It’s gotten cold. Winter began creeping in a week or so ago. And with it, that dull light that is the bane of food bloggers. Hence the photo quality. Would it be weird to ask for pieces of white and black foam board for Christmas?
Then it snowed. It was so unexpected that the kids didn’t even have boots. We haven’t gotten snow like this in November in…. Well, I don’t remember. Not in the past few years, anyway. I’d already given up pining for it when it arrived. And it brought with it a very festive spark.
Does anything (besides maybe Clementines) taste more like the holiday season? We don’t often buy them, because the peanut free ones usually come in boxes, and we usually don’t go through a whole box, and they end up in the back of a cupboard until they’re found some years later, colours bleeding and sticky. Plus, my son prefers the cherry ones. LOL
I wanted to make some candy cane flavoured syrup for coffee and hot chocolate. Many “recipes” that I came upon simply melted candy canes into sugar syrup. I guess that would be a use for the surplus sweets in the box…. Anyway, I have some peppermint oil in the cupboard. Oil is much more potent than extract (and I only have a mixed mint extract, which is just wrong tasting and needs to hit the bin). I played around a bit and created this…
Candy Cane Beverage Syrup
In a large sauce pot, combine 2 cups white sugar and 1/4-1/2 tsp. peppermint oil (aim for somewhere in between). Stir and add 3 cups water. Heat over medium until the sugar is fully dissolved. Do NOT stick your head over the pot to take a sniff. Believe me. The mint will burn your eyes. Add a little red food colouring, if desired, and cool. Put up in a nice bottle, if you have one, and store in the fridge. Add, to taste, to your favourite hot holiday beverages. It obviously works a treat in coffee and hot chocolate, but my daughter discovered that it’s also wonderful in a simple mug of warm milk.
But Wait, There’s More
You can’t have a hot holiday beverage without a little something to dip in it. In this case, I created a brown butter biscotti with chocolate chips. To be honest, the chocolate flavour masks the subtle nuttiness of the browned butter, but they’re still delicious. I’d either not brown the butter and use the chocolate chips, or I’d brown the butter and use nuts in place of the chocolate the next time (so thankful that we can buy peanut-free tree nuts locally).
Brown Butter Biscotti
Because you lose a little water when browning the butter, start with about 5 tablespoons of butter to get the quarter cup of final nutty goodness.
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup browned butter, cooled slightly
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup chocolate chips, nuts or dried fruit
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Stir the sugar and butter together. Add the eggs, one at a time and continue to beat for a few more minutes until it’s all glossy. Stir in the vanilla.
In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt and add to the butter mixture. Combine well then stir in the add ins of your choice.
Shape the dough into a log, about 12-inches long and 3-inches wide. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet flatten slightly. Bake for 30 minutes.
Remove from oven and cool slightly. Slice into 1/2-inch slices and return to the baking sheet. A bench scraper is perfect for this. Bake again until the cookies brown slightly, about ten minutes. Flip them over and let the other side brown another few minutes. Cool and store in an air tight container.
Makes about 20