Every year, as December approaches, I start planning my annual Christmas Cookie Collection, the assortment of baked treats that my husband takes to his various staff and colleagues at work, as part of the gift exchange there. No matter what one’s religion, there’s always room on one’s faith for a home-made cookie or twelve. Some recipes remain on the list from year to year, while others come and go. One of my favourite parts of the whole cookie-baking-extravaganza is the licence to experiment with new and wonderful treats, whether from the newspaper’s cookie calendar, from cookbooks, or from my imagination.
(For some recipes from a few years ago, see this old post here.)
This year, as I started my baking, I realized that I had not done the shopping trip necessary to procure all my ingredients, but the need to bake was strong. And so I took stock of what was in my pantry and got creative. I love cooking foods from different cultures around the world, and I also enjoy mixing cuisines and traditions. I’m sure I’ve mentioned before that my favourite Chanukah treats aren’t latkes or sufganiyot (jelly-filled doughnuts), but samosas! With that in mind, this is what I did.
I had some crystallized ginger that my son brought home a few weeks previous, and my spice rack is always full and expansive. And so I thought – Chai Biscotti with chopped ginger inside! I mixed and I stirred and I tasted and adjusted, and the results were so yummy that I had to make a second batch to take along to a family gathering yesterday. These are great in tea, coffee, and even hot chocolate.
I hope you enjoy them as much as we do.
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1 TBSP baking powder
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 2 tsp ground cardamom
- 1 tsp allspice
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves
- 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup crystallized ginger (candied ginger), chopped into small pieces
- 3-1/4 cups all-purpose or pastry flour
- 2 TSBP white chocolate for the drizzle (optional)
In a sturdy mixer, beat the eggs and sugar until the mixture is light and a bit frothy. Carefully pour in the oil, mixing thoroughly to incorporate. Add the baking powder and spices, and then mix in the flour and ginger, till well-blended, but not mixing more than necessary.
Prepare a baking sheet with some parchment paper or a silicon sheet, and preheat the oven to 375F. Separate the biscotti dough into two equal (or as close as you can manage without stressing out about it) portions, and shape each blob of dough into a long log, about 3 inches wide and half an inch high. This is a lot easier with damp hands, because the dough is sticky!
Bake at 375F for 25-30 minutes. Remove from oven, but leave the oven on. As soon as you can handle the baked logs, slice them carefully crosswise into biscuits about 1/2 inch across. Arrange the slices on the cookie sheet (and you’ll probably need a second one as well), so they’re standing upright, with about a half-inch to an inch between them. Return to the oven and bake again (“biscotti” means “baked twice”) for another 10 minutes.
When they’re out of the oven, if you like a drizzle, melt the white chocolate carefully with a scant teaspoon of veggie oil, and using the tines of a fork, scoop up some chocolate and let it drizzle across the cooling biscotti. Do not eat in a single sitting.