Salted Peanut Butter Cookies (Gluten free!)

If you love a good, old fashioned peanut butter cookie and a cold glass of milk, you’ll love this healthier version. Sweet, salty and oh-so-chewy, they’re also gluten free, which is a popular diet and nutrition trend these days. For this recipe, I used half granulated white sugar and half organic coconut sugar (coconut palm sugar has a lower glycemic level than white sugar), but you could certainly use the full amount of granulated sugar if you don’t have coconut sugar on hand. All-natural or organic peanut butter also contributes to making this cookie light and chewy. I just love this recipe because it’s so darn easy to make; the batter takes less than five minutes to throw together, so you can make warm, peanut butter cookies in no time at all. Be sure to double the batch because the kids are sure to want this as an after-school snack!

peanut butter cookies

Salted Peanut Butter Cookies (Gluten free!)
Recipe type: Cookie
Serves: 12
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) smooth, all-natural peanut butter
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup organic coconut sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • Sea salt for sprinkling on top
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix all of the ingredients (except the salt) together in a bowl.
  3. Spoon tablespoon-size lumps of cookie batter onto an ungreased cookie sheet, about one inch apart.
  4. Using a fork, make a crosshatch in the top of each cookie, gently pressing down.
  5. Sprinkle each cookie with sea salt.
  6. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the edges are lightly golden. Rotate the baking sheet halfway through the baking process.
  7. Cool slightly on the baking sheet, then move the cookies to a cooling rack.

 

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Farfalle with Shrimp & Baby Spinach

If the thought of prix fixe menus and over-crowded, noisy restaurants have you feeling unenthusiastic about Valentine’s Day dinner this year, you’ve come to the right place! Why not stay in this year and make a super easy, elegant dish that will impress your sweetie (or in my case, my sweetie and three kids!)? With just a few simple ingredients, you can pull together a main-course pasta dish that will have your taste-buds doing the happy dance — all in the privacy and comfort of your own kitchen!

farfalle with spinach_shrimp

Farfalle with Shrimp & Baby Spinach
 
Ingredients
  • 1 pound of cleaned, de-veined large shrimp (I prefer to remove the tails also when I'm serving mixed with pasta); I cut the shrimp in half, but you can certainly leave them whole
  • 1 pound of Barilla farfalle pasta
  • 1 bag of pre-washed baby spinach
  • 1 8-ounce bottle of Cento clam juice
  • 1 medium shallot, finely shopped
  • About 2 Tbsp. butter
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • Olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Crushed red pepper
  • Black pepper
Instructions
  1. In a large skillet, saute the shallot in about one Tbsp. olive oil and 1 Tbsp. butter. Saute until tender, but not brown.
  2. Add the shrimp. Begin to saute with the chopped shallot. Add the whole bottle of clam juice. Cover and allow to cook over medium-high heat until the shrimp begin to turn slightly pink and the broth is gently simmering.
  3. At this point, add 1 Tbsp. butter and the lemon juice.
  4. Season with salt, red pepper and black pepper, to taste. The clam juice is salty, so don't go too heavy with adding more salt.
  5. In the meantime, cook the pasta. You can begin cooking the pasta right away since the shrimp really only takes a few minutes to cook.
  6. Add the baby spinach to the shrimp, allowing it to just become wilted. Remove from the heat.
  7. Using a handheld colander, begin scooping the pasta, draining slightly and adding directly to the pan with the shrimp and spinach. Reserve some pasta cooking water in case the pasta seems too dry.
  8. Toss well with tongs and serve!

 

 

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Game-Day Pinwheels

The Crafty Hostess: MakePerfect for this weekend’s SuperBowl party, these tasty pinwheels are a great appetizer or snacking food — and they couldn’t be easier to make! This is the type of no-fuss, semi-homemade appetizer that can be made with all store-bought ingredients, but it looks like they took hours to make. Shh… it’ll be our little secret! Best of all, you can use any variety of fillings and create both sweet and savory filling combinations.

appetizers

This pic depicts two versions of pinwheels using the following fillings in puff pastry:

  1. Pesto / salami / shredded mozzarella / Parmesan
  2. Red tomato pesto / prosciutto / shredded nozzarella / Parmesan

Here are some more delicious combos to try:

  • Gruyere / caramelized onions
  • Brie / apricot jam / baby arugula
  • Roasted peppers / baby spinach / mozzarella
  • Nutella / ricotta cheese (then sprinkle the baked pinwheels with confectioners’ sugar)

How to:

Thaw puff pastry sheets. Roll them out just a bit with a rolling pin on a lightly floured surface (don’t make them too thin or they will tear).

