So I’m MAJORLY playing catch up on the blog this weekend. I have been baking everyday, I swear!!! But with school coming to a close for vacation, and the need to get shopping out of the way for my work friends, I haven’t had time sit, much less blog about what I’ve been baking. I FINALLY ave the time to sit and tell you all about what I’ve been up to in the kitchen!!!
I never really was a fan of biscotti, especially before I started drinking coffee. Maybe it was because I didn’t grow up around it, or the types I tried weren’t all that good. A few years ago, my mother gave my sister and I a book called Christmas Cookies: 50 Recipes to Treasure for the Holiday Season by Lisa Zwirn. There are some classic favorites, and some interesting new gems. I made quite a few of the cookies in this book and they have always tasted yummy. However one cookie has stood the test of time- The Cranberry Pistachio Biscotti. It is heaven in a cookie…and it screams winter and the holidays. I’ve modified it a bit though, using cherry flavored craisins instead of the cranberry because well, I just really like the flavor of cherry! The recipe is as follows:
Cranberry Pistachio Biscotti
3 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
8 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 tbsp. finely grated orange zest (from 1 orange)
1 1/4 cup shelled pistachios (do not chop)
1 cup dried cranberries
1. preheat the oven to 350F. Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper
2. In a medium bowl whisk the flour, cinnamon, salt and baking powder together.
3. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter in a large bowl until creamy. Add the sugar and brown sugar and beat until fully blended. Beat in eggs, the vanilla and orange zest. On low speed, mix the flour mixture just until the dough starts to clump together. Mix in the pistachios and cranberries. Using your hands or rubber spatula, gather the dough into a ball and divide in half.
4. With lightly floured hands, form each half of dough in to a log that is 13″ by 2.5.” Make sure each log is 3 inches apart.
5. Bake for 30-35 minutes, rotating the sheet from front to back (I never do this! :P) halfway through baking, or until the loaves are golden and the top feels firm when gently pressed. Transfer the sheet to a cooling rack for 10 minutes. Reduce the temp of the oven to 325F.
6. Peel the loaves off the parchment and slice them diagonally on a cutting board. Be sure to use a SHARP serrated knife, as the loaves are crumbly. Slice the cookies 3/4 inch thick. Place them back on the cookie sheet, cut sides up. Put back into oven for 10 minutes. Flip cookies to other side and bake for another 10 minutes.
7. Take out and transfer to wire cooling rack. Cool for about 20 minutes. They keep for 2 weeks. If they get a little soft, you can perk them up in a 350F toaster oven for 5 minutes.
Since this recipe has me hooked on good biscotti, I found another recipe this year in a magazine called Fine Cooking: Cookies. It’s a gingerbread biscotti, and I was eager to try it. It’s pretty awesome too! I didn’t have dried apricots, but instead used crystalized ginger and I think I like it better, since I’m not fond of apricots to begin with. After making both biscotti, I noticed that there are some repeated elements in both recipes. So to save time, I will go back to some steps from the first recipe.
10 oz. flour (2 1/4 cups)
1 1/4 cups packed dk brown sugar
2 tsp. ground ginger
1 1/4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp. baking soda
4 oz. (1 cup) pecans, coarsely chopped
4 oz. (1/2 cup) dried apricots, coarsely chopped ( I used crystallized ginger)
1/4 cup molasses
2 large eggs
2 tsp. finely grated orange zest
1. In a mixer, combine the flour, sugar, ginger, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, nutmeg, and baking soda in a large bowl on low speed. Add the pecans and apricots and briefly mix on low. In a measuring cup, whisk the molasses, eggs and zest together. Pour the mixture into the bowl and mix on low speed until the dough is well blended and comes together in large, moist clumps.
2. Dump the dough onto an un-floured work surface and divide dough in half. Using floured hands, shape each half into a log that is 10 inches long and 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Put on a parchment lined cookie sheet. This dough really grows, so make sure to keep the logs at least 4 inches apart.
3. Follow steps 5-7 from the first recipe.