Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Christmas notes

I love the holidays but I do tend to over-do it. The past week I have been cooking, cleaning, traveling, and attending holiday events like a crazy person. I took yesterday and today off to try and rest up for my flight back to the states Wednesday.

My choral group sang on Sunday at the Pittville Pump Room in Cheltenham. It is a beautiful Regency style building. There were two new members so I ended up having to make more capes this year. As usual I put it off until the last minutes ...literally. I was hemming the last cape as I drank my Sunday morning coffee!

I have made dozens of cookies this past week. My mint chocolate chip, lemon sugar, spice, coconut biscotti, and toffee cookies were loaded into bags and given out to neighbors this week. Somehow I also gained 3 pounds! The photo on the top is a loaf (prior to slicing for second baking) of my favorite biscotti. My family calls it California holiday biscotti. Here's the recipe.

1/4 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
2-1/4 cups flour
1-1/2 teaspoons aniseed
1 teaspoon fennel seed
1 cup dried cranberries
3/4 cup whole shelled pistachios
1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped
egg wash

Beat butter in a mixing bowl for 30 seconds. add sugar, baking powder, and salt. Stir together eggs, vanilla, and almond extract. Beat into butter mixture. Beat in the flour until stiff. Stir in the anise, fennel seeds, cranberries, pistachios and apricots. Turn mixture out onto a lightly floured board and lightly knead in the remaining flour. Cover and refrigerate for a couple of hours or until easy to handle.

Divide mixture into thirds. Shape each into a log 1-1/2 by 12 inches long. Place the logs 3-inches apart on greased cookie sheets. Pat each log to 3/4-inch thick. Brush with egg wash (one egg beaten with a tablespoon of water.) Bake in a 350 degree oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until light brown. Remove from oven and cool for at least one hour. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees.

Place cookie logs on a cutting board. Cut diagonally into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Place vertically on a cookie sheet; bake for 5-8 minutes.

I did finish a couple of table runners as Christmas gifts. I was so tired I forgot to take photos before I wrapped them!

I just started reading A Thousand Splendid Suns. I really enjoyed his first book The Kite Runner.


atet said...

You can overdo it for the holidays? Hmmnn...I'll have to make a note of that. Have a great trip to the states and for goodness sake, make sure to take care of yourself!

anne bebbington said...

I just picked up 'The Kite Runner' yesterday - looking forward to snuggling up with it over the Christmas break. Have a good trip to the States and don't do too much

McIrish Annie said...

take it easy! you don't want to be exhausted for your trip stateside. Don't forget your DD coffee for the trip home!!

julieQ said...

mmmm, sounds yummy good biscotti!!
Christmas wears us all out a little, right? I am glad to be almost done.

Merry Christmas!!


Nines said...

Merry Christmas!!