“The best of all gifts around any Christmas tree: the presence of a happy family all wrapped up in each other.”- Burton Hillis.
Yup. A whole week of cookies for Christmas. For seven days, I will be sharing my favourite recipes for my favourite cookies for my favourite time of the year. There’s a good mix -traditional and not so traditional , nutty and spiced and sweet , cut outs and hand shaped and dropped. I’d like to think there’s something in here for everyone. These are cookies that taste great , look festive and are perfect for gifting and making ahead. Because tis the season to be jolly …fa la la la la la….
If you haven’t made biscotti before , they are crisp and crunchy finger shaped cookies from Italy . The cookie dough is baked in a long , sliced and then baked again until they are absolutely dry. Hence the name , which means “twice baked” . Not unlike our Indian Rusk. By the way , why is the rusk called the rusk? One thing that I couldn’t google out!
Biscotti are ideal for christmas . Why ? For starters , they look all rustic and home-made . And then there’s the fact that they last for ever , making them perfect for gifting around the holiday season( I am beginning to sound like a broken record – I say that about all my christmas cookies !) . Plus , when the weather is all chilly , what better way to warm up than a mug of hot coffee or tea or cocoa and a good biscotti to dip it into!
And if biscotti and coffee are a match made in heaven, so is the pairing of banana and walnut. This classic flavour profile is just as awesome in a biscotti as it would be in banana bread or cake. The basic biscotti recipe is adapted from Betty Crocker . Ofcourse , walnuts could be replaced by any nuts that you think would pair well with the banana. Or you could never go wrong with a handful of chocolate chips ! Try dipping the end of the biscotti in melted chocolate and then finely chopped nuts for an even more festive looking cookie !
- 185 grams or 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 1/2 tsps baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 56 grams or 1/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 100 grams or 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup mashed overripe banana ( 1 medium banana )
- 1 egg , at room temperature
- 1/4 cup toasted , skinned and chopped walnuts
- Preheat your oven to 180 C/ 350°F. Grease or butter a cookie sheet or line with parchment paper .
- Sift or whisk flour, baking powder and salt. Keep aside.
- Using an electric mixer or wooden spoon, beat sugar and butter until light and fluffy.
- Beat in banana, vanilla and egg until smooth.
- Beat in flour mixture until a dough forms .
- Fold in the chopped walnuts.
- Shape this sticky dough into a log (about 10 x 3 inches) and place on cookie sheet.
- Bake for about 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
- Cool the log for 15 minutes and then using a sharp knife, slice into 1⁄2-inch slices.
- Place the slices, cut side down, back on the cookie sheet.
- Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown and dry on top.
- Turn cookies over and bake about 10 minutes longer or until brown.
- Cool the cookies on wire rack.
- These can be stored for 2 weeks or longer in an airtight container.
- Use a blackening over ripe banana for the best banana flavour.
- To toast walnuts , heat at 180 C for 8 to 10 minutes in the oven or on a dry pan stovetop . Rub the skins off the toasted nuts and chop coarsely.
- Remember that the wider your dough log is, the longer your biscotti will be . It will increase in length during the first bake. So make a narrow log if you want shorter cookies or divide the dough into two longer narrower logs .
- While slicing , its best to use a serrated knife. If the cookie breaks or crumbles , chill for 5 more minutes and try.
These biscotti are among the best I have made or tasted. Lovely banana flavour and a totally delicious crunch. A totally dunk-able cookie !