I just got back from playing Santa. By that I mean I drove to the houses of several friends, knowing they would not be home (except for one who had to help me out with a spare key because I had locked myself out of the house). Anyway, I drove to their houses and left gifts on their porches. Each friend got a little bag with two homemade biscotti and either coffee, tea, chai, or hot chocolate, depending on their tastes.
I like to give my friends little gifts, just enough to show them I value their friendship but not enough to make them feel bad, because really, we don't exchange gifts. I thought cookies and something nice to dunk them in was a fair choice.
Here is the biscotti recipes I used.
Bittersweet Chocolate almond Biscotti
3 c. flour, plus more for dusting
2 teaspoons baking powder
pinch of salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup sugar, plus 1/4 cup for sprinkling
2 teaspoons vanilla
4 large eggs
8 oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1/2 cup slivered, blanched almonds
Preheat oven to 375 F.
Sift together flour, baking powder, salt. Set aside.
With an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and 1 cup sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add vanilla and 3 of the eggs, one at a time until combined. Reduce speed to low and add the dry ingredients, 1/2 cup at a time, mixing until each addition is fully incorporated. Stir in the chocolate and almonds.
Divide dough and place on a lightly floured surface. Roll and pat each half into a rectangle approx. 3 x 16 inches, and place on a lightly greased baking sheet. In a small bowl, beat the remaining egg lightly. Brush the dough with the beaten egg and sprinkle with sugar.
Bake for 25 minutes. Cool for 30 minutes and remove from sheet to cutting board. Using a bread knife, slice crosswise on the diagonal into 3/4 inch slices. Return to baking sheet cut side down. Bake until the biscotti begins to brown around the edges, about 10-12 minutes more. Cool on wire racks.
Note: after they cool, I like to drizzle them with melted white chocolate. Since white chocolate is not always cooperative, it helps to add some heavy cream in the melting process.