One of the best parts about the holiday season is all of the baking and all of the sharing of treats. I love to bake every single day of the year, but at Christmas it’s more fun to share baked goods, since people seem to be a little less concerned about calories =)
A fun way to share (and receive treats) is through the annual Food Blogger Cookie Swap. You sign up, and you receive the names of three bloggers to send cookies to, and then you receive cookies from three different bloggers. I sent cookies to Kelly (Running Blonde), Kimberly (Mammy2Grammy) & Lisa (Cooking With Curls).
Once I received my matches, it was time to pick the right cookie. One thing I’ve learned as a military spouse & the (self proclaimed) Queen of Care Packages is that you need a sturdy cookie. Like biscotti. I had tried to make biscotti once before and it didn’t work very well. So I found a recipe that sounded amazing, adapted it a smidge, and was completely blown away by it. The test batch I made… Graham & I devoured it in about two days.
Chocolate Dipped Caramel Biscotti
- ½ C unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2/3 C granulated sugar
- 1½ tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp coarse sea salt
- 2 large eggs; room temperature
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2¼ C all purpose flour
- ¾ C Kraft caramel bites
- 2 cups of milk chocolate chips
- coarse sea salt
- Preheat oven to 375ºF.
- Beat butter in large bowl with a mixer for about 30 seconds then add sugar, baking powder, salt & beat until thoroughly combined. Add eggs and vanilla extract & beat until just combined. Slowly add in the flour, and when it is just combined, fold in the caramel bites.
- Divide dough into half. On a lightly floured surface, with floured hands shape the dough into two logs about 10″ x 2″. Place dough 3″ apart onto a cookie sheet lined parchment paper.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the top is lightly browned. Cool pan on a wire rack for 20 minutes. (It’s important to let it cool otherwise it will crumble and break if you try to cut it while hot)
- Reduce oven temperature to 300º. Using a serrated knife, cut each roll diagonally into ½ inch thick slices.
- Place slices cut side up on the cookie sheet about ½ inches apart and bake for 12- 15 minutes. Cool biscotti on wire racks.
- Place medium glass bowl over a pot of simmering water. Make sure that the water is not touching the bowl. Add chocolate to bowl and stir until chocolate has melted. Turn off heat and dip the biscotti into the chocolate. Place dipped biscotti onto a lined cookie sheet. While chocolate is still wet, sprinkle each with a pinch of sea salt.
And what’s even better than giving cookies? GETTING cookies! And I received excellent cookies this year! I received caramel stuffed apple cider cookies from How to be Awesome on $20 a day
, Sicilian almond paste cookies from Solano’s Kitchen
& cardamom orange mocha brownies from Sweet Anna’s
. All were so, so good! The caramel apple cider cookies were amazing! The cider flavor was so intense. The almond cookies were amazing. The flavor was incredible, and the texture was different, but perfect. They were light & crispy on the outside, and so soft on the inside. The brownies were equally amazing. The brownies were rich, moist & delicious. The flavors of the orange & the cardamom were present, but not overwhelming.
Everything that I received was amazing, and I’m so excited for next years cookie swap!