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Cookies - Biscotti

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Use big flake oatmeal for best results. These are golden and amazing. Course you know oatmeal is one of 12 best foods for you? Is truffles on the list? Ah gee.

Like the crunch of biscotti but want a savory (salty) munch instead? These are sort of like wine-and-cheese sticks, vino et fromaggio: tender/crisp bites that are nicely eaten, out of hand, with a glass of wine or punch, while you are waiting for dinner to be ready or want a bite with a friend. This is a good gift (with a bottle of Chianti, special olive oil and a hunk of imported Parmesan) or a great cocktail hour nibble. These are humble looking but tasty enough for some gourmet food company to come calling for the recipe.

I love the crumbly texture, deep yellow colour, and intense almond flavor of those almond cookies that Chinese restaurants offer. It was a natural then for me to take those high points and reconfigure it all into a crisp, dense, satisfying biscotti. Use the smaller amount of yellow food colouring to see how deep a yellow you prefer for your cookies.

Just like the restaurant cookies: big, dramatic, with wrinkled sides.

Paneforte or ‘strong bread’ is a delicious, candied confection, more than a cake. It dates back to the Crusades and is a predecessor of modern day fruitcake.It is often available in Italian food stores at Christmas but you can make one anytime. This version has a lovely hint of chocolate and a bite of extra spice – it is dense and chewy, and nicely studded with chunky whole almonds in each bite.

I am smitten by dollar stores, you know, those stores that everything but the kitchen sink and all for a dollar or two. Great last minute gift place and discount shampoo place. A stroll through the candy aisle usually reveals something I can dump into a quick biscotti, especially at the holidays, when seasonal candy is on display. This recipe could use chopped up anything including Mars bars, or Snickers, Hershey Bars, Mint Patties, chocolate covered cherries or any sort of toffee. Just chop and dump. This makes a big batch of sharing biscotti so please do. Biscotti is elegant but these are low-rent in every way which only makes them more spectacular.

Not too much flour but tons of chocolate make this a sophisticated blob of chocolate goodness. This is a pillowy cookie that is part cake, part brownie, part cookies. It looks like a crater on its own but a dusting of confectioners’ sugar pretties it up or a smear of melted white chocolate would be gorgeous.

What did you think? Ben and Jerry's should have all the glory? This cake rocks. Use homemade cookie dough or let the Doughboy (Pillsbury) offer you a shortcut. This makes a creamy cheesecake with chunks of semi-firm dough throughout with the chunks that are on top, slightly set and cakey. This is easy, fast, and a slice of heaven.  

A cookie mix in a jar, with a recipe card attached. Nothing says lovin’ like something from the oven – this is the next best thing. A gift like this passes on the joy of baking …..well, it’s a start. Make a few of these at a time – same effort – a few gifts result.

Blockbuster sticks of crisp, buttery biscotti, fragrant with butter, vanilla, and graced with fresh orange flavor, and shot through with Swiss chocolate. There's a trick in this recipe btw - always mix the zest with the sugar in the recipe - that way the citrus flavors is imparted throughout.

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