Monthly Archives: December 2011

Week #15 – Biscotti with Pistachios and Cranberries

We were lucky this week to create our recipe in one kitchen! It was nice baking with my son, again. So, this week we’re “One Recipe, One Kitchen”.
Chef Jonathan: I love this recipe, it was very easy and fun to do with someone! Making the batter though, it seemed quite dry, but once it’s brought together and shaped into a log, it seems to be more workable. I love the dipped white chocolate ends, and sprinkled with pistachios!

Karen: These are absolutely yummy! If you’re not a biscotti lover, try these and you will be. It’s a glorified coffee or hot chocolate “dipper” that is twice baked, hence the name “biscotti”. It’s an Italian cookie 🙂 They are easy to make and take awhile because of the baking process but that gives you time to do something else while they’re baking. Just pop them in the oven and go fold some laundry or check Facebook!

We got the recipe from The Food Network and Giada De Laurentis. I haven’t perfected the “log”, yet. I think I’ll make it, again, and try to make it smoother. I think they would be easier to cut. We dipped some in white chocolate and pistachios and some we left plain. You can go to: or here’s the recipe:

Holiday Biscotti
Recipe courtesy Giada De Laurentis

.Prep Time:15 minInactive Prep Time:30 minCook Time:55 minLevel:
— Serves:
Makes about 2 dozen.Ingredients
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
3/4 cup pistachios, coarsely chopped
2/3 cup dried cranberries
12 ounces good-quality white chocolate, chopped
Red and green sugar crystals, for garnish
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a heavy large baking sheet with parchment paper.

Whisk the flour and baking powder in a medium bowl to blend. Using an electric mixer, beat the sugar, butter, lemon zest, and salt in a large bowl to blend. Beat in the eggs 1 at a time. Add the flour mixture and beat just until blended. Stir in the pistachios and cranberries.

Form the dough into a 13-inch-long, 3-inch-wide log on the prepared baking sheet. Bake until light golden, about 40 minutes. Cool for 30 minutes.

Place the log on the cutting board. Using a sharp serrated knife, cut the log on a diagonal into 1/2- to 3/4-inch-thick slices. Arrange the biscotti cut side down on the baking sheet. Bake the biscotti until they are pale golden, about 20 minutes. Transfer the biscotti to a rack and cool completely.

Stir the chocolate in a bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water until the chocolate melts. Dip half of the biscotti into the melted chocolate. Gently shake off the excess chocolate. Place the biscotti on the baking sheet for the chocolate to set. Sprinkle with the sugar crystals. Refrigerate until the chocolate is firm, about 35 minutes.

As you dip the biscotti into the melted chocolate, you can also dip them into crushed pistachios if you like.

The biscotti can be made ahead. Store them in an airtight container up to 4 days, or wrap them in foil and freeze in re-sealable plastic bags up to 3 weeks.



Week # 14 – Crunch Bars

Chef Jonathan’s Part:

I really like this recipe. It’s so easy. It literally took me about 15 minutes. The important part is to really watch your caramel sauce, it can turn from amber to black within a matter of seconds. I also recommend pouring over your crackers immediately after you take it off the burner. I would also reduce the baking time by maybe a minute or so, my caramel was a little too dark on the bottom. All in all, a great recipe for a nice light snack or an app for a party!

Karen’s Part:

I’ve had this recipe for years but never made them.  I’m not sure why because they’re very easy to make and quite yummy.  The recipe was is easy to follow but I changed a couple of things.  I didn’t use the semi-sweet chocolate, I used chocolate chips.  Why crush squares when you can buy them already crushed? I also didn’t toast the walnuts; I forgot.  Careful when melting the butter. Mine was on the edge of burning.  They say don’t stir it and I’m not sure why, I would next time. When they need to be cut,they tended to be a bit hard so keep that in mind.  Also, I think because I used chocolate chips, the chocolate tends to be a bit soft so I store them in the fridge.  Probably the melted squares would keep a bit harder.

These were a hit at a Christmas party I took them to the other night.  Try them when you need something easy to make and good to eat.  Enjoy!

