I wish I could say the holidays always bring out the best in us. But I’d be lying. There are quite a few things around the holidays that while intended to spread goodwill and cheer, produce more stress and discord. Example…holiday cards. My husband thinks it is a ridiculous tradition and doesn’t understand why we are sending holiday greetings to friends or family that we may not have seen or spoken to at all throughout the year. And, why do the people we see often need a card with our kid’s picture on it, since they already know what they look like. Better yet, he also wonders why we can’t send cards that say “Merry Christmas” or why we can’t simply call it a Christmas card anymore. Yet, every year we still send them.
For this year’s holiday card we took a great photo of the kids angelically playing in the snow. Then I created, ordered, addressed, and stuffed the cards. All I asked is that he seal the envelopes and maybe put on a few stamps. But, that is when the drama usually begins.
Last night we agreed we would finish the process and get the cards in the mail. I walked into the dining room after the kids were in bed and he was waiting for me at the table with a towel spread out in front of him and wet rag in his hand, announcing that he is ready to commence operation holiday cards. He has devised a system for sealing the cards that includes a moist, yet he assured me not too moist, kitchen rag. I am sure when people get our holiday greetings the envelop is stuck to the cards, which are all warped from the amount of water he is slathering on them. When I nonchalantly mention not to wring the rag out on the cards, he retaliates by letting me know that if I was licking all the cards I would probably have a tongue covered in paper cuts and spend the night at Patient First so they could sew me up.
As I was handing him the stuffed envelopes, he told me I needed to toss each one over further to his left so he didn’t have to strain his neck picking them up by reaching across his body.
In an attempt to spread holiday cheer and lift the mood, I casually remind him of the days when we used to have to lick the stamps too. At least now they are self-adhesive. He is less than amused.
So if you are expecting a holiday card from us, know that the kids stamped the return address upside down on most of the cards, my husband thoroughly doused each card with water as he sealed it, and I actually put most of the stamps on upside down. So, we’ve yet again managed to take a holiday tradition intended to bring cheer and turn it into a spectacle.
So after a jolly good time of bonding, laughing at each other and our ridiculously cynical ways, these Lemon Thyme Biscotti with Pistachios were a total stress reliever. We made the lemon thyme sugar a day ahead to let the flavors meld. The roasted and salted pistachios are a perfect complement to the sweet and savory lemon thyme sugar, which also lends a wonderful lemony sweetness to a cup of tea.
Lemon Thyme Biscotti with Pistachios
YIELD: approximately two dozen
2 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
1 cup lemon thyme sugar (see recipe below)
2 teaspoons double-acting baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons Lemoncello
¾ pistachios, roasted and salted
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and place the rack in the middle of the oven.
2. In a large flat-bottomed bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
3. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the eggs and Lemoncello.
4. With a rubber spatula, stir the egg mixture into the flour mixture until the dough just starts to come together. Dust your hands with flour and knead the dough in the bowl until all the ingredients are incorporated and the dough is tacky.
5. Add the pistachios. Knead the dough until incorporated, about 10 – 20 times.
6. Separate the dough in half. Drizzle your hands with Lemoncello. Form two logs, approximately 3 inches wide and 1 inch high on a parchment lined baking sheet. Leave several inches between the logs, the dough will spread as it bakes.
7. Press the tops with lemon thyme sugar.
8. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 30 minutes, or until the tops begin to crack or split. Transfer logs to a wire cooling rack to cool completely.
9. Transfer biscotti logs to a cutting board. Slice the biscotti on a diagonal and place cut side down on the same parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for an additional 20 minutes, turning the biscotti once halfway through. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.
Lemon Thyme Sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
Zest of 2 lemons
3 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
1. Place sugar, zest, and thyme in food processor for approximately 20 seconds to thoroughly combine. Store in an airtight container.
What to do with the ends #55: Wet the ends and use them to seal your holidays cards. (Gotcha!)