Saturday, November 28, 2015

Chocolate – Pear Biscotti - A #Cookielicious Exchange Party

As much as I detest the actual holiday "day" of Christmas (too much traveling, traffic, to-do lists, timing and people in general for this anti-social girl!), the holiday season is always a special one for me. I adore the preamble to the big day: the general "giving" atmosphere that infuses everyone around this time (even as they shove each other out of the way for the last "must have it" toy on their kid's wishlist), the cheesy, grainy reruns of Rudolph and How the Grinch Stole Christmas on TV, dragging out the stack of "play it once a year" CDs (including my mom's copy of Handel's Messiah, which my sister and I mock ruthlessly), clamouring for the absolute awesomeness that is a Trans-Siberian Orchestra concert and of course, the month-long bake fest that perfumes every nook and cranny of the house with aromas of butter, sugar, spice and happiness.

I bake a fair assortment of treats every year to accompany the various canned Toast Toppers and sauces, granolas and candy nestled into the gift boxes destined for friends and family. Aside from the quintessential shortbreads, nothing stays exactly the same from year to year. That said, the same themes repeat with more or less regularity: some form of ginger-laden cookie for my all-time favourite teacher (now a co-worker!), at least one gluten - free and vegan offering for the ladies at my hair salon, kid - friendly drop cookies for my friend's brood and a few batches of biscotti for the Italian clan. The biscotti are almost always my "ace in the hole" during the holidays - not only are they the ultimate "keeping" cookie, but the basic formula is infinitely variable. With a few years of twice-baked batter under my belt now, I've started to apply the "re-bake" theory to leftover muffins and quickbreads as well. The "muffinscotti" taste like a perfect marriage of cookie and cracker, and have won over even the most vehement anti-crunchy cookie people I know.

Roasted Pear and Bittersweet Chocolate Biscotti

These particular biscotti are a marriage of "traditional" and "nouveau" ideas. I say that because they are made from a dough that I always intended for biscotti and baked the "traditional" way (i.e. a single log, then sliced and rebaked as sticks). Unlike traditional biscotti, though, this dough is actually a scone recipe that is filled with roasted fresh fruit and dark chocolate. I figured that if I could biscotti-fy banana bread, why not a simple scone? All I had to do was make one big, long scone "block" instead of individual wedges (baked proportionately longer, of course), then follow standard twice-baking procedure.

The result? Absolutely indescribably delicious! Buttery, just sweet enough, filled with occasional bursts of just tender, caramelized fruit and decadent, bittersweet chocolate chunks. Crunchy, but not "break-your-teeth" hard, they make perfect coffee dunkers as well as traffic-jam snacks!

Today's cookies are entered in a special event put on by the great team at #SundaySupper. December is all about cookies, and we're kicking things off with A #Cookielicious Exchange Party! Check out the decadent sweet treats from the partygoers below, and be sure to stop in on Tuesday for our Twitter chat!

Plus, 20 Cookie Baking Tips and Holiday Cookie recipes from Sunday Supper

Join us for a #Cookielicious chat at 7 p.m. ET Tuesday, Dec. 1, on Twitter We will be sharing tips for cooking baking along with stories about our favorite family recipes. Follow the #Cookielicious hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great cookies recipes, check out our Cookie Jar Pinterest board.

Chocolate – Pear Biscotti 
Inspired by General Mills' Scone Biscotti
Makes 12
2 large pears, peeled, cored, and cut into ½” chunks
1 cup flour
½ cup whole wheat flour
½ tbsp baking powder
¼ cup sugar
¼ tsp cardamom
½ tsp salt
¼ cup cold butter, cubed
2 tbsp non-hydrogenated shortening
⅓ cup half and half cream
1 egg
¼ cup bittersweet chocolate chunks
  1. Heat the oven to 375°F and line a baking sheet with parchment.
  2. Spread the pear chunks out in one layer and roast for 15-20 minutes, until browned on the bottoms. Cool on the sheet at least 1 hour, then transfer to a bowl or plate and reserve.
  3. Reduce oven to 350°F and place a new layer of parchment on the baking sheet.
  4. In a medium bowl, combine flours, baking powder, sugar, cardamom and salt.
  5. Cut in butter and shortening, then stir in cream and egg until evenly combined.
  6. Fold in chocolate chunks and roasted pears.
  7. Place on the sheet and form into a log about 1” thick.
  8. Bake for 44-45 minutes, until firm.
  9. Cool 30 minutes on the sheet, then slice diagonally into ¾” thick slices.
  10. Reduce oven to 325°F
  11. Place slices, standing up, back onto parchment lined sheet pans ½” apart.
  12. Bake 35-40 minutes, until crisp and browned. Cool on the sheets.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 182.9
Total Fat: 9.0 g
Cholesterol: 28.5 mg
Sodium: 36.3 mg
Total Carbs: 23.8 g
Dietary Fiber: 2.1 g
Protein: 3.2 g