12 Days of Holiday Food Gifts to Make {Revisited}

 
 
Happy Holidays!
Twelve amazing days of Food gifts for memorable giving.

Last year for the holidays I did a series of 12 food gifts for making and giving. A bunch of folks have been asking about them, so here they are in the order that they were posted in. Just click on the title to take you directly to the original post. Also be sure to check on the page bar at the top of the post for resources for jars, containers, ribbons, etc.

White Chocolate Candies

Day 1- White Chocolate Candies– easy to make drops.

Day 2- Candied Fruits- Sweet and Savory. This post contains recipes for the candied pears shown above, candied spicy tangerines and candied ginger.

Day 3- Rosemary Lemon Biscotti and Dark Chocolate Cherry Biscotti– two classic cookies.\

Day 4- A Tradition Renewed- Marzipan– instructions on how to make cherries, pears and plums.

Day 5- Cowboy Candy- sweet pickled jalapeños that have the added bones of a beautiful syrup leftover that makes the dang best margaritas you’ve EVER tasted!

Day 6- Flavored Oils– Two infusion methods: Hot and Cold. Recipes for Lemon Oil, Basil Oil and Smoked Paprika Oil.

Day 7- Mixed Drinks~Pre-made cocktails. These are the bases for some delicious cocktails. Just add ice a spritz of tonic or soda water and you can kick back and enjoy the evening.

Day 8- Fruit Compotes~ Red & Blueberry Mint, and Orange Lavender– Send along with a batch of homemade scones for a special Christmas morning breakfast.

Day 9- Fregolotta- An Italian tradition. It’s a large cracker like cookie, full of almonds, that is broken and eaten after dinner, served here with a ruby port.

Day 10- Homemade syrups to make your own exotic soda or create a cocktail. Blueberry Thyme, Ginger Ale, and Fresh Mint

Day 11- Apricot Tapenade with Rosemary. A sweet and savory fruit sauce that pairs beautifully with cheese and makes a colorful and sparkling addition to your holiday table.

Day 12- NUTELLA!!!!!!

Happy making and sharing everyone!

{Day 3} The AFTER treat: Biscotti

Rosemary Lemon Biscotti served with Homemade Chamomile Cordial

Biscotti is always the “after”. Afternoon, after dinner, after a long morning…. This crunchy treat offers a mild sweetness that is just the right kind of soft kiss an after requires.I try to keep a jar of these around- but they have a great tendency to disappear in short order. Though the baking of biscotti is a two step baking process, the good news is this recipe is so simple that it only takes minutes to pull it all together and create a new batch. Not too long ago, right before a dinner party I decided a gift of wine was just not enough to bring along- so while I showered the first baking was complete, and while make up was applied, the second go round was finished off. I can’t say I recommend this method, but it can be done when you need to.

The secret to this recipe is that these are made with Olive Oil rather than butter, which is always on hand and no need to wait for it to soften like butter does.

I created two versions for today. The first is a Lemon Zest and Rosemary, which is really lovely as a digestive. I serve it up with some gorgeous Chamomile Cordial that I made. {The recipe will be in a future post} These two together offer a soft sweet ending to a long meal. No cloying thump to your sensibilities here.

The second version is Dark Chocolate Cherry. Chunks of 72% chocolate are tossed in with plump dried cherries. This is a slightly sweeter version than above and it perfect for that afternoon pick me up.

When gift giving it’s best to package these up into cellophane bags- which you can get from Glerup {see Resource page} The cellophane not only makes a beautiful presentation but also keeps the biscotti crisp and snappy.

Lemon Zest Rosemary Biscotti
makes 24-30
.5 c mild olive oil
.75c granulated sugar
.25c Light brown sugar
3 large eggs
3.25 c AP flour
1T baking powder
1/4t salt
2T chopped fresh rosemary
zest from one lemon
juice from one lemon
In a large bowl combine sugars, flour, bp, salt, rosemary and zest. Stir to combine
In separate bowl combine eggs, oil and lemon juice- mixing thoroughly
Toss the oil mixture into the flour mixture and stir to combine. I use my hands to get the dough even. It will be a little thick and like a soft cookie dough.
Make two long logs about 3″ wide on a baking sheet
Bake in a 375˚ oven for approximately 20 minutes until golden and there is only a gentle spring when the tops are touched. If it gives too much the biscotti are not done in the middle and give it another few minutes.
When ready remove the biscotti from the oven and allow to cool for 15-20 minutes. I am always impatient about this but it’s really worth the wait, the slices will be neater.
When cool(ish), using a sharp serrated knife cut the biscotti into 1/3″ slices and arrange on cookie sheet.
Return to oven and bake 10 mins until golden and toasty looking. Then flip each cookie and bake again for another 10 mins or so.
Dark Chocolate Dried Cherry Biscotti
I used the exact same recipe as above with these changes:
Replace the rosemary, lemon zest and juice with a .5 c of dark chocolate chopped into chunks and .75c of dried cherries
Enjoy!
and remember- the cordial recipe is coming soon- sign up for the mailing list and be sure not to miss it.