Spread the pesto onto each sheet of pastry, then add the meats and cheeses in thin layers. Keep in mind, f you over-stuff the pastry, it will seep out the sides while baking.

Roll up tightly into a log and slice into pinwheels with a sharp knife. Place the pinwheels flat on a baking sheet that’s been lined with parchment paper or Silpat.

Bake according to the directions on the puff pastry package. Serve hot or warm.

 

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Boozy Hot Cocoa & More Ideas Just for Moms

The Crafty Hostess: MakeOkay, so let’s be honest. The thought of being snowed in with three kids ages 2, 4 and 7 can be a little daunting. I mean, they are going to argue and bicker and have tantrums no matter how many activities I engage them in or tricks I pull out of my magic hat. So when the kids are finally quiet and watching a movie, napping (this doesn’t happen too often anymore!) or crafting to their hearts content (I swear, sometimes I mistake my kitchen for an art studio!), it gives me a few minutes to whip up a few things that I can enjoy and indulge in once they are fast asleep for the night.

My typical nightly routine after I make lunches, finish cleaning up the kitchen, fold the 100th load of laundry and get everything ready for the next day when the troops arise, is to slip on my pj’s, make a cup of herbal tea and relax in the living room with the hubster (I usually read a magazine and he’s glued to the TV). But on snowy winter days when the kids are stuck inside, I feel like I deserve a little more pampering. Here are two easy recipes for do-it-yourself body products to help keep your skin feeling soft and smooth during this cold season. I like to follow up my in-home spa treatments with a cup of Boozy Hot Cocoa (get my recipe below).

This homemade, exfoliating Almond Lip Sugar is made with a few simple ingredients that you probably already have in your pantry. It gently removes the chapped skin on your lips, leaving them soft and supple. Make a big batch and give some to your friends, too. I’m warning you — it’s good enough to eat!

homemade lip scrub

Ingredients:

1 Tbsp. white sugar

1 Tbsp. honey

1 Tsp. olive oil

1 Tsp. coconut oil, softened slightly in microwave

A drop or two of pure almond extract

 

How to:

  1. Mix 1 tablespoon of honey with 1 tablespoon of sugar together in a small bowl.
  2. Add 1 teaspoon of olive oil and mix well.
  3. Add 1 teaspoon of melted coconut oil and mix well.
  4. Add almond extract; mix well.
  5. Spoon into a container and use within 1-2 weeks.

To use, take a dime size amount of scrub and rub gently onto dry lips. Gently rub until some of the sugar has dissolved. Rinse well with warm water. Follow with your favorite lip balm.

 

Homemade Vanilla-Brown Sugar Foot Scrub

Slough this over dry, tired feet for an instant pick-me-up.

foot scrub

Ingredients:

1 Tbsp. dark brown sugar

1 Tbsp. baking soda

1 Tbsp. olive oil

Drop of pure vanilla extract for fragrance

 

How to:

In a small bowl, mix all ingredients together until well combined. I used the back of a spoon to ensure that the sugar was broken up and well-incorporated.

Use on your feet, elbows or other rough areas. I find that scrubs like this work best on slightly wet or damp feet. Rub into heels and all over feet. You may also want to scrub with a foot file or pumice stone. Rinse with warm water and follow with a nice lotion or foot cream.

Store in container for 1-2 weeks.

 

Boozy Hot Cocoa

Long day with the kids or at the office? No problem! Indulge in this rich, decadent, chocoholic’s dreamy hot cocoa. I used Godiva Chocolate Liqueur to booze it up a bit, but feel free to use whatever you prefer or have on hand. Amaretto is an excellent choice, as is Frangelico or even a light rum.

boozy hot cocoa

 

(Makes 2 servings)

 

Ingredients:

2 cups milk

2 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder

3 tsp. sugar

1/4 tsp. espresso powder

1/3 cup dark chocolate morsels/chips

2 ounces Godiva Chocolate Liqueur

1/4 tsp. pure vanilla extract

Pinch of salt

 

How to:

In a small pot, begin to heat the milk over low heat. Once the milk is warm, add the cocoa powder and espresso powder. Whisk until the powders dissolve into the milk.

