Growing up, my Mom's friends had a yearly Christmas cookie swap party, and every year I looked forward to the wealth of treats she brought home (a particular favorite was the stained glass cookie - a sugar cookie with candies melted into a hole in the center, creating a colorful glass-like appearance).
It became tradition for Mom to make her mandelbrot - a Jewish biscotti (Serious Eats posted a recipe here) that she especially loved when stuffed with the dried candied fruit more frequently associated with the dreaded fruitcake. (I don't know if that's a traditional thing or not, her version is the only one I've seen like that, so I'm guessing not).
I couldn't bring myself to make a candied fruit mandelbrot, but I also couldn't make anyone else's mandelbrot recipe. So I settled for this gingerbread biscotti recipe from Smitten Kitchen. She describes it as lightly spiced; I'm a little more aggressive - and, ok, accidentally dumped way too much ground clove into the bowl, so had to up the other spices to balance it out, and I think I like the end result better.
Start by preheating oven to 350 degrees and covering a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, I mixed together two cups and two tablespoons of flour, two teaspoons of baking powder, three teaspoons of cinnamon, three teaspoons of ginger, one teaspoon of clove, and a few twists of fresh black pepper. If you're using unsalted butter, here's where you would throw in some salt.
In another bowl, I creamed together 7 tablespoons of butter, 1/2 cup brown sugar, and 1/2 cup white sugar. Then I mixed in two eggs and some vanilla extract (the recipe calls for two teaspoons, and despite sitting down to write this only three hours after pulling these cookies out of the oven, I can't for the life of me recall what I did. It'll probably come to me a few hours after I've posted this and I'll feel like a dunce. Let's just assume I went with the called-for two teaspoons).
Next, add wet ingredients to dry and mix thoroughly; I also added about one cup of semisweet chocolate chips. It took some time for my dough to become fully incorporated, and eventually I discarded tools and went in with my hands (a cook's best tool, they say). The dough was pretty dry and soft - which makes sense, these are denser and drier cookies than say your regular chocolate chip, so the dough won't have the same texture or wetness.
Next, divide the dough in two and form in long, flat logs. Brush with one egg white - beat the egg white first so that it's not just a giant glob that you can't brush evenly onto the cookie dough logs. Then pop in oven for 25 minutes.
After my logs came out of the oven, I let them sit on the counter just until they were cool enough to handle. They were cooked through but still soft and springy.
Once they had cooled, I transferred the logs to a cutting board and sliced them on the diagonal into strips as thick as the ones you see above - I guess they ended up being maybe about an inch thick.
Next, I dusted each both cut sides of each cookie with cinnamon sugar (1/3 cup white sugar with one tablespoon cinnamon - it made way too much, and I would probably skip this step next time as I don't think it added much and it also didn't really adhere to the cookie. Maybe another egg wash or some melted butter would help it stick, or add it before you do the first bake).
Then the cookies went back into the oven to back for twelve minutes on one side, and about ten on the other. They weren't completely hard and crunchy when they came out, so if you prefer that you could bake a little longer, but I liked them as they were.
And they went perfectly with a hot mug of tea and a Sunday afternoon Netflix binge.