Cookie Swaps or Not

The beauty of the blog is that I get to make my rules. No editorial calendars, no word limits, no deadlines or harsh cuts and changes. I don’t have to do anything. I don’t include sidebars of ads because I couldn’t stomach the thought of lacking control over it. I don’t post more often because I obsess too much over what I write. And I never plug products or people I don’t full-heartedly support because I don’t have to.

I let my whims and my heart drive the content of the blog just like I let it drive most other parts of my life. I do what feels right and sometimes, like this time, that coincides with the possible editorial calendar. This week is all about cookies and cookie swaps, perhaps about homemade gifts. There are, however, problems with this- at least for me. I am not a baker – I am a cook. I am not a traditional cookie lover- I just don’t get them. I am not a swapper – I am too afraid won’t like what I get in return.

But as irrationally terrified as I am of baking, I am a homemade gift-giver and I always do it from the heart. So I set my heart on baking. I love biscotti and, unlike some real life relationships, it is mutual. Biscotti love me back – by which I mean they actually turn out when I bake them. More proof of this love affair: they turn out when I pull the rug from under myself and change the recipes. This time I wanted to focus on the ingredient I was obsessing over: peanut butter.

Make them, eat them, swap or gift them, but no matter what you do, do it from the heart.

Peanut Butter and Chocolate Chip Biscotti

Ingredients: 1/3 cup unsalted butter (room temperature); 2/3 cup freshly ground peanut butter, ½ cup sugar; 1 large egg; 1 ¼ plus 2 tablespoons flour; ½ teaspoon baking powder; a pinch of kosher salt; 1/3 cup Valrhona chocolate 70%, chopped coarsely.

Preheat the oven to 375ºF. In a large bowl, cream with an electric mixer the butter and sugar until it begins to stick to the bottom and sides of the bowl. Add the egg and mix well.

Over the butter/sugar mixture, sift the flour, baking powder, and salt. Bring it all together with your hands without actually working the dough. Gentle loving mixing motion – don’t squeeze and don’t manhandle.

Add the chocolate chips and keeping in mind that you are not trying to work this tender dough, knead again until just incorporated.

Place the mixture on a lightly floured surface and divide it into two halves. Form two logs from your dough and roll them to fit nearly the entire length of a cookie sheet. Place them on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.

Bake for 25 minutes and remove from the oven. Turn the temperature down to 300. Allow the biscotti to slightly cool then cut them diagonally into 3/4 inch pieces. Return them to the baking sheet and bake for another 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.

Pack them up and do what your heart tells you to do with them- sometimes it will tell you to just eat them, and that is alright too. Happy baking!

Photography by Jennifer Olson.

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  • SMondo

    Sweet! But I miss your red nail polish!

  • Monet

    Ha! I don't blame you. I'm often wary of other people's baked goods :-) But yours? I would swoon if I received any of your treats. With colder days and nights, I find myself wanting to be in the kitchen more and more. Thank you for giving me another recipe to bake. I hope you are enjoying the bustle of the season. Much love from Austin.

  • The Mom Chef

    Awwww, I don't mind cookie swaps simply because it means I don't have to make all sorts of cookies; just one type. I'm not a cookie-baking person so that works well for me.

    I am, however, a biscotti (and scone) person because I love my coffee. This is on the list to make soon. Maybe even today. It looks and sounds just perfect.