Cranberry Pistachio Biscotti

These Cranberry Pistachio Biscotti are a perfect addition to your holiday cookie list – they even have the holiday colours of green and red studded throughout! Be prepared though, if you make them now they probably won’t last long and you will find yourself making another batch before the holiday even arrives. Biscotti go so well with a cup of coffee or tea, or even hot chocolate if you are the dunking type. They are not a very sweet cookie, so the flavour of the pistachios and cranberries really shine through.  The orange zest highlights the cranberry even more.

Cranberry-Pistachio-Biscotti

If you read the recipe and think it is difficult, it really isn’t. You are actually first making a cookie loaf, then taking that loaf and slicing it into cookies and then baking them again. So really it is just a little more time consuming but believe me the end product will make that extra 30 minutes so worth it. There is no refrigeration of cookie dough, so the extra time in the oven is a wash really.

Cranberry-Pistachio-Biscottii

Once you get the hang of baking biscotti there are many variations out there and the flavours and textures are quite different. Hopefully I will get organized and post a few more before the holiday season is upon us. If you like to give baking as gifts during the holidays, these Cranberry Pistachio biscotti are a good choice as they pack well and will stay fresh for at least a week. To fancy them up you can dip one end in melted chocolate and let them dry on a rack – ready to party! But the big guy will be just as happy with plain ones right out of the tin…just guessing..

Cranberry-Pistachio-Biscottii

Cranberry Pistachio Biscotti
 
Prep time
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Total time
 
Serves: 4 doz
Ingredients
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • zest of an orange
  • 3 large eggs- room temp
  • 1 teaspoons vanilla
  • ½ cup unsalted pistachios, coarsely chopped
  • ½ cup dried cranberries
  • 1 egg white
  • 2 tbsp sanding sugar
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl; set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter, sugar and orange zest on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the 3 eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Scrape down sides of bowl and mix again. Beat in vanilla.
  4. Add the flour mixture, and mix on low speed until about ½ mixed in. Add in the cranberries and pistachios.
  5. Flour counter well and turn out dough. With floured hands form into a log,divide in half. Shape each piece into a 16-by-2-inch log, and transfer to prepared baking sheet, placing about 3 inches apart. With your hand, flatten logs slightly starting in the middle and working out to each end.
  6. Brush beaten egg white over surface of the dough and sprinkle with the sanding sugar.
  7. Bake, rotating sheet halfway through, until logs are firm to touch and golden brown about 25 minutes. Slide the parchment paper with the logs on to a wire rack to cool slightly, about 20 minutes. Meanwhile reduce oven temperature to 300 degrees.
  8. Carefully transfer the logs to a cutting board. Using a serrated knife, cut logs crosswise on the diagonal into ½-inch-thick slices. Place slices on a baking sheet cut side down. Arrange slices, cut sides down. Bake 15 minutes then flip over and bake a further 15 minutes. Transfer sheets to a cooling rack.
  9. Let biscotti cool completely on rack. Biscotti can be kept in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.

adapted from a recipe by Martha Stewart

 

This entry was posted in Cookies.

Traditional Shortbread

Well it is that time of year…holiday season and that means Shortbread cookies!  Traditional Shortbread is my absolute favourite cookie. The recipe lends itself to versatility. In my opinion for traditional shortbread you can use whatever type of sugar strikes your fancy. For this particular batch I had the luxury of using maple sugar. Maple sugar is made from pure maple syrup. All of the water is removed and tah dah you have maple sugar! This maple sugar is from a local sugar bush called Sucrerie Seguin in the little northern hamlet of Lavigne.

maple-sugar

 

Once the lid is removed from the package the aroma of maple syrup is overwhelming. Once you blend it into the butter it gets even better. Then when the dough hits the heat of the oven the fragrance will melt your heart! If you aren’t lucky enough to have access to maple sugar in your home town, then you can substitute brown sugar. It won’t have the same lovely aroma, but it will still have depth of flavour.

maple-shortbread

To make the actual traditional shortbread you would use icing sugar instead of brown sugar. This will make a cookie that just melts in your mouth. For the best flavour I find it best to make the dough and let it age in the fridge for at least 24 hours or up to 1 week. It is easiest to mould the dough into a log and square it up. This makes it easier to store in the fridge and the square shape is easier to maintain when slicing. Before baking if you want to fancy the cookies up for your holiday treat trays – add some sprinkles or as my mother always did, a little piece of candied cherry.  Once baked shortbread will keep for weeks in a tin. Use a tin and not plastic, for some reason it just keeps the cookies better and they will taste even better with time.

maple-shortbread

And our course the best accompaniment to shortbread is a cup o’ tea. English breakfast tea is my favourite, but this time of year a cup of pumpkin spice tea works well too and goes fantastic with the maple! So there are just a few weeks until Christmas so this is the best recipe to make ahead.  You can bake and freeze these, but I am warning you – they taste amazing frozen! Hide them well!

