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A Christmas tree for munching and dunking.

Constructed from baked biscotti dough frosted with marmalade icing, this cookie tree is an edible centerpiece. Put it out for a party and let guests munch their way down, lifting it apart branch by branch. The cookies make good dunkers for coffee.

Tiered Biscotti Tree

1 1/2 cups slivered almonds 3/4 cup (3/8 lb.) butter or margarine, at room temperature 1 cup sugar 1 tablespoon grated orange peel 4 large eggs 1 teaspoon vanilla About 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 4 1/2 teaspoons baking powder 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1/4 teaspoon each ground cloves, ground coriander, and ground nutmeg Marmalade icing (recipe follows) Decorations, such as a holly sprig or small Christmas tree balls

Place almonds in an 8- to 9-inch-wide pan. Bake in a 350|degrees~ oven, shaking often, until golden, about 15 minutes; let cool.

In a large bowl, beat butter, sugar, and orange peel until fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in vanilla. Combine 4 1/2 cups flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, cloves, coriander, nutmeg, and nuts; add to butter mixture and stir to blend thoroughly.

Divide dough into 3 equal pieces. On a well-floured board, pat each piece into an evenly thick triangle (step 1) that measures 9 inches across base, 2 inches across top, and 12 inches on each side. Make edges neat by pressing with a ruler. Carefully transfer each triangle with wide spatulas to an oiled 12- by 15-inch baking sheet. Bake in a 350|degrees~ oven for 15 minutes; triangles can wait for oven space.

Remove from oven; immediately cut crosswise into slices exactly 5/8-inch wide (step 2), using a long knife. Tip slices onto a cut side. Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes; turn cookies over once while baking. Cool on racks. If making ahead, package airtight up to a day, or freeze.

To build the tree, pipe (use a 1/4-inch tip) or spread a little frosting on 1 side of each of the longest cookies. Lay icing-side down on a flat platter, tips touching, to form a triangle. Pipe or spread icing down center of each cookie on plate. Stack the 3 next-longest cookies on the first, inverting position of the triangle (see step 3). Build tree, using the next-smallest cookie trio for each level and cementing with icing. If you like pipe icing to drip over the edge of the cookies. Decorate top with holly.

Let guests lift off cookies to eat. If making ahead, or to protect from dust, seal in plastic wrap; cookies stay fresh up to 4 days, depending on moisture in air. Kept longer, they hold their shape but get stale.

Per 2 inches of cookie: 48 cal.; 0.8 g protein; 1.6 g fat (0.6 sat.); 7.9 g carbo; 29 mg sodium; 7.4 mg chol.

Marmalade icing. Smoothly mix together 3/4 cup orange marmalade, 1 box (1 lb.) or 4 cups sifted powdered sugar, and 1 tablespoon orange-flavor liqueur or orange juice. If icing thickens as you work, stir in some more orange juice.
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No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1992 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Special Issue: Best of the Holidays; recipe
Date:Jan 1, 1992
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