When we visited my Mom in Virginny in the fall, I came across a nutmeg grater that was so cute I had to ask her about it. Mom said that it was a souvenir of a trip she and Dad took to Canada...she saw it in a store and had to have it. It grater is metal, curved, with sort of star shaped burrs for the grating part. What is so cute is that on top there is a little holder for a whole nutmeg, complete with a swinging lid. Since that trip was when I discovered the Penzey's spice store, too, I made sure to get her some fresh whole nutmegs to use for the upcoming holiday cooking. She said that she had never seen a grater like it.
It wasn't more than a few weeks after we returned home that I spotted the exact same grater in a store in Sonoma. I was amazed! Driving home I decided that I could make a great Christmas package with the grater, some Penzey's whole nutmegs and some kind of cookie that had nutmeg as a key ingredient. After a fun time looking at cookie recipes online, I found one on the Land O'Lakes site for Eggnog Cherry Biscotti that seemed just right. Since my stash of dried cherries was lower than I had thought, I decided to replace some of them with dried cranberries.
It made a great gift: the grater with a nutmeg in the little compartment, the recipe card for the biscotti tied to the grater with a red ribbon, a snack Ziploc bag with some more whole nutmegs, and another, larger Ziploc bag with the cookies. If I were not going to ship them, I might have drizzled some icing on the biscotti, but the ones I shipped were plain but fruity with a faint eggnog flavor, dry, crunchy and delicious.
Eggnog Cherry Cranberry Biscotti
makes about 3 dozen cookies
a variation of a recipe from the Land O'Lakes website
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
6 tablespoons butter, softened
1 teaspoon rum extract
1/2 cup dried cherries, chopped
1/2 cup dried cranberries
Heat oven to 325 degrees F. Line ungreased cookies sheet with parchment paper.
Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and nutmeg in large bowl. Add butter; beat at low speed until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Increase speed to medium; add eggs and 1 teaspoon rum extract. Beat until well mixed. Stir in the dry fruit by hand.
Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface; knead 10 to 15 times with lightly floured hands. (I found that the dough was sticky enough that the surface needed a fair amount of flour to keep the dough from sticking while kneading). Divide dough in half; roll each half into 14-inch log. place logs 3 inches apart onto prepared baking sheet; flatten each log to about 2 inches wide. They will spread a bit during baking. Bake for 20 - 25 minutes or until set. Cool 10 minutes on cooling rack covered with parchment paper.
Reduce the oven temperature to 275 degrees F. Remove logs from parchment to a cutting board; cut into 3/4 inch diagonal slices. Lay slices onto same cookie sheet, cut-side down. Bake for 13 minutes. Turn over to other cut side. Continue baking an additional 12-14 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from cookie sheet. Cool completely.