Give the Gift of ‘A Cup Above’

It happens every year. You’ve checked everyone off your gift list except one. And now you are stumped. There is a reason this person remains last on your list every year, whether it be that they are super picky, they already have everything they need, or the pressure to give them the most thoughtful gift of all gives you a thoughtful holiday-induced migraine.

Enter Nespresso. This year, give that person the gift of experiencing a cup above. Nespresso’s new VertuoLine Evoluo reigns supreme in the market of sophisticated coffee. It has all the makings of a gift that will satisfy anyone and everyone. Whoever you give it to will not want to part with it; in fact – if they’re coffee addicts like us – they may become even more attached to it than they are to their pet, significant other or child (okay, maybe not their child).

The VertuoLine Evoluo can brew both espresso and quality coffee to perfection, making it a great gift for the person in your life who has everything (throw in an aerrocino milk frother for an added bonus). We didn’t stop there though; since the coffee goes with essentially everything, we thought up some homemade recipes that you can package up and give as an accompaniment to the machine – whether they be of the peppermint bark or biscotti persuasion.

Although, if time-management gets the best of you (as let’s face it, it most often does over the holidays), you can always visit your local gourmet market to find similar delicacies to pair. Peruse the below ideas to tie up your last (and perhaps best) bow this Holiday season.

Cranberry and Almond Biscotti

cranberry-biscotti-recipe

Makes: 16-20 Biscottis

Ingredients:

1 stick unsalted Butter, softened

1/2 cup Sugar

1/4 cup Brown Sugar

1/4 cup Maple Syrup

1 tablespoon Amaretto Liqueur

2 teaspoons pure Almond Extract

1 teaspoon pure Vanilla Extract

3 large Eggs

1 3/4 cups All-purpose flour

1 cup Whole Wheat Flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon Kosher Salt

1/2 cup slivered Almonds

1/2 cup dried Cranberries

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the softened butter with the sugar and brown sugar. Beat on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the maple syrup, amaretto liqueur, almond extract, vanilla extract, and eggs. Mix until combined. Add the dry ingredients and mix until fully incorporated and a sticky dough has formed. Carefully, fold in the almonds and the dried cranberries.

Wrap the dough and chill for at least 25-30 minutes.

Divide the dough into 2 equal pieces and on a large baking sheet form 2 loaves, 14″ by 2 1/2″. Bake until just golden, about 30-35 minutes. Let the loaves cool on a rack for 20 minutes. Using a serrated knife, slice the loaves into 1″ thick slices. Lay the biscotti, cut side down, on a baking sheet. Bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool on a wire rack. Store in an air tight container.

White Chocolate Peppermint Bark

peppermint-bark-gift

Ingredients:

2 pounds White Chocolate

1 1/2 teaspoon Peppermint Extract

1/3 cup crushed Candy Canes

Directions:

Bring a small amount of water to a simmer in sauce pot. Place half of the white chocolate in a bowl that fits over the sauce pot without touching the water. Melt the white chocolate gently using this method. When the first half is melted, remove the bowl from the heat and add the remaining white chocolate, stirring to melt. Place the bowl back over the simmering water until all the white chocolate is completely melted. Stir in the peppermint extract. Pour the white chocolate into a thin layer on a baking sheet covered with plastic wrap. Sprinkle the crushed candy canes evenly over the white chocolate, pressing them gently into bark. Let cool to room temperature and then chill until ready to package. After chilling, break the bark into multiple pieces. Store in an airtight container.

Raspberry Jam Thumbprint Sugar Cookies

raspberry-cookies-recipe

Makes: 18-22 Cookies

Ingredients:

1 stick Butter, softened

3/4 cups Sugar

1 Egg

1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract

1 1/2 cups All Purpose Flour

1 1/4 teaspoons Baking Powder

1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda

Raspberry Preserves, or you favorite type of fruit preserves

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the softened butter with the sugar. Beat on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla extract. Mix until combined. Add the dry ingredients and mix until fully incorporated. Form the dough into a disc.

Wrap the dough and chill for at least 25-30 minutes.

On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough until its 1/3″ thick. Cut out shapes using a cookie cutter and place on an ungreased baking sheet. Using the back of a teaspoon or your thumb, press a well into the center of the cookies. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Before the cookies are completely cool, re-press the back of a teaspoon or your thumb into the cookies to reinforce the well. Spoon 1/2 teaspoon of raspberry jam into the well of each cookie. Store in an airtight container.

*If you don’t want to use the raspberry jam, skip this step completely for plain sugar cookies.

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