Sunday, November 19, 2006

Let the Holiday Baking Commence!

Due to the flurry of activity surrounding my move this fall, I didn't get my usual jump start on holiday baking. So as Thanksgiving draws closer, it's time for me to haul out the recipes, the pans and parchment paper, and all manner of cookie ingredients.

I like to start off the baking with biscotti thanks to its marvelous keeping quality. (You know, they're supposed to be stale! Well, maybe not quite stale, but certainly harder than the average cookie.) I have a handful of worthy biscotti recipes, but for the past couple of years, I've stuck to two favorites.

The first of these, ginger-pecan biscotti, became today's culinary mission. Full of bright ginger flavor from ground ginger and bits of the crystallized version, chock full of pecans and butter, these small morsels tend to be less tooth-breakingly hard than other biscotti, making them my favorite. So after breakfast, I mixed the dough and shaped it into two logs, placing them onto a parchment-covered cookie sheet.

After the first baking, I let the logs cool for about 15 minutes before I sliced them and laid the slices on the same baking sheet for another round in the oven.

I always have problems with the edges or other crumbs falling off the biscotti as I slice them, but that usually gives me plenty of morsels to nosh on while the biscotti go through the second baking. And for that reason, I can reassure you that though small, these goodies are up to their usual high standard of excellent flavor.

I'll have to start pulling out tins and boxes one of these days so that I can start assembling Christmas packages. I've got plenty more cookies and biscotti and baklava to bake over the coming weeks.

But for today, this biscotti makes a great start.


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