Parmesan Biscotti: The antidote for your candy overdose

Champagne and Biscotti

Two old friends hanging out — Champagne and Biscotti

When I first attempted making savory biscotti about a month ago, I used cheddar cheese and cayenne pepper. The end result was so delicious that I wanted to try the initial recipe that had piqued my curiosity. The recipe, from a 2006 issue of Gourmet magazine, is for Parmesan and Black Pepper Biscotti and has stellar reviews online.

Even Deb from Smitten Kitchen gave it a try years ago in mid-December and called the biscotti the perfect antidote to sugary holiday treats. (And yes, I am stealing her name for it because it’s totally true.)

So if you’re like me and the thought of one more chocolate truffle makes you cringe, consider whipping up a batch of these. They are not at all sweet — but they are rich with a hefty kick of spice and full of cheesy flavor. While you could eat them with coffee, these biscotti are better suited for Champagne and lush red wines. They’d be perfect as an hors d’oeuvre at a fancy soiree or paired with an aperitif at a dinner party.

Or, let’s be honest, eaten while standing alone in your kitchen at midnight. No shame here, people.

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Melting Snowmen Sugar Cookies

I’m melting…..!

So I have a huge board on Pinterest of things that I have been wanting to make for the holidays. Well, to be truthful, I have many boards of many things that I have been wanting to make and the issue is actually focusing long enough to get anything done. But I have been trying really hard to stay motivated (no thanks to you, hard apple cider!) and I can proudly say I have accomplished quite a bit these past few weeks.

One of the things that I have been wanting to make are these adorable cookies. (Now, I guess they were originally done by a gal who used fondant to make the snowman heads, but I liked the idea of marshmallows better.) Since I have been wanting to make some sugar cookies too, it was really a two birds/one stone type of situation — which certainly helped encourage me to get busy baking.

The first step was to make the cookie dough. Every year I try a different recipe for sugar cookies, on a constant quest to find the perfect one. So far I’ve found many I like but none that captivated me enough to use regularly. This year I decided to try this one from my huge binder of recipes and it worked out splendidly. In fact, I will definitely make this one again sometime — I loved the candied ginger in it and the dough was easy to work with.

I started by baking some cookies in an imperfect circle and, once they were cool, topped them with some royal icing. I had my decorations all ready to go: red hots, licorice pastels and  a marshmallow decorated with an AmeriColor writer. The marshmallow slid around a little on the cookie but once the icing set, they were pretty secure. Some of the “noses” came loose, but I actually think it helped add to the realistic melting scene. Or at least that’s what I told people…

At any rate, check out this awesome snowman graveyard!

Adorably tortured snowmen — Calvin would be proud!

I also did some regular cut-out cookies with the dough and topped them with minced bits of candied orange peel. They were fantastic! There’s a little orange zest in the dough so it was really a perfect pairing.

Candied Orange and Ginger Stars

I loved the way everything came out, but I am (sadly) more excited that I can move two “pins” from my “need to make” board to my “missions accomplished” board. Oh Pinterest. You are a cruel mistress.