In my house, holiday baking has become quite the production. It requires a huge amount of time, energy, and organization. I tend to make about five different treats to include in the bags for the sake of variety. Then there is always the matter of making enough batches of each item so that every goody bag gets a decent amount. I end up doing a lot of math – not my favorite. I’m actually thinking of changing my game plan for next year, and spreading it out over the course of a week, working on one item each day.
Biscotti are one treat that I include in the bags every year. Though the flavor varies, I think it’s ideal for several reasons. First, they are easy to make. When you make this many gift bags, the treats need to be on the easier side to keep it manageable. Second, the biscotti keep very well, making them greatl for giving away and shipping when necessary. Finally, they are a lovely compliment to the bags of hot cocoa mix included in each bag. I considered a multitude of flavors of biscotti, and when I consulted Ben, the choice was made instantly – peanut butter chocolate biscotti. This classic flavor pair is irresistible to a lot of people, and there was nothing else peanut buttery in the bags. Thank goodness for the corner pieces of biscotti. We were very happy to get to sample a few of these ourselves.
For those readers who have been asking, the final breakdown of my holiday baking went like this:
Vanilla Bean Caramels – 2 batches
Peppermint Brownies – 4 large pans
Hot Chocolate Mix – 2 batches
French Butter Cookies – 5-6 batches
Peanut Butter Chocolate Biscotti – 3 batches
I hope everyone is having as much fun in their kitchens as I am this month. It’s tiring, but so fun and so worth it!
Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Biscotti
Yield: about 30 biscotti
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
6 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
¾ cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
3 large eggs
1 cup mini chocolate chips (or chopped dark chocolate)
Additional chocolate, for drizzling (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350˚ F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Whisk to blend. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the butter, peanut butter and sugar. Beat on medium-high speed until fluffy and smooth, 1-2 minutes. Blend in the vanilla. Beat in the eggs one at a time, scraping down the bowl as needed between additions. With the mixer on low speed, blend in the dry ingredients just until incorporated. Stir in the chocolate chips or chocolate chunks until evenly distributed.
Divide the dough in half. Shape into logs on the prepared baking sheet, about 11- by 3-inches in size, spacing at least 3 inches apart. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven while maintaining the oven temperature. Let the logs cool for 10 minutes. Slice the logs diagonally into slices about ½- to ¾-inch thick. Lay the slices, cut side down, on the baking sheet. Bake, turning once, until the slices are slightly crisp, about 20-30 minutes more. Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool completely. If desired, drizzle cooled biscotti with additional melted chocolate. Let set before serving.