 

Afternoon delight: Chocolate Dipped Fennel Biscotti

This past week I took myself down to Bumble and Bumble in the meat packing district to get my hair trimmed. One of the many delights of the salon is complimentary coffee or latte when you are awaiting your chair time. The salon is situated on the 8th floor of a loft building that has impressive views downtown and toward the river. The windows are floor to ceiling and there is nothing like settling back into the squishy leather couches they have, facing out with a warm creamy cup of coffee in my hands taking in the view.
But even better, there was tucked alongside the cup a teeny biscotti that was a delightful, not too sweet treat, that managed to make the sublime only that much better. I enjoyed every nibble.
Of course this set me onto a track that I am not quick to get off of. As I stared out over the rooftops I mused about heading back into the kitchen, of flour and mixing bowls.  I wanted to make some biscotti of my own.
I have made plenty of this crunchy cookies over the years and have a few fantastic recipes in my back pocket. For instance there are the chocolate biscotti that almost melt away in your mouth and have an almost black color. I’ve made these many Xmases and bagged and bowed them as holiday treats. People still ask for them- perhaps I should make a batch this year…
For some reason though I got a hankering for fennel. I imagined a delicate digestif type biscotti and not altogether that decadent. Something basic, something not too too. This recipe is fantastic as biscotti go. Super easy and it yields a cookie that has an even dense crumb that I really like. It can handle dipping into coffee with gusto.
Though perfectly delightful on their own, I added the chocolate as an afterthought. Now, truth be told, one could probably count the days in my life that chocolate has not passed my lips in one form or another, so dunking these in a bit of dark chocolate was not a hard sell. I did not bother to temper the chocolate, but chose a simpler cheat method. No blue ribbons for this, but it does the trick.
Fennel Seed Biscotti Dipped in Chocolate
.5c mild olive oil
.75c sugar
.25c light brown sugar
3 large eggs
1T anise extract
3.25 c AP flour
1T baking powder
1t salt
3T fennel seeds
 
1c chopped chocolate
.5t oil
    • Oven to 375˚ Grease 2 cookie sheets or line with parchment

 

 
In medium bowl combine the first 5 ingredients and stir well to combine
 
In larger bowl sift together flour, salt and bp. Add the fennel seeds
 
Pour the wet into the dry and stir to combine. The dough will be stiff.
 
Divide in half and make logs about 3″ wide and ~1″ high and place one in the middle of each baking sheet.
 
Bake the logs for approx 25 mins until golden brown and only slightly yield when pressed in the middle. You do want a baked cookie, but not overly so. Remove from oven and set aside.
 
Leaving the oven on allow the logs to cool until you are able to handle them.
 
With a sharp serrated knife cut the log into slices and lay flat on the trays.
 
Return the sheet trays to the oven for ~6mins until toasted, then remove, flip the cookies and bake again until the tops are a golden brown.
 
For the chocolate
 
Place chopped dark chocolate into microwavable bowl.
 
Melt on high for ~1 min then stir. If it needs more give it another 15 sec jolt. Do not over heat the chocolate. Allow the warm chocolate to melt the last of the bits. Be patient.
 
Add oil and stir into the chocolate.
 
Dip the cool cookies in the chocolate and set on wax paper or parchment lined cookie sheets.
 
Pop into fridge until set.
 
This will not yield a “snappy” chocolate. If when left at room temp the chocolate gets too soft store leftover cookies in a covered container in the fridge. 
 
Otherwise store uneaten cookies in a covered container- such as a pretty cookie jar until they are all gone and you are compelled to make another batch.