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Cookies - Biscotti

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This traditional Czech pastry is one of the very first yeast recipes I ever tried. It is good with any filling but I prefer apricot jam or cherry pie filling. Many recipes for kolache dough exist but it is inevitably variations on a sweet, supple dough, often with sour cream in it. Kolache fillings can also be savory (such as shredded cabbage). This is a round of dough with an indentation. The indentation cradles the fruit filling. Pretty to look at and great with a pot of spice tea. Enjoy.

Some folks swoon for chocolate; I swoon for apricots. This biscotti features Californian dried apricots, or cut up apricot leather (I purchase mine in Middle Easter food shops) and is laced with peach schnapps, apricot liqueur or apricot nectar and orange juice. It is sweet, tart, and pretty enough as a gift. Baking with liqueurs is always interesting and this method of dipping the baked biscotti into juice or wine and then sugar and re-baking, is one I favour. It makes something that is already special, spectacular.

If you prefer, you may substitute raisins for the chocolate and add chopped nuts. If you are not serving these for a Seder supper, I would strongly suggest you use butter. What else could you call such a cookie that tastes like a gourmet chocolate chip cookie and yet, miraculously, is 'ok' to eat at Passover?
This is what gets you through Passover week.....the perfect sweet nosh.

Dough scraps, a bit of sugar and some cinnamon make for tasty cookies.Dust in some cocoa, or a minced chocolate or toffee crunch bar, and you have pie dough cookies with an attitude. Kids love to pitch in to make (and devour) these. I never wait for pie dough scraps to make these; I make a batch of pie dough expressly for these cookies. Awesome cookie/pastry that are amazingly good keepers.

Almonds take the lead in this amazingly intense almond biscotti. These are easy but elegant and stuffed with almonds. The top surface has a little sheen or candy-like glaze.  Make them big as gifts or little for cookie treat when friends drop by. This is truly my best almond biscotti. My baker's trick? I use a combination of both pure and artificial almond extract for the most intense almond taste possible.

Chunks of banana, scattersings of granola or mueslix cereal, a few toffee chips are all laced together in this brown sugar, honey, and nutty biscotti. The aroma is pure and comforting like grandma-style banana bread but with a crunch (plus you can dip this banana sweetie in your latte; you can't do that with a slice of banana bread). The chunks of banana seem to melt during baking into pockets of banana/toffee goodness.

 My Bavarian cookie is a homey sugar cookie that is gently crisp, crunchy but not hard or snappy. It is as comforting as a Bavarian grandmother who is also the best village baker. The addition of toasted almonds adds to the bouquet of flavor but the nuts are optional if you prefer a nut free sugar cookie. The real trick is cream of tartar and baking soda. Together, those leaveners create freshly-made baking powder (versus store bought). Using this fresh leavening results in a unique tender crunchiness that makes this cookie so special.

Gar, is this good! Nippy cheddar, a packet of dry cheddar powder from a pantry box of Mac ‘N Cheese, beer, Dijon and a shot of Tabasco make these the perfect foil to holiday cocktails, ale, or simply Perrier and cranberry juice. If you slice thin shavings of the log and bake it the second time to crisp – the shavings do nicely as crostini (instead of dry toasts). I used a sharp Canadian cheddar or a great American cheddar (Cabot is a great choice) for these gift-able, savoury biscotti. As for the beer, any great Canadian beer will do but Labatt's is a classic.

Easy to handle, and adaptable to all sorts of handling and additions (miniature chocolate chips, different extracts, finely ground nuts, spices, etc.) this is another 'little black dress' of cookie recipes to have around. If you want a really sandy texture, use a small proportion of shortening to replace the butter.This does double duty as an Xmas or Hanukah cut out cookie.

Size does matter. Trust us. Huge mounds of cookie dough makes for chewy, crisp, great cookies. One batch should make you a legend. (if you manage to share these!)

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