Monday, December 27, 2010

Buon Natale!

That's Italian for Merry Christmas. Yes, I totally typed it in freetranslation.com. Four semesters of Italian in college, an Italian father, a thorough viewing of the Godfather trilogy, and great-grandparents "off the boat" and I have to look up "Merry Christmas" from a free translation site. Nevertheless, we had a wonderful Natale Italiano with my family.

 Some delicious appetizers (yes, mostly olives, we are an olive eating family, which is usually weird for people outside the family). This was followed by baked ziti, meatballs and sausage. Yum!

No Italian meal is complete without some Biscotti.

Biscotti, are those hard cookies that are perfect to be dunked in coffee, hot chocolate or milk! There is always a bunch sitting at the register at Starbucks. But, these are better, if I do say so myself.



Loads of Chocolate Biscotti
From Brown Eyed Baker

-2 cups all-purpose flour
-½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
-2 tablespoons instant espresso powder
-¾ teaspoon baking soda
-½ teaspoon baking powder
-1 teaspoon salt
-6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
-1 cup sugar
-2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
-1 cup white chocolate chips
-4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
-Sugar, for dusting

Preheat oven to 350.

In a bowl sift together the flour, cocoa, espresso powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt.

In a separate bowl beat the butter and sugar together on medium speed until pale, about 2 minutes.  Add the eggs and vanilla and beat for another 2 minutes. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients in 3 additions, mixing only until a dough forms. Mix in the chocolate, then turn the dough out onto a clean work surface.

Divide the dough in half.  Roll each section of the dough into 12-inch-long logs. Flatten both logs with the palm of your hand, so that they are ½ to 1 inch high, about 2 inches across and sort of rectangular, then carefully lift the logs onto the baking sheet. Sprinkle each log with a little sugar.

Bake the logs for about 25 minutes, or until they are just slightly firm. The logs will crack a little. Remove the baking sheet from the oven, put it on a cooling rack and cool the logs for about 20 minutes.

Once the logs are cool, cut the log into slices using a long serrated knife. The slices should be between ½ and ¾ inch thick. Stand the slices up on the baking sheet and place in the oven (still at 350 degrees) baking the cookies for 10 minutes.

Remove cookies from the oven and cool. They are suppose to be crunchy. 

Enjoy with a cup of coffee.

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