Here’s the recipe:

“Simply Stunning Crunch “Bars”” Dessert Recipes. Web. 18 Dec. 2011. <;.

Week #13: Christmas Cookies with Yuletide Frosting

Chef Jonathan’s Part:

I was very excited for this week, because these are my favourite Christmas cookies of all time! The icing is so sweet, combined with the nice subtle butter cookie underneath, the perfect combination! My Mom and I would make these all time, and I would usually just decorate them, while she did everything else…..Not until this year, did I realize how much work it is. Not to throw you off from making these, but it’s quite the process. But it just makes you appreciate the cookie all the more! These are always a huge hit wherever you take them, I took them to Church on Sunday, and they were gobbled up so quickly! I totally recommend this recipe, but make sure you dedicate a whole day to making them.

Karen’s Part:

The cookie recipe today is a recipe that’s stood the test of time for our family baking and making Christmas cookies.  I used to make these with my mom and sisters and I then made them with my kids.  It’s not a revolutionary recipe but it’s a good one.

I tend to be lazy when it comes to decorating these cookies.  That’s why I have mine decorated with white frosting and colored sugars, etc.  It’s also more fun done as a family event and not by yourself in the kitchen.  But the taste is still the same and each time I bite into one, it takes me back to my childhood and trying to sneak one so my mom wouldn’t say, “How many of those have you had?”  🙂


Here’s the recipe:

Christmas Cookies                  oven: 350 degrees

1 C soft butter             2 eggs

2/3 C sugar                 3 C flour

2 T vanilla                   ½ t salt

 Cream the butter.  Add sugar, vanilla and eggs and mix well.  Add the flour and salt.  Roll into a log, cover with wax paper and chill for 2 hours.  Roll out ¼ of the dough at a time.  Cut into shapes with Christmassy cookie cutters.  Place cookies on baking sheet covered with parchment paper.  Bake about 10 minutes.  Place on wire racks to cool. 

 Yuletide Frosting (to cover the cookies)

½ C butter (Room temp).                  2 t vanilla

½ C milk                                         confectioner’s sugar (as much as needed to make a stiff frosting.)

 Cream the butter.  Add the milk and sugar alternately creaming them until thick enough to spread.  Stir in vanilla.  Add colours as desired.  Decorate and put in the fridge to keep the frosting stiff.




Week #12 – Flatbread with Bacon and Scallion Pesto

Chef Jonathan’s Part:

So, I decided to make mine into a pizza instead of a flatbread. It just sounded more fun. That’s the good thing about this recipe, is that you can do so many different variations. I also used my own pesto recipe, using basil, garlic, pine nuts, EVOO, parmesan cheese, and salt and pepper. It’s very simple, but I believe that’s usually the best part, are the simplest and freshest ingredients. I also cooked my onions to the point of being carmelized! Yum! I carmelize onions whenever possible, it is the most delicious way in my opinion. I also just love the “sauce” layer of sour cream, it’s a little different than the traditional function of a pizza sauce, but it works nicely with this recipe, and it draws everything together! Enjoy!

Karen’s Part:

All I had to say to my husband was the word “bacon” and he loved this recipe already! 🙂  In all seriousness, this is an easy recipe to follow and to make.  I chose to use the rolled pizza dough instead of the frozen one but i’m sure it turned out just as well.  I wasn’t that excited about the scallion pesto but it was ok.  I might try basil pesto next time as that is one of my favs.  It says to keep the bacon warm and I recommend following that advice.  I didn’t “get the fact” that the crust bakes and then you add the other ingredients to it.  I felt they were a bit cold.  I’m pretty sure it could be placed back in the oven, with the oven turned off, to warm the whole thing up, if necessary.  Try it.  It was good for a Sunday evening light supper and it would make a great appetizer for a party.  Enjoy!

Here’s the recipe we got it from the Food Network


Guarnaschelli, Alex. “Flatbread With Bacon and Scallion Pesto Recipe : Alexandra Guarnaschelli : Food Network.” Food Network – Easy Recipes, Healthy Eating Ideas and Chef Recipe Videos. 04 Dec. 2011. Web. 04 Dec. 2011. <;.