the feeling of Christmas

On more than one occasion, I’ve woken up on the morning of December 26th, only to ask myself, “Was yesterday really Christmas?”

Everything about Christmas is magical when you’re small.  The lights.  The parties.  The hot cocoa.  The rushing of parents, aunts, uncles to “please, please, please finish drinking your coffee so we can please open the presents.”  The food (well, some things obviously never change.) 😉

But then when you’re older, you suddenly realize that there’s a lot of shopping to do in the middle of a busy work week.  Plans need to be made.  A schedule must be followed.  Rush, rush, rush.

I’d like to say I’m immune to all of the madness that sometimes revolves around one of my favorite holidays, but that would be a lie.  These past couple of weeks, I was that girl frantically shopping at the mall for those last minute gifts.  I was very thankful for leftovers.  And I didn’t stop to notice that the neighbors down the street put up a 6 ft. snowman.

But tonight was deliciously different.  I served the family warm bowls of leftover ratatouille with a couple of lightly buttered toasts to drink up any extra sauce (tasty serving option!)  I popped on some old country style Pandora Christmas music.  I danced around the kitchen. 

And then we all bundled up and took a drive to look at Christmas lights. 

I think I found it.  That feeling of Christmas.

Because if dancing to Bing Crosby’s Christmas music in the kitchen and looking at Christmas lights doesn’t put you in the Christmas spirit, I honestly don’t know what will.

Well.  Maybe gingerbread biscotti?

I was starting to grow slightly jealous of all the cookies that I’ve been seeing around blogland.  Homemade chocolate dipped oreos.  Blondies.  Pecan bars.  You name it.  They’re all there.

While I have all of my plans made for what I’ll be making come Christmas, I needed a little tease to hold me over until then.  I desperately wanted to whisk something.

I decided to experiment a little with a standard biscotti recipe that I have on hand. 

First, I wanted to use graham flour, for its nuttiness and crunch.  I also wanted spiciness.  Think ‘gingerbread cookie meets a regular, standard ol’ tea biscotti.’  They should really get together, I thought to myself.  I bet they’d fall in love.

The best part of making biscotti?  Turning a big round rectangular sort of thing… 

Into a dainty little biscotti.  Perfect for that afternoon cup of tea or paired with a hot cup of cocoa. 

It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas.

Gingerbread Biscotti

If you love biscotti and enjoy the spiciness that belongs to a gingerbread man, then it’s time to put the two together!  This recipe is incredibly simple to make, and could easily be tweaked according to what you like.  Raisins?  Walnuts?  Dark chocolate chips?  A drizzle of sweet maple glaze?  They make a great pairing to your cookie platter at Christmas, and they make a nice break from all of the more chocolatey things.  Enjoy! 😀

  • 2-1/4 c. graham flour (may use whole wheat flour instead, or a mixture of all purpose and whole wheat)
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground allspice
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 egg
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/2 c. brown sugar, packed
  • 1/4 c. molasses
  1. Preheat oven to 325.
  2. Combine flour through baking soda.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg and egg whites lightly.  Add brown sugar, molasses and vanilla, stirring until smooth.
  3. Stir the wet and dry ingredients together, stirring just until smooth.
  4. Divide dough in half; shape each into a 14 inch x 1-1/2 inch rectangle on a cookie sheet coated in nonstick cooking spray. 
  5. Bake for 25-27 minutes or until firm to touch.  Remove, let rest for 5 minutes and reduce oven to 300 degrees.
  6. Cut diagonally with a serrated knife, 1/2 inch slices.  Place cut side down on baking sheet; bake for 10 minutes.  Turn biscotti.  Continue cooking another 7-10 minutes or until lightly browned. 
  7. Let cool on wire rack.
  8. ENJOY! 😀

Question: Are you doing a lot of cooking this year for Christmas?  What is the one thing you look forward most to baking (or eating!)