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Recycle those Peppermints into Holiday Biscotti

As the economy tanks, tips on saving money this holiday season are on the rise. But here’s the most frugal, green holiday tip of them all: recycled food.

No, we’re not talking about gifting your mother-in-law with the half-empty jar of mayo. But do think about scouring the back of your pantry for those ingredients you may have been stockpiling that would make a great food gift or holiday dish. Consider this the ultimate form of recycling: creatively using up ingredients that would otherwise be composted — or landfilled.

That’s my inspiration behind this recipe for Peppermint Biscotti. You know those red and white peppermints you can pick up for free as you exit a restaurant? Apparently I can’t say no to these as I had accumulated a jar of them over the course of a year. I realize, these mints are hardly a blip on the nutritional radar, but I still didn’t want to see them wasted — considering I was the culprit who collected them in the first place. In crushed form, these peppermints add a seasonal mint twist to biscotti. And I’ve never met anyone who didn’t love these cookies as a holiday gift. So much so actually that friends now gift me with their collection of peppermints for my annual biscotti-baking marathon.

Recipe after the jump.

Ingredients:
ΒΎ c. butter, softened (1 Β½ sticks)
ΒΎ c. sugar
3 eggs
2 t. peppermint extract
3 ΒΌ c. all-purpose flour
1 t. baking powder
ΒΌ t. salt
1 Β½ c. crushed peppermint candy, divided
White chocolate bark for frosting.

Directions:
* In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar.
* Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in extract.
* Separately, mix flour, baking powder and salt. Stir in 1 c. peppermint candy.
* Gradually add flour/candy mixture to creamed mixture, beating until blended (dough will be stiff).
* Divide dough in half. On ungreased baking sheet, roll each portion into a 12 x 2 Β½ inch rectangle.
* Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Carefully remove to wire rack. Cool 15 minutes. On cutting board, cut diagonally into Β½ inch slices.
* Place cut side down on ungreased baking sheets. Bake 12-15 minutes until firm.
* For frosting, melt chocolate. Dip one end in chocolate and roll in the remaining candy. Cool on wax paper.

Yield: Approximately 3 dozen biscotti.

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