Pick your descriptive word, this is the time of year a lot of us bake stuff, mostly sweet stuff. Today is extra cold here, high in the low 30's and blustery so it's a great day to bake. Once these photos hit Facebook I got recipe requests so here are 3 of my FAVORITE recipes I love to bake this time of year.
CRANBERRY PISTACHIO BISCOTTI
1 1/3 cups dried cranberries, Craisins, about 1/4 pound
2 1/2 cups unbleached flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup shelled pistachio nuts
Egg Wash: one large egg and 1 teaspoon water
In a small bowl combine cranberries with enough hot water to cover and let soak for 5 minutes. Drain cranberries and pat dry with paper towels.
In bowl of electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment blend dry ingredients until well combined. Add eggs one at a time and the vanilla, beating until dough is formed. Stir in cranberries and pistachios. Turn dough out on floured surface--it will be very sticky. Knead it several times and halve it.
With floured hands form each half of dough into a flattish log 13" long and 2" wide. Arrange the logs at least 3" apart on a lightly greased cookie sheet OR use parchment paper or a silicone baking sheet. Brush logs with egg wash. NOTE: DON'T FORGET THIS STEP, I OFTEN DO!
Bake in the middle of preheated 325 degree oven for 30 minutes.
Remove from oven and cool on baking sheet on a rack for 10 minutes. After cooling, on a cutting board, cut the logs crosswise on the diagonal into 3/4" slices. Arrange biscotti, cut sides down, on the baking sheet and bake in 325 degree oven for 10 minutes. Turn them over and bake for an additional 10 minutes or until pale golden. Transfer to racks to cool and store in a airtight container. Makes about 36 biscotti.
I received this recipe from a good friend, Sharon S., and the first time I made them she came over and we did a baking day together. That was fun and I learned how to make them with her help. It's really easy and now I make them every year.
PUMPKIN CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES
1/2 cup butter or margarine 2 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 cup sugar 1 teaspoon baking powder
1 egg 1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup canned pumpkin 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla 1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)
Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg, pumpkin, and vanilla. Mix together dry ingredients; add to creamed mixture, mix well. Add chocolate chips and nuts.
Drop by teaspoon onto well-greased cookie sheets OR use parchment paper or silicone baking sheets. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes, or until lightly browned. Remove from cookie sheets while still warm. Makes about 6 dozen. NOTE: I double this recipe and chill the dough when first made, as it is really soft. These cookies freeze well.
NOW, HERE are my MOST FAVORITE COOKIE OF ALL:
2 egg whites, room temperature 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon Cream of Tarter 1 6 oz. package Chocolate Chips
1/8 teaspoon Salt 1 cup broken or chopped pecans
2/3 cup Sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat egg whites, cream of tarter and vanilla. Add sugar gradually and beat until sugar is dissolved--this may take 15 minutes. Add remaining ingredients. Drop by teaspoon on ungreased cookie sheets OR use parchment paper or silicon baking sheet. Place ALL the cookie sheets in the oven at one time. TURN OFF THE OVEN IMMEDIATELY. Leave them overnight to dry out, in other words, "forget about them" until mornng. Makes about 5 dozen. Use food coloring if you wish, to make pink, blue, red, green, etc. cookies.
NOTE: I make these two or three times each year because they are so easy. As I am preparing dinner, I separate the egg whites from yolks when eggs are cold, let the whites come to room temperature while we eat dinner, and I discard the yolks. After dinner I mix the cookies and put in the oven, clean up the kitchen and "forget 'em" until morning. These store well in the freezer.
We all have our favorite recipes, and I will make a few more different kinds but these are the first 3 I make each year. I'll need an extra few minutes on the elliptical trainer today!