Next, add the dark chocolate. Using a spoon, stir the mixture until the chocolate melts.

Add the sugar, vanilla extract and salt. Stir for a few minutes longer. Once the sugar is dissolved and steam begins to come off the pot, it’s done. Remove from the heat. You want to be careful not to burn the milk.

Stir in the Godiva liqueur. Ladle into mugs. Top with whipped cream and serve hot.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Snow Day Box & More Boredom Busters!

CreateAs the Northeast and New England areas of the country brace for a massive blizzard, grocery stores are jam packed and schools are closing early. In anticipation of getting almost 2-feet of snow, most schools have already posted cancellations for tomorrow. If you’re a parent of  youngsters like I am, then you’ll need to plan accordingly to keep the kids under control and yourself relatively sane! The last thing you want to hear as the snow piles up is “Mom, we’re bored!” Here are a few ideas and activities to keep the kids occupied and entertained while cooped up in the house. Tomorrow, I’ll be sharing a couple of ideas for us moms to sneak in a little rest and relaxation while the snow falls outside. Be safe and stay warm!

Snow Day Box

snow day box

Fill a shoe box or cardboard photo/storage box (these can be found at most craft stores and dollar stores) with trinkets to keep the kids busy. I stash things away all year long when I’m scouring the dollar bins at Target and Michaels. Things like craft supplies, beads, baubles and other items make for a good variety; including an assortment of shapes, colors and textures provides a feast for the eyes. Personalize the top and sides of the box with decorative paper (scrapbooking paper works well), stickers, glitter.

snow  box top

 

DIY Velvet Play-Dough

play dough

Easy to make and so much fun to mold, shape and squeeze between little fingers, this homemade play dough will offer hours of fun for kids of all ages! Get my recipe here.

Snowman Measuring Stick Craft

DSC_0820

snowman stickMake this adorable snowman measuring stick, then when the snow stops falling, take a walk outside to see how many inches of the white stuff are on the ground!

Materials Needed:

  • Wooden paint stick from any local paint supply store or Home Depot/Lowes
  • White paint
  • Felt (any color, we used blue)
  • Foam sheets (white, black, red, yellow, orange)
  • Brown pipe cleaners
  • Sharpie permanent markers (red, black)

How to:

  1. Paint the wooden paint stick white and let it dry.  Starting at the bottom of the stick, mark off 1 inch intervals by drawing a small line in black and numbering in red 1, 2, 3 etc. from the bottom of the stick up towards the top.
  2. Start by making the snowman’s head by using the white foam sheet and cutting it into a circle.  Glue that on to the top of the stick and use the markers to put eyes, a mouth and an orange carrot nose.  Using the black foam, cut out a top hat and glue it to the top of the snowman’s head.  We embellished the hat with a red foam band and a yellow star.
  3. Cut a strip of felt 10” by ¾” for the scarf.  At each end, cut vertical slits to make fringes.  Wrap the completed scarf around the neck of the paint stick.
  4. To make the snowman’s arms, cut the brown pipe cleaners the length you’d like the arms to be and make a few fingers at the end with a small piece of pipe cleaner and glue to the back of the paint stick.
  5. When it snows, place the snowman into the snow until it reaches the ground and see how much snow you have!

For more fun winter kids’ craft ideas like this one, check out my blog post Winter Crafts for Kids. 

DIY Pizza or Ice Cream Sundae Bar

pizza bar toppings

Set up a pizza topping bar or ice cream sundae bar right in your own kitchen. Stop at the local pizzeria or grocery store and buy pre-made pizza/bread dough. Or try this recipe for Eating Well’s Quick Pizza Dough. Set out bowls with various pizza toppings, like cheese, olives, bacon, sausage, pineapple, mushrooms or anything that your family likes to eat. Let everyone top their own personal pizza or customize a section of a large pizza pie.

