Sugar and spice and everything nice, that’s what holidays are made of. I can’t imagine holiday baking without the aromatic fragrances that our favorite spices provide. Spices are derived from plants. You probably are aware that cinnamon is bark and ginger is a root but, did you know that cloves are flower buds and nutmeg is a seed? And, allspice is not a blend of spices as its name implies. Allspice is actually derived from berries of an evergreen tree in the myrtle family (native to Jamaica, Honduras and Guatemala).
I have made several different flavors of biscotti over the years from the traditional, such as, lemon biscotti and pignoli, to my inspired creations of espresso and pistachio and candied orange, to name just a few. This year, I wanted to create a spice cookie for someone special. I hope he enjoys eating them as much I have enjoyed the intoxicating aroma that filled the house with these warm wintry spices! In my opinion, all biscotti are great with coffee but, this spice cookie is especially good with a cup of hot cocoa.
- 2 1/4 cups flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 3/4 teaspoon ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon allspice
- 1/4 teaspoon cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 4 ounces unsalted butter, softened
- 3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
- 3 eggs
- 2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 cup pecans or walnuts, toasted and chopped
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder and spices.
- In another bowl, cream the butter and sugar and then add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla.
- Combine the butter mixture with the flour and spices. Stir in the pecans.
- Cover and refrigerate for an hour (or overnight) to firm up. (I take the batter out of the bowl and wrap in plastic wrap and flatten it. It takes up less room in the refrigerator and is easier to form into logs. When I remove the plastic, I cut the dough in half lengthwise and then in half again, creating four strips of dough).
- On parchment-lined baking sheets, take a strip of dough and shape it into a log 12 x 2-inches and then flatten slightly (see Anise Biscotti for pictures on shaping and slicing logs). Repeat with the remaining strips of dough, placing only 2 logs on each pan, as they will spread.
- Bake in a 350*oven on the middle rack for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool. Bake the other cookie sheet.
- Once the logs are cool to the touch, carefully place on a cutting board. Using a sharp knife, cut diagonally into 1/2-inch slices. Arrange close together (cut-side down) and bake 20 minutes. Remove from oven and turn cookies over and then bake (make sure oven hasn’t cooled down) an additional 5-10 minutes, until biscotti are a deep golden brown. Store in airtight container.