It’s been a busy baking week here at TVFGI, and next week promises to be just as crazy. I hope you’ve found something that inspired you to roll up your sleeves and get messy in the kitchen, but if not, keep reading, because even if you don’t consider yourself a baker, you can make these biscotti. The lumpy dough is twice baked — first in rustic shaped loaves, and then sliced up with a big bread knife for a second baking, which gives biscotti its distinctive texture. There are a couple of things that make these the best I’ve ever had. One, they have lots of flavor, the batter is blended with a good dose of vanilla and almond extract. And two, they aren’t rock hard like biscotti usually is. You get the crunch without the broken jaw :) If you’re looking for an adult cookie to give as gifts, this is your guy. Speaking of guys, all my taste testers happened to be male this time, and the cookies got rave reviews, so don’t think of these as just for the ladies.
I originally envisioned a mix of fruits and nuts for this recipe, but decided that the cranberry pistachio looked more seasonal and gift-appropriate. Try to find the plumpest reddest dried cranberries and the freshest pistachios. I do think it’s worth the small trouble to shell the nuts, they’ll be brighter and better tasting. Biscotti are super sturdy and they keep really well, so they’ll make your last minute gift giving much easier. You can give them along with a coffee shop gift card, wrap them and pop them in a beautiful mug, or just gather them in a cellophane bag and bow ‘n go.
But once you slice it up it starts to look better.
When the slices come out of the oven they will be crisp and slightly golden, ready to be dipped in chocolate, or eaten plain, your choice.
- 5 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 2 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp almond extract
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 large eggs
- 2 large egg whites
- 1 1/2 cups pistachio nuts (I used roasted and salted, but you can also use raw) chopped
- 1 cup dried cranberries
- 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 12 oz white bark coating, chopped, or white chocolate chips
- set oven to 325F
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Combine the butter, sugar, extracts, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Beat in the eggs and egg whites. I did this in a stand mixer.
- Fold in the nuts and cranberries, and then slowly fold in the flour.
- The dough will be tacky, but divide it in half, and place each half on the baking sheet, and form two loaves, each about about 8x4. It helps to lightly butter your hands. Make sure the loaves are at 3" apart so they won't merge when they bake.
- Bake for 24-28 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. (don't overbake)
- Cool the pan on a rack for 15 minutes.
- Now move the loaves to a cutting board and cut each loaf into 1/4 inch slices. Use a sharp serrated bread knife. Lay out the slices on 2 baking sheets. Bake on separate oven racks for 12 minutes, then flip the cookies over and switch the cookie sheets. Bake another 5-7 minutes.
- Turn off the oven and leave the cookies inside with the door closed, for about 10 minutes.
- Let the cookies cool on a rack before dipping in chocolate.
- For the coating, make sure you have chopped your bark coating into small pieces, and then put it in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave for 60 seconds, then stir. If you need more time, microwave in super short bursts of 15 seconds, until is is melted smooth and glossy. Stir it in between to help it melt.
- Dip each biscotti halfway into the chocolate, let the excess drip off, and then lay it down on waxed or parchment paper to firm up.
- Note: I find it easiest to have the chocolate in a 2-cup glass measuring cup, that way the chocolate is deep enough for easy dipping. As the chocolate level goes down, just tip the cup as you dip the last cookies, so that they get a good coating.
- When completely hardened, wrap the biscotti in cellophane to give or store.
The white bark coating is easier to melt than regular white chocolate, but you can use any kind of white chocolate you like, just use caution not to overheat it, or it will seize up on you. Microwave in a clean, dry bowl and only for short spurts, stirring in between to let the heat of the bowl do the work. recipe adapted from Better Homes and Gardens