Chocolate Crinkles

chocolate crinklesThese soft, fudgy chocolate cookies are really great for Christmas. They are best eaten on the same day they’re made.

Ingredients
4 tbsp (56g) butter
8oz (230g) semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup white sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1-1/2 cups flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
powdered sugar for rolling

Instructions

Melt butter and chocolate together.

Beat eggs and sugar together with an electric mixer until pale, thick, and fluffy (about 3-5 minutes). Add the vanilla. Combine with the chocolate.

Whisk together flour, salt, and baking powder. Add to chocolate mixture and mix until combined.

Chill for several hours or overnight until it hardens into a dough.

Form balls of about 1 tbsp, roll in powdered sugar (make sure to cover the chocolate dough completely), and place on baking sheets. Bake at 325F (165C) for 8-10 minutes.

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Cranberry Almond Biscotti

biscottiThese were the first biscotti I learned to make. Since then I’ve adapted this recipe to make several other flavors, so feel free to experiment! For bakers in Japan, these cookies are terrific because they use oil instead of butter.

Ingredients
2 tbsp olive oil
6 tbsp sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp almond extract
1 egg
1 cup flour
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/3 cup almonds, chopped (50g or 1.75 oz)
1/4 cup dried cranberries, chopped

Instructions

Mix olive oil, sugar, vanilla, and almond extract in a bowl. Add egg and mix well. Add flour, salt, and baking powder and mix until combined. Batter may be thick. Add almonds and cranberries and mix until evenly spread through the batter.

Spread batter onto a baking sheet in a log shape, about 30cm / 12 in long and 12cm / 5 in wide. Bake at 150 C (300 F) for 35 minutes.

Remove from the oven and let cool for about 10 minutes. Slice diagonally with a sharp knife. You can make them as thin or thick as you like, but if they are too thin they tend to break in half, so be careful.

Lay the sliced biscotti on their sides, and bake again at 130 C (275 F) for 10 to 15 minutes until dry.

Traditionally, biscotti are eaten dipped into tea, coffee, cocoa, or wine, but they are also delicious on their own.

As I mentioned, you can make almost unlimited flavors of biscotti. Here are some of the combinations I have tried myself (but I have lots of other ideas, so be creative!). I think it’s best to have some kind of nut for the crunch, and I usually use dried fruit. You can add a citrus flavor with fresh orange or lemon zest. Some people also put chocolate in the batter or dip the bottom of the finished biscotti in chocolate, but I haven’t tried it.

– almond
– almond/cranberry
– almond/orange
– blueberry/lemon/lavender/walnut
– pistachio/cranberry
– banana walnut