 

Shortbread
 
Prep time
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Serves: 30 cookies
Ingredients
  • 1 cup butter,room temp
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ cup sugar- your choice
  • 1 tsp vanilla
Instructions
  1. Cream butter for about 2 minutes, just until smooth.
  2. Add sugar and beat for about 2 minutes. Beat in vanilla.
  3. Sift together flour and salt.
  4. Add all at once to butter mixture. Mix on low until flour is well combined.
  5. With a spatula mix dough manually ensuring all of the butter from the bottom of the bowl is mixed in.
  6. Divide dough into 2 portions.
  7. On a piece of plastic wrap form each portion into a log and with the plastic wrap form into a square log. Wrap tightly, twisting the ends.
  8. Place logs on a cookie sheet and refrigerate at least overnight or up to 1 week.
  9. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Slice each log into ¼" pieces. Place 2" apart on parchment lined baking sheets. Prick with fork.
  10. Bake 10-15 minutes just until fragrant and bottom is just barely golden. Tops should not brown.
  11. Let rest 5 minutes on sheet after removing from oven, before sliding onto a cooling rack to cool completely.
  12. Store in a cookie tin. Will keep well for a few weeks at room temp or freeze for up to 2 months.

This entry was posted in Cookies.

Cranberry Pecan Coffee Cake

After the Thanksgiving turkey is done and it is still a month before the next turkey roasting, there is always that 1/2 jar of cranberry sauce sitting in the fridge looking lonely. When I happened upon a recipe that used cranberry sauce instead of jam in a filling for a cake I thought hmmmm that might be a good idea.  I have made coffee cake with fresh cranberries and it was yummy so using cranberry sauce should be even better. We have cranberries growing in the wetlands in our area so my Mom is always picking baskets of cranberries in the fall. She also makes most of them up into cranberry sauce, so having another recipe that will use cranberry sauce is a welcome addition to the recipe box.

 

Cranberry-Pecan-Coffee-Cake

 

The actual cake recipe is a regular coffee cake batter so the ingredients are those you will have on hand. I used full fat sour cream as the liquid ingredient, but I am sure plain yogurt would work just as well. The pecans balance out the sweetness of the cranberry sauce just perfectly. Feel free to substitute whatever nuts you happen to have on hand. I am thinking that walnuts would be a good match as well. The sprinkle of sugar on top of the nuts makes a nice crunchy topping. This time I used raw sugar and it really does add a nice sparkle to the topping, but brown or granulated would work just as well.

Cranberry-Pecan-Coffee-Cake

A coffee cake is a great recipe to have as it makes a great dessert, topped with ice cream or a great addition to a brunch menu. With the cranberry and nuts this coffee cake will fit in perfectly anywhere on your holiday menu. If you are one of those people who actually don’t like cranberry sauce- like my husband, please give this a try as he was convinced it was jam and not cranberries. Hopefully when you do make this cake you will have a few slices left over so that after the dishes are done, you can sit back and enjoy a slice of Cranberry Pecan coffee cake with a nice cup of tea!

Cranberry-Pecan-Coffee-Cake

Cranberry Pecan Coffee Cake
 
Prep time
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Author:
Serves: 12 slices
Ingredients
  • ½ cup butter, room temp
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs, room temp
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1½ cups sour cream-full fat
  • 1 cup cranberry sauce
  • 1 cup pecans, chopped
  • 2 tbsp raw sugar
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 ℉. Butter a 4l bundt pan.
  2. Cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each. Beat in vanilla.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  4. Add the dry ingredients alternately with the sour cream . Ensure it is well blended.
  5. Spread half of the batter in the bundt pan, smooth with a knife.
  6. Spoon the cranberry sauce over the batter. Sprinkle ½ of the pecans over the cranberry sauce.
  7. Spread the remaining batter over top, smoothing with a knife.
  8. Sprinkle the remaining ½ cup of pecans over the top of the batter. Sprinkle the raw sugar over the pecans.
  9. Bake 40-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  10. Cool in pan on cooling rack for at least 20 minutes.
  11. Invert cake onto rack, then invert on to serving plate so that the pecan side is up.

 

This entry was posted in Cakes.