It may be cold outside, but ice cream is a year-round treat. Like the pizza bar concept, stock your pantry with toppings like sprinkles, crushed cookies, M&Ms, chocolate chips, peanuts, cherries, syrups; include fresh options, also, such as sliced strawberries, bananas, blueberries. Set everything out after dinner and have an ice cream party while watching the snow fall!

sundae3

 

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Coconut-Walnut Biscotti

BakeEarlier this month, we celebrated our daughter’s 7th birthday. Wow, where did the time go? I remember the 18 hours of labor like it was yesterday (which, by the way, ended with a C-section!). Since she’s a January baby, I love doing a winter wonderland/snowflake theme for the decor and paper products; lots of white, teal and silver. My sister-in-law offered to bake a big platter of cookies (I’d be a fool to refuse!) and when she arrived, I was thrilled to see dozens of teal and white cookies piled high on a platter! These biscotti were my absolute favorite, so I just had to share them with you. I hope you love them as much as I did. This weekend, as Old Man Winter does his thing, dunk one of these delicious cookies in a mug of piping hot coffee and stay toasty indoors!

coconut biscotti

Coconut-Walnut Biscotti
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon coconut extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 3½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup flaked coconut
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • Splash of coconut rum (optional)
  • For the "snow" topping: white chocolate and shredded coconut
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. In a medium bowl, cream together the sugar and butter. Stir in the coconut extract and
  3. the eggs.
  4. Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt, stir into the creamed mixture. Finally, fold in the coconut and walnuts.
  5. Divide dough into 2 pieces. Roll each piece out into a log about 10 inches long. Place them
  6. on an ungreased cookie sheet and flatten them until they are about 3 inches wide.
  7. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes in the preheated oven, until firm. Cool on baking sheet for 10 to
  8. minutes.
  9. Slice the logs crosswise into ½ inch wide slices. Place slices cut side down onto the
  10. baking sheet.
  11. Return to the oven for an additional 15 minutes, until crisp and light brown. Cool completely.
  12. Melt white chocolate. Spread on top of each cookie and sprinkle with shredded coconut.

 

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Outdoor Decor Ideas for Winter

CreateThe holidays may be over and the decorations packed away for next year, but that doesn’t mean that your outdoor entry area has to be humdrum and blah. For those who live in warmer climates, it’s much easier to keep your curb appeal going from season to season. However, for those of us who live in colder areas that get hit with the brunt of snow and stormy weather, we have to be a bit more creative when adding a little seasonal flair to our front entries and outdoor accent areas. Here are a few non-holiday specific ideas to add a bit of visual interest to your outdoor scheme this winter season. Not only will they give your curb appeal a little boost, but they will welcome guests inside for a hot cup of cocoa and a chat by the fire!

Winter Washtub

Fill with pine and curly branches; spray paint branches red for a pop of color.

Photo courtesy of GardenWeb

Photo courtesy of GardenWeb

Winter Containers

Fill outdoor pots with a combination of plants and materials that will last until spring. Here are some recommendations:

  • Birch logs
  • Magnolia tips
  • Seeded eucalyptus
  • Ontario cedar
  • Red pine
  • Decorative mentola balls
  • B.C. hemlock
  • Italian cotoneaster
Photo courtesy of Canadian Gardening

Photo courtesy of Canadian Gardening

Lighted branches add a bit of whimsy to a pot filled with winter greens.

Photo courtesy of Antiqueaholics

Photo courtesy of Antiqueaholics

Let it snow!

Iron snowflakes last all winter long.

Photo courtesy of Houzz

Add a bit of winter to your front door with this easy-to-make wreath from Setting for Four. 

Photo courtesy of Setting for Four

Photo courtesy of Setting for Four

Flea market/thrift store finds can be used to create easy, affordable outdoor decor. I just love this red sled with the old ice skates slung over top!

Photo courtesy of Itsy Bits and Pieces

Photo courtesy of Itsy Bits and Pieces

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REVEAL: My Bathroom Renovation!

CreateWhen we bought our home six years ago, we knew that eventually we’d renovate all of the bathrooms and kitchen. The bathroom off the kitchen in our colonial-style home was completely original to when the house was built in 1984. Let’s just say it was an eyesore; ugly white counter-tops, beat up white ceramic tile and frosted glass shower doors. Eek! The vanity was way too big for the overall size of the room, the toilet bowl stuck out too far and the dated ceramic and acrylic towel bar was directly behind the door, so it always hit the bar when you opened it.

