Makes 1 quart of mix (enough for about 2 dozen biscotti)
Most bars-in-jars recipes are on the homey side, but this festive and slightly spicy holiday biscotti mix is designed to appeal to more sophisticated tastes. The nuts are delicious, but if you wish to avoid them, use 3/4 cup of white chocolate chips or chunks instead. Note that the white chocolate will yield much sweeter biscotti. For a gourmet look, use a stylish 1-liter European glass jar.
11/3 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Generous 1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup chopped crystallized ginger (about 2.5 ounces)
11/2 teaspoons ground ginger
Generous 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1 cup dried sweetened cranberries, such as Craisins
3/4 cup coarsely chopped pistachios, preferably unsalted, or pecans (or a combination)
Have ready an attractive 1-quart or 1-liter lidded jar.
On a large sheet of heavy-duty aluminum foil, thoroughly stir together the flour, baking powder and salt. Using the foil as a funnel, pour into the jar. Shake, then rap jar on the counter to even the layer. On the same sheet of foil, thoroughly combine the sugar, crystallized ginger, ground ginger and allspice. Add the mixture to the jar; shake and rap it to even the layer. Wipe down the jar sides, if necessary. Flip over the foil and use it to add the berries to the jar. Press down to compact the mixture. Add nut layer the same way and press down to even the top. Secure the lid firmly.
Attach a tag or card with the mixing and baking instructions. The mix will keep up to 1 month unrefrigerated, 2 months refrigerated.
Spiced Cranberry Biscotti
Makes about 2 dozen slices
1/3 cup corn oil or vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon lemon extract or
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 quart Spiced Cranberry Biscotti-in-Jars Mix (recipe above)
Set an oven rack in the middle position and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two 8-by-41/2-inch loaf pans with foil and then lightly coat with nonstick spray oil.
In a large bowl using a fork, combine the eggs, oil and lemon or vanilla extract. Gradually add the jar ingredients and mix until blended. Divide the dough in half and smooth evenly into each loaf pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until golden and just firm when pressed in the center of the top.
When the loaves are just cool enough to handle, lift them from pans (using the foil liners) and transfer to a cutting board. Discard the foil. Using a large serrated knife or chef's knife, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices.
Reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Place the slices, cut side up, and bake until toasted and golden, 10 to 15 minutes. Turn over and bake an additional 7 to 12 minutes or until browned. Let sit for 5 minutes, then transfer to racks to cool completely. Store in airtight container for up to 3 weeks or freeze for 2 months.
Per serving: 109 calories, 2 g protein, 15 g carbohydrates, 5 g fat, 18 mg cholesterol, 1 g saturated fat, 70 mg sodium, 1 g dietary fiber
Recipes tested by Marcia Kramer; e-mail questions to email@example.com
Nancy Baggett, author of the just-published "The All-American Dessert Book," is using her own bars-in-jars recipes to make kitchen gifts this year. She can be contacted through her Web site, www.kitchenlane.com.