As turkey wafts the air this week, it means only one thing to me: the scents of all holiday baking to come. But how does our green and frugal focus at our Wisconsin farm and B&B, Inn Serendipity, blend with seasonal bake-offs? Focus on creatively using ingredients already stockpiled in your pantry.
Case in point: the story behind our annual bake-off favorite, Peppermint Biscotti. Anybody else acquired a stockpile of those red and white peppermint candies, the freebies you pick up at restaurants and never use? Or leftover candy canes? When I collected everything in our house last year, I had a gallon-sized plastic bag of peppermints.
I agree, there’s hardly any nutritional value in these peppermints or anything to prioritize in the sustainable of organic category. But the point is I had them, they already existed and I’m a firm believer, whenever possible, to use up rather than throw out (or stir up mint-flavored compost).
With a dash of recipe research and experimenting, that candy bag inspired this Peppermint Biscotti recipe, which quickly earned Christmas cookie house favorite status. I realized holiday traditions could be fresh and personalized, based on our own values and priorities. Sure, I love holiday cookie baking, but recycling and reuse also rank important ingredients for me. What lingering ingredients lurk in your pantry, in need of some holiday cookie-izing?
For inspiration, there’s that Peppermint Biscotti cookie recipe, from our B&B cookbook, Edible Earth: Savoring the Good Life with Vegetarian Recipes from Inn Serendipity.
¾ c. butter, softened (1 ½ sticks)
¾ c. sugar
2 t. peppermint extract ((learn how to make your own mint extract)
3 ¼ c. all-purpose flour
1 t. baking powder
¼ t. salt
1 ½ c. crushed peppermint candy, divided
White chocolate bark for frosting.
* 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 ½ 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 ½ 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.
Photo Credit: Lisa Kivirist