Our plan from the beginning was to gut this high-traffic bathroom when we renovated our kitchen (the kitchen project will probably happen when our kids are a little older so they don’t destroy the cabinets!). But, that all changed one day last year when my husband agreed to, at the very least, replace the bathroom sink faucet, which splashed water everywhere and was really annoying to use. What started as replacing the faucet, turned into “why not replace the vanity too?” and then before I knew it, BANG, THUD, BOOM. Pieces of the bathroom started flying out into the hallway right before my eyes!  Every man’s dream — to take a sledgehammer to something that you hate! And so began the bathroom renovation…

This was not a project for the faint of heart. Let me set the stage: perfectionist husband who works long hours at his day job, three very young kids, anal-retentive wife (I admit it!), high-traffic bathroom that everyone including guests use most often, structural/building issues that had to be addressed so the project would come out right… YIKES!  In the end, the bathroom turned out beautifully. Kudos to my very talented hubby who did all of the work himself (with the exception of some plumbing in the shower, spray foam insulation in the walls and installation of the custom shower doors. Before I show you all the big reveal, I’d like to point out that many of the materials and items were purchased at Lowe’s. We mixed home center materials and fixtures with a few high-end and/or custom elements to achieve the look we were going for. Drum roll, please!

 

Flooring

bathroomfloor

Main bathroom floor: Ivory Travertine set on a diagonal; Lowe’s, Allen & Roth brand; the center row of tiles is a smaller ivory travertine tile on mesh back. We removed the four inner square tiles and inserted a 4 x 4 square metal decorative tile.

Shower

shower

The floor and ceiling in the shower is the same tile as what we used for the center row of tiles in the main area of bathroom. The shower walls are also Ivory Travertine, Allen & Roth. A decorative listello runs at chair-rail height throughout the entire bathroom, including the shower area. The listello is a mix of ivory travertine, nocce travertine and metal, which ties in with the flooring.

Frameless, crystal clear shower doors with oil-rubbed bronze hardware are custom.

Shower water control hardware is oil-rubbed bronze, Kohler from Lowe’s.

Custom shower sill is honed Naica quartz, which is the same material we used for the sink top.

shower niche

Niche on back wall of shower holds bottles of soap or shampoo. We repeated the same small tile look on the back wall of the niche. However, the profiled travertine pencils and trim pieces that frame the niche are from The Tile Shop.

rain shower head

Oil-rubbed bronze rain shower head is Huntington Brass.

 

Vanity

vanity

27″ dark wood vanity is from Lowe’s. It actually came with a sink, sink top and faucet. We opted to use only the vanity cabinet and faucet and mixed with a custom quartz counter-top and copper vessel sink.

sink top

Locally sourced custom polished Naica quartz counter-top; copper and glass mosaic vessel sink is from Signature Hardware.

faucet_mirror

Rectangular vanity mirror is the same matching wood to that of vanity, also from Lowe’s.

 

Light Fixture 

light fixture

Oil-rubbed bronze scrolled vanity light, Lowe’s. We upgraded the glass shades that came with the kit to the mother-of-pearl shades seen here.

Since the bathroom is on the small side, we replaced the towel bar with a single ring towel holder much closer to the sink, also in oil-rubbed bronze. We also mounted a vertical toilet paper holder in between the toilet and vanity to save wall space.

 

Toilet

toilet

 

European-style white toilet bowl is Toto (see showrooms).

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New Year’s Day Turkey-Bean Chili

The Crafty Hostess: MakeFor many of us, New Year’s Day is a lazy day spent hanging around the house, taking down and stashing the holiday decorations. For some, hitting the malls for the winter clearance sales is more up their alley. However you choose to spend this first day of the shiny New Year, enjoy it with a big bowl of this healthy, comforting, Turkey-Bean Chili. Make it in the morning before you head out for a day of bargain-hunting or let it simmer away while you pack and reorganize the Christmas decor. I always make a huge batch of it so we have it for a few days, which is one less meal that I have to plan for (and it tastes great reheated for lunch!). Top each bowl with shredded cheese, sour cream, guacamole, tortillas, sliced black olives, chopped onions… whatever your family likes. Cheers to a happy, healthy, delicious New Year!

