Peppermint Biscotti

If you’re anything like me, each holiday has its own flavor. Peppermint is the flavor I associate with Christmas, so I usually try to mix it in to whatever I’m baking. This was the case with my red velvet whoopie pies from yesterday.

A few years ago, I discovered this peppermint biscotti recipe. Since my grandma doesn’t like us to get her anything, I usually end up baking her something. She’s a fan of her daily coffee, so what’s better than a sweet treat to accompany that coffee? Exactly, nothing.

Alas, peppermint biscotti was born. I was always intimidated by biscotti, but it’s really quite simple to make. The tricked out version of this biscotti includes a chocolate dip and peppermint pieces on top of that. The simple version is just the biscotti with peppermint pieces mixed in. All versions are delicious – it just depends on how sweet of a treat you’re looking for – whether you want breakfast or dessert.

This has become one of my holiday baking staples. Give it a try! If you’re a peppermint fan, you’ll love it!

Peppermint Biscotti

Yield: 42 biscotti

Ingredients:
3/4 cup butter (no substitutes), softened
3/4 cup sugar
3 eggs
2 teaspoons peppermint extract
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup crushed peppermint candy

2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
2 tablespoons shortening
1/2 cup crushed peppermint candy

Directions:

  1. In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in extract.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and salt; stir in peppermint candy.
  3. Gradually add to creamed mixture, beating until blended (dough will be stiff).
  4. Divide dough in half.
  5. On an ungreased baking sheet, roll each portion into a 12-in. x 2-1/2-in. rectangle.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees F for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Carefully remove to wire racks; cool for 15 minutes.
  7. Transfer to a cutting board; cut diagonally with a sharp knife into 1/2-in. slices.
  8. Place cut side down on ungreased baking sheets. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until firm. Remove to wire racks to cool.** Biscotti can be finished at this point, or they can be dipped in chocolate and rolled in peppermint pieces. See the following step for the latter. **
  9. In a microwave safe bowl, melt chocolate chips and shortening; stir until smooth.
  10. Dip one end of each cookie in chocolate; roll in candy. Place on waxed paper until set.

Chocolate Covered Pretzels

With Christmas only 10 days away, I’m sure many of you are scrambling to get all your shopping and baking done. If you need something quick, easy, and delicious to add to your holiday cookie trays, look no further!

Hanover sells their yummy Hershey’s covered pretzels this time of year (October – April to be exact). And though they are delicious, they’re also so easy to make yourself. It’s hard for me to buy something so simple to make. Plus, I like making them myself so I can control the combinations of chocolate.

 

I tend to decorate my chocolate covered pretzels with more chocolate, but they can easily be spruced up with some holiday sprinkles if you prefer. I also go for the big sourdough or pretzel rod variety rather than the little twists. No matter how you decide to make these, you can’t go wrong: chocolate and pretzels are the perfect pairing!

Chocolate Covered Pretzels
Yield: 2 dozen

Ingredients:
12 oz. chocolate (dark, milk, semisweet, white…I prefer semisweet)
1 tbsp shortening
2 dozen pretzel rods or large twists
Assorted sprinkles or candies (optional)
4oz. chocolate for decorating (optional)

Directions:
1. Prepare a baking sheet with aluminum foil, parchment paper, or waxed paper

2. In a saucepan or double-broiler, melt the 12 oz. of chocolate with the shortening. Stir the chocolate constantly and make sure not to burn it.

3. Dip your pretzels in the chocolate, and shake off the excess. Put them on your prepared baking sheet.

4. If using sprinkles or candies, make sure to sprinkle them on before the chocolate sets.

5. If using chocolate as a decoration, wait until the first coat of chocolate sets, and make sure the entire pretzel is set before serving.

 

Teething Bling

I never thought I’d be so excited about getting jewelry that my little guy can gnaw on. What have I become?! Seriously though, I’m REALLY hoping I get some teething bling for Christmas this year (hint hint). Noah is so fascinated with whatever jewelry I have on, so I’d prefer him to drool all over some pendants or beads that are made just for that purpose (BPA free, of course). The added bonus is that they’re fairly fashionable.

I’ve found a couple of websites that offer teething jewelry. One comes recommended from my brother-in-law’s sister. She wore these almost every day when her daughter was teething and loved them! The have an impressive list of positive press on their website, too. I think they’re all (or mostly) this pendant style, so if you’re into that style, then you’re in luck.

This other website is similar, but their jewelry is more beads and less pendants. They have different styles of beaded necklaces and bracelets, and also have a nice collection of positive press. I don’t know anybody who has any of this jewelry, but it look pretty awesome. 

Do any of you mamas out there have any teething jewelry? If so, what do you recommend (or NOT recommend)?