutes. Turn slices over. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes more. Turn oven off and let biscotti sit in there for 30 to 40 minutes to complete drying. Transfer cookies to a wire rack and let cool.
5. Drizzle cooled cookies with Peppermint Icing. If desired, sprinkle with additional chopped candy canes. Let stand until set.

Peppermint Icing
In a medium bowl stir together 2 cups powdered sugar, 1 T milk and 1/4 tsp peppermint extract until smooth. Add enough additional milk (about 2 T) to make an icing of drizzling consistency.
Recipe adapted from Better Homes and Gardens The Ultimate Cookie Book

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