Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Baking Begins: Biscotti All'arancia

This past weekend, the holiday cookie baking began! It's a little... unorganized this year. I have a sheet of paper on which are listed 28 kinds of cookies to bake. Obviously, we are not going to bake 28 different kinds. I think I am so unorganized and indecisive with the cookie baking because of 'The Basement Project.' Yes, I know - I've been writing about it since last April and you are probably thinking, really? That's still going on? Yes, it's still going on. The 'basement guy' is making progress, but I am pretty stressed over him meeting the deadline to be done by Friday night because the new carpet is coming next Monday and the new couch next Wednesday. I kind of can't focus on much of anything else because I am fretting so much over the basement. Every time he leaves for lunch, I take a peek and a fresh wave of 'time terror' washes over me. On the bright side, he seems to be doing excellent work and seems meticulous.

So there's no official cookie list. Just kind of a, hmmm, well here are the candidates, here are the usual suspects, here are some new possibilities, these need chilling time, these will need rolling time, these are a pain in the neck but oh so good but will we have time because the basement is a huge mess and we have to move so much stuff for the carpet installation and then we have to get everything back into place and we have to get it cleaned up because everything is covered in dust and we have to bake cookies and gift shop and we're having guests and oh my gosh I'm going crazy.

But, OK, so, cookies, which on the list can we easily make right this second?
These first cookies were selected because we had the ingredients and they weren't too difficult. First up, a new kind: Biscotti All'arancia, otherwise known as Orange Cookies. My aunt used to bake an orange cookie and I loved those orange cookies. I have her recipe, but I've never made them. Instead, I always made an orange-coconut cookie I got the recipe for when I took a holiday cookie class at Crate many, many years ago. But I am not really into coconut, so those were out. Back in June, I ripped a recipe out of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette for Orange Cookies and I thought they might be a tasty addition to the Christmas Cookie Plate. SP made the final decision, and my aunt's cookies lost because they use shortening and he really dislikes using shortening.
These were an easy cookie, just a bit time consuming because of the dough chilling time. Once the dough is shaped into logs and chilled, slicing and baking is easy and quick. The glaze part takes a bit of time. We let the cookies cool overnight and I glazed them the next morning.

They're pretty tasty, too. Soft, not crisp. By itself, the glaze is too sweet for me, but on the cookies it tastes much better and the cookie is definitely better with the glaze, so don't skip that part. My final verdict is still undecided, because while these are good, I am not sure they are good enough to show up in future years, so I have to do some more sampling and collect some opinions from family & friends.

Recipe can be found here

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