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Holiday recipe: Christmas biscotti

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Stephen Kurczy

(Read caption) Orange flavored biscotti can be decorated with white chocolate and coconut for a more festive Christmas look.

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I can bake one thing: biscotti. That's all. My lasagna is watery, my biscuits are dry, and my rice is mushy. But I can bake a batch of decent biscotti that impresses family, friends, and coworkers (most of them).

That's not because of any special recipe or trick, but rather (I think) because of the aura around the twice-baked desert cookie. Who actually bakes their own biscotti? The process is time-consuming. The end-result not particularly filling. And most kids (the main consumers of baked goods, I'd venture) would rather have a regular cookie or cake.

So it's a quirky little recipe to have in your toolkit.

I first learned to make biscotti from a woman in my parent's church. Georgiana baked perfectly brown, generously sized, chocolate-glazed biscotti for my mother. I loved it, too. When my mother complained that the biscotti was disappearing before she ever ate any, Georgiana simply baked twice as much for us, and even sent me packages of biscotti in college.

Home from college one summer, I asked Georgiana to teach me the recipe. Here it is, pasted in full. She moved out of state a few years later, leaving me with a corner on the biscotti market in my family.

You can riff on the recipe, experimenting with different berries (try cranberries), nuts (but avoid peanuts; the flavor is too strong), and toppings (extra-dark chocolate, white chocolate, perhaps a sugar glaze). No matter what, if you have a few hours and patience, you'll have the perfect snack to pair alongside a hot drink.

Orange-flavored biscotti

3-1/4 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking power
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-1/4 cups sugar
1-1/2 sticks melted butter
3 eggs
1 orange, zest and juice (a lemon also works)
1-1/2 cups nuts (your choice on kind, but I think almonds and pecans are best)
6 ounces bar chocolate

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