At this time of year a common question that arises is, what are you doing for the holidays? My glib response is – ‘the same thing we have done for YEARS’ – Christmas Eve with my family and Christmas Day with my husband’s.
As I utter the words, I think, wow this is boring. But when I stop to think about it, I realize I would have it no other way. Christmas offers pleasant and powerful memories of celebrating with family members that are no longer with us. Yet they are deeply embedded in the traditions we carry on. I find that family traditions are the antidote to the stresses that come from our otherwise fast-paced and go-go-go world. It’s comforting to have a few constants in your life.
One of my traditions is baking – spending time in the kitchen is a type of meditation for me. Playing Christmas tunes, enjoying the lights on the tree, being with myself and creating my specialty – BISCOTTI! They are simple to make, delicious and enjoyed by all. I make several types but I am sharing my favourite recipe. It was also my mom’s favourite and every year I baked her a batch. So every year when I bake them she is with me in spirit guiding me through the steps and happy that I carry on the tradition.
(APOLOGIES TO MY VEGAN FRIENDS – I DID TRY MAKING THEM VEGAN BUT THEY WERE A HAZARD TO ONE’S TEETH!)
1 3/4 C all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
3/4 c whole almonds, unblanched and roasted
3/4 C sugar
1/3 C melted butter
2 tsp vanilla & 1/2 tsp almond extract
1 1/2 tsp grated orange rind (I add more!!)
1 egg white
In a large bowl combine flour, baking powder and almonds. In another bowl whisk eggs, sugar, butter, vanilla, almond extract and orange rind. Stir wet ingredients into dry and mix until a soft, sticky dough forms. Transfer dough to a lightly floured work surface and form into a smooth ball.
Divide dough in half in roll each into a log, shapee into your desired finished size of cookie. Brush tops with egg white and bake in 350º F for about 20 mins. They should have a hint of colour.
Remove from oven and let cool on pan for 10 mins. Transfer to a cutting board and cut into 3/4 inch thick slices. Use a sharp knife and make strong, decisive strokes to cut through the almonds. Stand them upright on the baking sheet and for 20-25 mins, or until golden in colour. Let cool and ENJOY!!
Merry Christmas everyone!!