18 December 2010

biscotti gifts

Let's face it, all that holiday cookie baking requires an inordinate amount of time. Short on time but still want to share home-baked goodness with friends and neighbors?  How about trying biscotti (or cantucci)?  Believe me, they are very quick and very easy . . . and oh-so-festive and tasty! Instead of scooping out dozens upon dozens of cookies, with biscotti you only need to mix up the ingredients, form a log, bake, cut the log, and bake again. So dang easy.  With my European-sized oven, cookie baking can seem to drag on and on, often with no end in sight.

Besides the chocolate hazelnut variety that I recently learned to make, I've also baked up a batch of cranberry pistachio and almond anisette flavors.

Since this was a last minute project, I gathered jars from around the house that were being used to store things like walnuts or ribbons or stamps, washed them up, glued ribbons around the lids, tied ribbons and twine around the jars, and voila! -- perfect gifts for office staff and admin at my school.

I was so impressed with myself that I plan to forgo most other cookie baking I had planned for neighbors and friends in favor of these biscotti-filled jars.  (The Quattro Stagioni jars, by the way, are the Italian version of the Mason jar and are readily available in an array of sizes in most local stores.)


Peace and joy to you. The excitement is building in our house.  A snowfall postponed the school concert but brought with it the chance for a snowman this morning -- which is not a problem, since I won't be spending all my time baking!


  1. What a great idea! Beautiful presentation too. Merry Christmas xo

  2. A super idea! I love the presentation. I wish I was your neighbor! Merry Christmas. xo

  3. they look wonderful!!

    those are the same mason jars available in switzerland (all of europe?), and i have a set left over from some project or other that my husband wanted to throw out to save space once we moved here. i swear the kitchen in this house is smaller than the kitchen in our swiss apt. anyway, i, of course, said "noooo!!!! he thinks i'm nuts. maybe i should have told him they're from italy?? i don't think it would have made a difference to him though! :)

    hope you all get your snowman!!!! have a great weekend!

  4. hah! I lugged cases of those Quattro Stagoni jars back to the US! But since I can't replace them, there is no way in heck I'm gifting them ;) I also cheat with my biscotti recipe and use a cake mix recipe from the Cake Doctor.. once my Naples neighbors raved about how good my biscotti were!! I didn't have the heart to tell her it was Betty Crocker ;)

  5. What a fantastic idea! Great job!

  6. They look great. I've been envying the mason jars I see around in blogville (especially the tinted blue version!), but looking at your pretty presents makes me happy about quattro stagioni.
    I think the small size of our ovens (cappone-sized ovens?) is the reason why we don't have a tradition of making roast turkey for the holidays:) Ciao!

  7. Touche, Karen. (as I google "Cake Doctor biscotti")

    I think I'm on to something with these biscotti -- my husband's boss just went on and on and on throughout the day about how much she llooovveed them. Ha!

  8. brillant gifts! and of course now you have inspired me to bake something italian (i can't stop baking chocolate cookies, brownies and the like!!)

  9. I love biscottis! Wish someone would bake me a batch since I'm dreadful in the kitchen...hint,hint! ;o)