The holiday season means different things to different people: when you’re a kid it’s generally all about excitement, sparkly things and presents; for the more mature (hopefully) it has to do with things like family, togetherness, love and peace.
It’s easy to wish for; sadly, it’s more difficult to attain. This past year has surely been tumultuous for everyone. For us at the Brampton, it becomes easy to shut out what’s happening in the rest of the world and live in the bubble that we’ve created here. Rest, relaxation and rejuvenation of spirits are what we offer. Everyone is so happy when they leave and it makes us very happy to have helped bring that about. It’s easy to float along on that wave and forget about our own troubles, not to mention the rest of the world’s. But of course, eventually reality rears its head. We are reminded of the not so pleasant news, and of those less fortunate. We remember that compassion is what this season is truly about and try to be mindful of that.
So while we sincerely wish the best of the season to all our friends and family, that is also what we wish for the entire world, every season, all the time. Perhaps if we all wish it for each other, some day it will come true for everyone.
Peace on earth. To you, yours and every one of us. Always.
It’s been a bit hectic here at our Maryland bed and breakfast lately as it usually is this time of year. Lots of preparations for end of year festivities and parties. Then there’s the gifting, of course. What to give, what to give!
If you’re looking for a great food based gift, we have just the thing. Most people think that Italian Biscotti are difficult to make so they never even attempt it. Not true! They’re actually really easy to prepare, it’s just that there are two steps to baking them. (Biscotti meaning “twice cooked”). This method dries them out, giving them the perfect texture for dunking. The dough itself is very forgiving, you don’t have to be “delicate” with it. If you can mix stuff together, you can make these.
This is an updated version of a recipe we shared years ago, and is a favorite at our daily Tea Time and Social Hour– give it a go!!
Most recipes yield a great deal, making them perfect for sharing. Pair them with a bottle of sweet wine (the traditional accompaniment), or specialty teas and a pretty teacup – what a lovely and thoughtful gift you’ll have!
Almond Biscotti Recipe
(This is a very large batch, perfect for sharing. Feel free to halve the recipe if necessary).
- 6 cups all purpose flour
- 4 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons anise seeds
- zest of 2 lemons
- 4 cups toasted almonds, chopped fairly fine
- 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2 2/3 cup sugar
- 6 eggs
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- Preheat oven to 275 degrees.
- In a medium bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, anise seeds and lemon zest. Add the almonds and mix well.
- In a large bowl combine the butter and sugar and beat together until blended. Add the eggs and almond extract. Blend well.
- Add the dry mixture to the wet mixture. Combine until a sticky dough forms. Dust work surface with flour, remove dough from bowl and knead for a minute or two, until the dough comes together, adding flour if necessary.
- Pat dough into a large rectangle shape about an inch thick. Cut into 6 sections.
- Take each section and form individual rectangles, again, about an inch thick. Place 3 each -about 4 inches apart- onto 2 large sheet pans lined with parchment paper.
- Bake approximately 30 minutes. The dough will spread out as it bakes. It should feel firm to the touch in the center when it is ready. Remove from the oven and let cool about 10 minutes or until you can easily handle them.
- Place on a cutting board, one at a time. Using a serrated knife, cut slices across the baked dough about ½ inch wide.
- Place the slices back on the sheet pan and return to oven to bake again about 10-15 minutes longer, or until the Biscotti are firm and dry, but not beginning to brown.
Let cool completely.
Package them in decorative bags or tins. Or, if they are all yours, enjoy them throughout the season with your guests, who will surely be impressed.
Apologies in advance: we know Thanksgiving hasn’t even come and gone yet (we’re sold out, by the way) and here we are posting about Christmas. . .
Time goes by in nano-seconds around here, so please forgive us if this seems premature. In a few weeks, we’ll be running our Twelve Days of Christmas special. For 12 days in December, from the 2nd through the 13th, stay 2 nights and get great rates on every single one of our rooms, suites or cottages (including the always popular Mulberry Grove and Olivia’s Meadow)…even on the weekends. And there are 2 weekends in that span of 12 days!
If you’ve been putting off a trip to the Brampton, this would be an extremely practical time to make the trip. Feeling guilty doing something for yourself at that time of year? Make it a gift to your special someone and toss the guilt aside! Still can’t justify time to yourself? OK, get all your holiday shopping done while you’re here. Chestertown is home to some of the most unique and delightful shops around. You are certain to find something for just about anyone on your list. And maybe, just maybe, if you’re very good, you might find a little something just for you under our tree at the Brampton Inn.