Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Holiday Treats ft. Cinnamon Sugar Walnut Biscotti & Matcha Pistachio Cookies

2014 holiday treats for family and coworkers

Cinnamon Sugar Walnut Biscotti


Matcha Pistachio Cookies

Biscotti makes the perfect gifts any holiday season.

Reasons being they are
  1. Almost fool proof
  2. Quick
  3. Makes plenty in one batch
  4. Tasty
  5. Travels well
  6. Long shelf life
  7. Crumbs are delicious!
I made these the night before xmas eve after work and had them pack and ready before bed time. They are really simple to put together and very enjoyable to eat plain or with coffee. This recipe yields biscotti that are softer and more tender than other recipes I've tried. 

wet and dry mix
two logs formed
post cinnamon sugar sprinkle
baked, cooling for slice and second bake

sliced and sprinkled with more cinnamon sugar
eat crumbs while biscotti are back in the oven
all done!

Cinnamon Sugar Walnut Biscotti
recipe adapted from Bon Appetit
makes about 24 pieces

2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sugar*
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup chopped walnut

1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten

1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. Mix flour, 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon, baking powder and salt in medium bowl to blend.
3. Using electric mixer, beat 1/2 cup sugar and butter in large bowl until fluffy.
4. Add 1 egg; beat well. Add egg yolk; beat well. Mix in vanilla, then dry ingredients and walnut.
5. Transfer dough to work surface. Divide in half.
6. Shape each half into 9-inch-long, 1 1/2-inch-wide log. Transfer logs to baking sheets.
7. Brush the tops and sides of the logs with the beaten egg. In a small bowl combine the cinnamon and sugar for the topping, then sprinkle about 2/3 of it generously on the logs.
8. Bake until the logs are golden and slightly firm to the touch, about 40-45 minutes. Cool on baking sheets. Maintain oven temperature.
9. Once the logs are cool enough to handle, use a serrated knife to cut each log into 1/2-wide slices on the diagonal.
10. Place the biscotti cut-side down on the baking sheet and sprinkle with the remaining cinnamon-sugar topping.
11. Bake the biscotti again until pale golden, about 10-15 minutes. Remove and cool on wire racks.

I found the reduced sugar in the dough itself necessary since these are sprinkled generously with cinnamon sugar. The amount of topping made was definitely more than enough and can be saved to make another batch!

Taste: 4 stars out of 5
not too sweet with reduced sugar, nice cinnamon sugar-ness
Texture: 4 stars out of 5
soft crisp, buttery

Matcha Pistachio Cookies
recipe adapted from Mango Power Girl
makes about 17 cookies

1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/6 cup granulated sugar + 1/6 cup raw sugar
1/2 cup roughly chopped medium pieces of pistachio
1 tablespoon matcha powder

1. Preheat oven to 325 F.
2. Mix flour, baking powder, and salt in medium bowl.
3. Using a mixer, beat butter and sugar in large bowl until smooth.
4.Beat in pistachios and matcha. Beat in flour mixture until just combined.
(If dough too dry, add a few drops of water or milk.)
5. Scoop out little balls with a tiny cookie scoop.
6. Bake cookies until light golden brown around edges, about 15-20 minutes depending on your oven.
7. Cool on baking sheet 5 minutes. Transfer to rack; cool cookies completely.

fluffy butter and sugar mixture
beat in pistachio and matcha powder
flattened after 4 mins into baking

I was surprised when these matcha pistachio cookies did not show any sign of flattening 4 minutes into baking. I decided to take them out and flatten them with my fingers. The dough really held its shape and barely spread. If I were to make this recipe again, I would shape these into much smaller disc shape before baking. This recipe also made way less than I expected. 

Taste: 3 stars out of 5
faint/non existent matcha notes, salty (reduce amt of salt next)
Texture: 4 stars out of 5
buttery, crumbly and dissolves

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