I am a DORK for the holidays!
As in, I start listening to Christmas music (privately) in October. This year my roommate let me celebrate a few days before Halloween because of Hurricane Sandy so we watched The Holiday with the wind raging outside. While I’m cooking at work (private chef-ing) I have Christmas tunes playing on low on my iPad. And the day after Thanksgiving I strapped a 6-foot, stubby tree onto my car and lugged it into my apartment where it was decorated within a few hours.
That said, this year I’m overworked and exhausted. The holidays are awesome. But yes, sometimes, they wear us out.
Fortunately one thing that living with chronic Lyme has taught me is to just let go of certain things. If I don’t make 300 gluten-free cookies is Christmas Day not going to come?!?! No! If I don’t blog for two or three weeks is the entire internet world of readers going to put me on a black list?! Ha! I think we’ll all survive (if we make it through that December 21st apocalypse thing).
Letting go of certain things I look forward to means that the things I do participate in have that much more significance and give me that extra boost of joy.
Like the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap.
Partnering with Cookies for Kids Cancer, this international swap hosted by Love and Olive Oil and The Little Kitchen is a simple concept executed brilliantly: sign up with your dietary preferences, receive up to 3 names/addresses of fellow swappers, send them a dozen cookies, receive a dozen from three bakers to you, and a week later blog your recipe!
This year, because of both my gluten and dairy preferences, I was matched with only one blogger; Jody from The Hobby Room Diaries. Her blog is stunning; take a peek and you’ll be as blown away as I am by what she creates. I’m especially psyched by her tutorial on making your own cake stands! When I received Jody’s package I was so excited because it was beautiful and almost burst into tears because her note was so loving and made my day.
And then, of course, there were the cookies inside! Light and fluffy pistachio and cranberry macaroons dipped in dark chocolate (great dairy-free minds think alike). Go to The Hobby Room Diaries for her recipe!
Now, I’d had good intentions with sending Jody something special. But then that thing happened… my recipes weren’t working. 3 recipes just weren’t so good I wanted to send them to someone. So I took a deep breath and went for a variation of a classic: biscotti. If I couldn’t get something completely new together for Jody, I was going to send her a reliable classic that make me feel holiday love.
I adapted my Chocolate Almond Biscotti recipe only slightly, dipped them in chocolate, packaged them up and shipped them out on the last possible day :) I loved participating in this swap again, and now am excited to blog-stalk the heck outta Jody, because she’s a lady I have a feeling I will learn much from and have such a joy following.
So Happy Holidays to Jody, and to the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swappers, and to those of you who happened upon here today. There’s a lot of love coming your way from my dusty kitchen right now, where I’m looking out at the gray sky over NYC and feeling so much joy.
Triple Chocolate Gluten and Dairy-Free Biscotti
For biscotti-making tips, watch my video on E:How Foods.
Makes 12-14 cookies
- 2 cups starch-heavy gluten free flour (mine was 1 cup brown rice and 1/3 cup millet and 2/3 cup tapioca)
- 2 Tbsp Sweet Rice Flour, plus more if the dough seems sticky
- 1 tsp xanthan gum
- 1 Tbsp Mesquite flour (optional, but it lends an earthy, spicy kick)
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter flavored Earth Balance
- 5 Tbsp white sugar
- 5 Tbsp dark brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp gluten-free vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp gluten-free chocolate extract
- 1/2 cup dairy-free chocolate chips (I used Enjoy Life mini chips)
- 1 cup dairy-free chocolate chips for dipping (I used Enjoy Life Mega Chunks)
Preheat oven to 325°. Line a baking sheet with parchment or Silpat, or lightly grease.
In a medium bowl combine flours, gum, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
In the bowl of a mixer with the whisk attachment, beat Earth Balance and sugars until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes, scraping down the bowl occasionally (note, if you use organic sugar, as I do, beat longer as the larger granules take more time to melt or cream into the fat). Add eggs one at a time, beating to incorporate. Beat in vanilla and chocolate extracts. With the mixer on slow, add flour and beat to combine, increasing speed to incorporate. Mix in chocolate chips.
With floured hands, roll into a 12-inch log and place on prepared sheet (or longer if you want smaller cookies). Round top slightly. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until cracked on top and slightly firm. It shouldn’t be cooked completely, so the center should seem a tad underdone.
Remove to cooling rack and cool for at least 10 minutes. Slice into into 1- inch slices and gently slide onto cookie sheet, cut side down. They will be a bit crumbly, so use a spatula to gently flip them on the sheet. Bake for another 15-20 minutes or until crisp and brown. Cool completely.
Line a cookie sheet with wax paper. Melt the remaining chocolate in a mug in the microwave in 30 second bursts, stirring to melt remaining chocolate. Dip each biscotti and rest it on the cookie sheet. Refrigerate for 10 minutes to firm up. Send to someone AWESOME!