Cranberry Ginger Almond Biscotti

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I love coffee, especially with a piece (or three) of biscotti! I was always intimidated by the idea of making it myself (you have to put it in the oven twice?!), but you’ll be amazed by how easy it is.

Yields ~4 dozen

Ingredients

  • 3 cups flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar, plus 1 tablespoon for dusting
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup applesauce
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 3/4 cup unsalted whole almonds
  • 3/4 cup crystallized ginger, diced
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries

Directions

>>Preheat oven to 350°F

  1. Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder.
  2. Add the eggs, applesauce, and almond extract and mix until well combined.
  3. Stir in the almonds, ginger, and cranberries. 
  4. On a floured surface, knead the dough until smooth. It may be dry and crumbly at first, but should stick together as you knead. If it’s too moist, add more flour. 
  5. Divide the dough in half, and shape into two logs that are approximately 1” high, 2” wide, and 12-14” long. 
  6. Put the logs on a parchment-lined baking sheet and dust the tops with the remaining sugar. 
  7. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until the logs are lightly browned and beginning to crack on top.
  8. Remove from oven and allow the logs to cool, then slice the logs into 1/4” thick pieces. A serrated knife works great!
  9. Lay the slices on parchment-lined baking sheets and return to the oven for around 25 minutes, flipping the biscotti over halfway through. They should dry out completely, becoming crisp and light brown. Cool completely on wire racks before eating. 
  10. Make some coffee, grab the newspaper, and enjoy! 

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Rice Pudding (Swedish Risgrynsgröt)

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Risgrynsgröt is a Swedish rice pudding that is traditionally served on Christmas Eve. After the rice pudding is made, an almond, called a mandel*, is placed in the pot. Whoever gets the mandel is either the next to be married, or guaranteed to have a year of good luck, depending on who in my family you ask.

When my sister and I were little kids, every Christmas Eve the mandel would magically split in half and we would both end up with it in our bowls. We were both lucky!

Rice pudding, I have realized, is so warm and creamy and comforting it deserves to be eaten more frequently than once a year. Also, it’s so easy to make. So, so easy. And here’s the absolute best part about rice pudding: eating leftovers for breakfast. In the morning, it magically transforms from “rice pudding” to “rice porridge” so you can eat it without a second thought.

*For 29 years I have believed that “mandel” meant treasure/prize/luck in Swedish. I just Googled it and, nope, it means almond.

 Ingredients

Serves 6

  • 1 cup uncooked white rice
  • 4 cups milk (I used skim, but whole is best!)
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Toppings

On Christmas Eve, we always eat risgrynsgröt with cinnamon/sugar and nutmeg sprinkled on top. But feel free to go all out!

Some ideas: fresh fruit, raisins, dried cranberries, nuts, brown sugar, maple syrup, agave nectar…

Directions

  1. Rinse and drain the rice.
  2. In a medium pot, bring the rice, milk, and all the sugar to a boil.
  3. Reduce heat and simmer for around 25 minutes, until the rice is soft and the pudding has thickened. While it simmers, be sure to stir occasionally.
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  4. Remove from the stove and stir in the vanilla.
  5. I like to eat my risgrynsgröt warm, but you can serve it warm or cold. Serve with toppings of your choice!