turkey chili

New Year's Day Turkey-Bean Chili
 
Ingredients
  • 3 pounds lean ground turkey
  • 1 large onion, roughly chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 5 cans of beans (I used a combo of white beans, black beans and kidney beans), rinsed and drained
  • 1 jar (about 24 ounces) of tomato sauce (I use the tomato sauce that my family jars each summer); if you like, you can also used crushed tomatoes or a can of peeled tomatoes
  • ½ of an envelope of McCormick Low Sodium Chili Seasoning (feel free to use more or less depending on your taste)
  • ½ a bottle of beer
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • Olive oil
Instructions
  1. In the bottom of a 6 quart cast iron pot, begin browning the ground turkey in a small amount of olive oil. Using a wooden or silicone spoon, break up the meat into small pieces. Once all of the meat is browned, remove it from the pot using a slotted spoon. Set aside. Drain and discard the juice that's left in the pot.
  2. Add a bit more olive oil to the pot; add the onions and garlic and cook until just barely translucent. Add a pinch of kosher salt.
  3. Pour in the beer and cook until it reduces by about half, maybe 5 minutes. Scrape the bottom of the pot so the bits of turkey become part of the onion mixture.
  4. Once the beer-onion mixture reduces, add the meat back in, then the beans.
  5. Pour in the jar of tomato sauce and the seasoning packet.
  6. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Stir well.
  7. Cover and bring to a boil. Once it reaches a boil, reduce and simmer on low for 1½ to 2 hours, stirring occasionally.
  8. Taste and adjust the seasoning according to your preference.

 

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Chocolate Dessert Salami

The Crafty Hostess: MakeMy two closest girlfriends and I stopped exchanging Christmas gifts once we all had kids. Now, our kids do a present exchange instead, which is always a lot of fun. Even though the focus is on the kiddos, I still like to give them each a little something to show that I appreciate their friendship. Homemade, handmade food gifts are perfect because they are not only delicious, but show that you’ve taken the time to make something special.

When giving a food gift, I try to package it with something useful and/or decorative, like in this case, a festive cutting board with cheese knife that can be used for years to come. Get creative with how you present your food gifts; wrap mason jars in a nice quality dish towel and tie with a pretty bow; package multiple items in a vintage wood crate that can later be used to stash magazines or slippers; the possibilities are endless. Garage sales and flea markets are often great places to find unique items that can be re-purposed for gift-giving — and they won’t break the bank!

This makes SUCH as ADORABLE gift, I just can’t stand it! I came across Giada’s recipe (below) for Chocolate Dessert Salami in her digital weekly magazine. I wrapped each ‘salami’ in parchment paper and tied the ends with butchers twine (but feel free to use any type of ribbon that you have on hand). It’s also a nice touch to attach a sprig of pine, a candy cane or cinnamon stick to the chocolate log once it’s wrapped. I found this festive cutting board set at Christmas Tree Shops for 10 bucks and I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was a nice size serving board and heavyweight, too! Bargain!

chocolate salami with board

chocolate salami_sliced

Giada’s Chocolate Dessert Salami

(Makes two logs)

Ingredients:

1/2 cup slivered almonds (2 1/2 ounces)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (2 1/2 ounces)
Two 5 inch long plain biscotti, coarsely crushed
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces, at room temperature
One 12-ounce bag semisweet chocolate chips, such as Ghirardelli
1/4 cup brewed coffee
1 teaspoon grated orange zest (about 1/2 medium orange)
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar

How to:

Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Spread the almonds, walnuts and crushed biscotti in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake until the nuts are lightly toasted, 6 to 8 minutes. Cool completely.

Put the butter and chocolate in a heatproof medium bowl and place the bowl over a pan of barely simmering water. Stir until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth, about 6 minutes. Stir in the coffee until smooth. Add the almonds, walnuts, biscotti pieces and orange zest, and stir until combined. Cover the bowl and refrigerate until firm but moldable, 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

Divide the chocolate mixture in half. Place half of the mixture in the center of an 18-inch-long piece of plastic wrap. Using a spatula, form the mixture into a log, about 7 inches long and 2 inches in diameter. Roll up the log in the plastic and twist the ends to seal. Roll back and forth on a work surface a few times to make the log evenly round. Repeat with the remaining chocolate mixture. Refrigerate the logs until firm, about 1 hour.

Spread the confectioners’ sugar on a dinner plate. Remove the plastic wrap from the logs, then roll them in the sugar until coated. Using a pastry brush, brush away the excess sugar. Let the logs sit at room temperature for 15 minutes. Using a sharp serrated knife, cut the logs into 1/2-inch-thick slices and serve.

Cook’s Note: The dessert can be frozen for up to 1 month. Thaw at room temperature for 25 minutes before slicing.

 

 

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