Last year it felt like my job was conspiring to keep me from enjoying the holidays. The time I so desperately wanted to use for shopping and baking was sucked into a vortex of powerpoint, taking my holiday cheer with it. So this year, when faced with a free Saturday and a kitchen stocked with butter, flour and sugar, I knew a bit of a baking marathon was in order, especially with the deadline for The Great Blogger Cookie Swap fast approaching. I ended up making four batches of cookies, one for the swap (which I’ll be posting about on December 12 along with all of the other participating bloggers) and three for Operation Baking Gals.
For the latter I sent off some of Martha Stewart’s Sugar Cookies, one of my favorite classic cookie recipes.
I paired the cookies with a pair of tubs of Duncan Hines Frosting thanks to some coupons I received through the Foodbuzz Tastemaker Program. Sent along with some sprinkles, I thought it made for the perfect kit for the soldiers to decorate cookies for themselves.
Also included in the box were two new recipes, including these Peanut Butter and Chocolate Layered Biscotti.
Made of peanut butter and chocolate biscotti dough sandwiched together, they’re elegant looking and loaded with lots of peanut butter and chocolate chips for decadent flavor. I’ve always found that just about anything you can bake with peanut butter and chocolate is a hit and these biscotti are no exception. They also travel incredibly well, that is if you can get your hands out of the cookie tin long enough to send them.
Adapted from King Arthur Flour
Yields approximately 2 dozen biscotti
-6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
-2/3 cup granulated sugar
-1/4 teaspoon salt
-1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
-2 teaspoons vanilla extract
-2 large eggs
-2 cups all-purpose flour
-2 tablespoons cocoa powder, ideally Dutch-process
-1/3 cup peanut butter chips
-1/3 cup smooth peanut butter
-1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
-1/3 cup roasted peanuts
-2 tablespoons coarse sugar
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a medium-sized bowl, beat the butter, sugar, salt, vanilla, and baking powder until the mixture is smooth and creamy.
Beat in the eggs; the batter may look slightly curdled, but this is okay.
Using the mixer set to low speed, add the flour, stirring until smooth; the dough will be sticky.
Divide the dough in half, leaving half in the bowl and placing the other half in a separate bowl. To one half of the dough add the cocoa powder and peanut butter chips and stir just until well distributed.
To the other half of the dough add the peanut butter, semi-sweet chips and peanuts and stir until just combine.
Shape the peanut butter dough on the pan into a log that’s about 14″ long x 2 ½” wide. Straighten the log, and smooth its top and sides using a wet spatula or wet bowl scraper.
Using your wet fingers, spread the chocolate dough atop the peanut butter dough. Sprinkle coarse sugar over the top of the dough.
Bake the dough in the preheated oven for 25 minutes. Remove it from the oven, and allow it to cool to room temperature, about 10 to 25 minutes.
While the biscotti are cooling slightly, reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees F.
Use the parchment to lift the biscotti off the sheet onto a flat surface. Using a serrated knife or sharp chef’s knife, cut the biscotti crosswise into 3/4″ slices.
Set the biscotti, on edge, back on the baking sheet. Return the biscotti to the oven, and bake them for 30 to 40 minutes, till they feel very dry and are beginning to turn golden. They’ll still feel a tiny bit moist in the very center, if you break off a piece; but they’ll continue to dry out as they cool.
Remove the biscotti from the oven, and transfer them to a rack to cool.
I’m also submitting this to Crazy for Crust‘s Crazy Sweet Tuesday.