Spice Cake with Maple Frosting

We had the first heavy frost of the season last night and it was so beautiful that I was outside in my pyjamas taking photos before the beauty disappeared. It was 4 degrees Celsius at 7:30 am, but it was so worth it. I hope you enjoy my frosted nature.

frosted-leaf

 

frosted-clover

 

So after getting a little chilled this morning, a warm satisfying dessert in the form of Spice Cake  was calling my name. By the time I had the cake batter mixed and in the oven the sun had come out and all of the frost was melting, but I was still craving that spicy cake. All of the autumn spices – cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg with a little molasses bring the warmth to this simple but beautiful dessert. Looking at my photos of the frost, the maple leaf was the inspiration to add maple extract to the frosting. Maple goes so well with those autumn spices.

spice-cake-with-maple-frosting

I made this cake in a springform pan and left it in a single layer.  If you prefer to have a sweeter dessert you could slice the cake horizontally and double the icing recipe and ice the entire cake.  I found that this was just the perfect amount of sweetness to pair with the spices. After a satisfying meal of chicken stew with dumplings, this Spice Cake with Maple Frosting was the perfect ending to a perfect fall day.

spice-cake-with-maple-frosting

Spice Cake with Maple Frosting
 
Prep time
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Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 12 slices
Ingredients
  • Cake:
  • 1 tbsp vinegar
  • 1½ cup milk
  • ¾ cup butter,room temp
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp molasses
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 2½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • ½ cup golden raisins
  • Frosting:
  • ¼ cup salted butter, room temp
  • 2 tsp milk
  • 1 tsp maple extract
  • 1 cup sifted icing sugar
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350℉. Grease and flour a 9" springform pan.
  2. Combine vinegar and milk in measuring cup and let stand for 10 minutes.
  3. In a large bowl beat butter and sugar until fluffy. Add in molasses and vanilla until combined. Beat in eggs.
  4. In separate bowl, whisk together all of the dry ingredients except the raisins.
  5. Add the flour and milk mixture alternately to the butter mixture in 3 additions.
  6. Stir in the raisins.
  7. Pour into the prepared pan.
  8. Bake for 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.
  9. Let cool in pan on rack for 10 minutes, then run a knife around the edge and remove the ring and slide cake onto rack to cool completely.
  10. Frosting:
  11. In medium bowl, beat butter with ½ cup icing sugar until fluffy.
  12. Add milk and maple extract and beat until incorporated.
  13. Beat in remaining sugar.
  14. Spread on the top of the cooled cake.

 

 

This entry was posted in Cakes.

Peanut Butter Cookies

Peanut Butter cookies are a classic cookie that everyone should have in their cookie repertoire. This is a cookie you can mix up with everyday ingredients and enjoy for dessert on a weekday.  I have fancied this classic cookie up with a little drizzle of white chocolate.  The white chocolate gives a little extra layer of flavour, but it is definitely optional as they are just as delicious plain.

Peanut-Butter-Cookies

Peanut Butter cookies are also quite at home on a fancy dessert tray or a holiday treat spread.  Just because we think of them as a everyday cookie or after school snack doesn’t mean they can’t make it in the upper class of company worthy desserts. Don’t forget these little gems when holiday season rolls around.

Peanut-Butter-Cookies

This particular recipe I adapted from a recipe book by Rosie Daykin called Butter Baked Goods. Check out her website  to purchase some of her yummy baked goods and books. Rosie also has a bake shop in Vancouver, B.C. and it looks like an incredible place. When we make it to the west coast it will be at the top of the list of places to visit.  If you are looking for a beautiful cookbook for yourself or as a gift this coming Christmas I highly recommend either of Rosie’s books – they are both beautiful and fantastic baking resources.

Peanut-Butter-Cookies

So I hope that your family enjoys these Peanut Butter cookies as much as mine did. Have a nice cold glass of milk and a few cookies and you will be in your happy place.

Peanut Butter Cookies
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Serves: 3 doz
Ingredients
  • 2½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 cup butter, room temp
  • 1 cup smooth peanut butter
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • ¼ cup white chocolate wafers
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350℉. Line 3 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In medium size bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix the butter and peanut butter on medium speed until well blended. Add in the sugars and beat until fluffy.
  4. Add in the egg and vanilla and beat until combined, just about 1 minute.
  5. Add in the flour mixture and mix on the slowest speed until the flour is all combined.
  6. With a large sized scoop, drop balls onto cookie sheets - 12 per sheet.
  7. Using a fork dipped in cold water, press into dough to imprint the tines.
  8. Bake for 14 to 16 minutes just until golden around the edges, baking 1 sheet at a time. Let cool on the baking sheets about 5 minutes before removing to a cooling rack to cool completely.
  9. In a small glass bowl, melt the chocolate in the microwave in 15 second increments. Stir after each time until smooth. Pour either into a piping bag or a baggie with a corner snipped off. Drizzle over cooled cookies. Let set at room temp. Store in an airtight container.

 

 

This entry was posted in Cookies.