If you are like me, these past few days have been a blur of stores and sugar. My kitchen is always busy with someone making a new Christmas cookie for out family's annual Christmas Eve party. In between the cookies, I'm trying to navigate awful mall parking lots in an attempt to find just a few more gifts. I've figured out that if you don't really know what to get for them, something handmade is probably the best way to go.

Well I had a ton of options for recipes this week, considering the amount of cookies that have been made in the last two days. Hands down my favorite one was the biscotti. It's pretty easy and makes for a great breakfast or dessert item.

Pistachio Dried Cranberry Biscotti with White Chocolate

Adapted from: Bon Appetit
Makes approx. 25

For the biscotti:

3 cups flour
1 cup sugar
 2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
 3 large eggs
2 Tbsp. canola oil
2 tsp. almond extract
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup unsalted, shelled pistachios

Preheat oven to 350°. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle, beat sugar, eggs, oil, and almond extract until combined. Add flour mixture and beat until smooth.  Stir in cherries and pistachios.
Scoop dough into two rough looking logs on the prepared baking sheet. Using wet fingers, shape each dough half into a 13" long,  3" wide log. Bake 30 minutes. Let cool for 20 minutes. Reduce oven to 325°.  Transfer biscotti to a work surface. Using a serrated knife, cut each strip horizontally into 1/2" thick slices. Arrange slices,  standing upright, on a pan with a different piece of parchment. Bake biscotti 20 minutes, until slightly golden. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

For the Chocolate:  
8 oz. white chocolate

Melt white chocolate in a glass bowl over a pot of simmering water. Stirring occasionally. Dip one end of the biscotti into the chocolate. Place on a baking sheet fitted with wax paper and allow the chocolate to set in the fridge.

I seriously have eaten so many of these over the past few days! They have amazing flavor, and are some of the best biscotti I have ever had!

Until next week!
It's getting closer to the holidays, and I went out and bought an ugly sweater to wear just for kicks.
So, the Christmas season is all about cookies. However, sometimes people spend hours and hours making them. Trust me I have been in this position many times! So, that got me thinking, whats a great holiday substitute for cookies that don't take up an entire day or two? Toffee is for sure the answer. This recipe is super easy, and one batch makes about 30 servings!

Chocolate Covered Toffee

From with edits to: Allrecipes

For the Toffee:
2 cups butter, cut into 1 tbs cubes
2 cups white sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Line a cookie sheet with a Silipat mat. (You can use parchment, however, the toffee may stick).
In a large heavy bottomed saucepan, combine the butter, sugar and salt. Cook over medium heat, stirring until the butter is melted. Allow to come to a boil, and cook until the mixture becomes a dark amber color, (285 degrees F) (You really should go by color, not temperature. Do not burn the mixture). Stir occasionally.
As soon as the toffee reaches the proper temperature, pour it out onto the prepared baking sheet. With an offset spatula spread the toffee out to the edges of the pan. Sprinkle the chocolate over the top, and let it set for a minute or two to soften. Spread the chocolate into a thin even layer once it is melted.
Place the toffee in the refrigerator to chill until set. Break into pieces, and store in an airtight container.

That's it! It's a super easy recipe, however be very careful not to burn the butter. It is better to take it off early than too late.
Also, while you are making this everyone will stop by the kitchen and comment on how good it smells!

Hope you all have a great holiday season!