I’ve never been a fan of store-bought biscotti. It’s usually too hard, too dry and too bland. It looks pretty in the wrappers, but that’s about all it does for me. Pretty food isn’t much good if it doesn’t please the taste buds. I’m not sure where the idea originally came from to try making some from scratch, but we knew we wanted to try it at least. I didn’t spend a lot of time hunting down recipes, so luckily this one turned out to be golden.
We were sooper stunned surprised to realize that this recipe uses no butter! So can we call this a…healthier cookie? Bwahaha!
The funny thing about the pistachios is that I didn’t realize I’d picked up a “salt & pepper” flavored bag. Not until we were about halfway through with shelling the 7 ounces.
By the way, a 7 oz bag worked out perfectly for us. Gave us just the amount of shelled nuts we needed.
But the salt and pepper flavoring actually turned out very yummy in this. What a lucky mistake, eh? The pepper wasn’t strong at all, and neither was the salt for that matter. The “flavor” added to the nuts just enhanced the cookie overall.
*BEEP* *BEEEEEP* Public Service Announcement! The dough for this stuff is extremely thick. You will get a workout stirring in the cranberries, nuts and chopped white chocolate. DO count this as exercise. You have been warned. Might want to stretch those arms muscles before and after.
Seriously, my arm almost fell off.
I was pretty worried that, as thick and sticky as the dough was, we wouldn’t be able to form it into the necessary flattened log shapes on the parchment paper. Lo and behold, wetting your fingertips as the recipe says actually worked really well. Do be sure to keep them spread out at least two to three inches apart as they will puff up and expand in the oven.
Like so. This is only the first baking. These are twice-baked cookies and will get baked first for 30 minutes, about 20 the second time. It makes for a bit of a long effort, what with the cooling time, but we loved how they turned out.
Prep for the second baking by cutting the biscotti into their traditional long shape. They’re already starting to look purty with all those cranberries and nuts inside.
If you plan to dip your biscotti in white or regular chocolate, do get more than the recipe suggests. We didn’t have enough of either, so we had a few pieces that didn’t get dipped. It’s delicious either way, though. The almond extract really adds a wonderful background flavor to everything else. The cranberries and nuts pair perfectly and the texture! It’s neither too hard or too dry. Instead it’s almost crunchy while retaining just the right amount of moisture so that your tongue isn’t immediately pining for something liquid.
FAR superior to store-bought biscotti. And I do not consider myself to be a harder, dryer cookie fan. These I can get down with, though.
Consider these as our first Christmas cookie offering. Ho-ho-hope you enjoy them. Heehee.
Pistachio, Cranberry & White Chocolate Biscotti
Adapted from Bon Appétit, December 2005
Prep Time: 20 minutes Cook time: 1 hour, 10 minutes plus cooling/chill time Level: Easy Makes: 2 dozen
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 2 1/2 teaspoons almond extract
- 3/4 cup shelled raw unsalted natural pistachios
- 1 cup dried raspberries or chopped dried strawberries (about 5 ounces)
- 1/2 cup chopped high-quality white chocolate (such as Lindt or Perugina)
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line large baking sheet with parchment paper. Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt in medium bowl to blend. Using electric mixer, beat sugar, eggs, oil, and almond extract in large bowl until well blended. Add flour mixture and beat until smooth. Stir in pistachios, dried berries, and 1/2 cup chopped white chocolate. Drop dough by heaping tablespoonfuls in two 12-inch-long strips on prepared baking sheet, spacing strips 3 inches apart. Using wet fingertips, shape each strip into 3-inch-wide log, pressing evenly (logs may look slightly lumpy).
Bake logs until lightly browned and almost firm to touch, about 30 minutes. Cool logs on sheet 30 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 325°F.
Carefully transfer logs to cutting board. Line same baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut each log crosswise into generous 1/2-inch-thick slices. Stand biscotti upright, spacing about 1/4 inch apart, in 3 rows on prepared baking sheet. Bake until pale golden (biscotti may be soft but will firm as they cool), about 20 minutes. Cool completely on baking sheet.
Line another large baking sheet with parchment paper. Place 8 ounces chopped white chocolate in medium glass bowl. Place 8 ounces chopped bittersweet chocolate in another medium glass bowl, if desired. Microwave separately on medium in 20-second intervals just until chocolate is soft to touch, about 40 seconds total (do not overheat or chocolate will burn or seize). Stir chocolate until smooth.
Dip 1 end or 1 side of each biscotti in chocolate; place on baking sheet. Chill until chocolate is set, about 30 minutes. (Can be made ahead. Arrange in single layer in airtight container and chill up to 5 days or freeze up to 2 weeks.)
These last pretty well over several days texture and taste-wise. They do get more crumbly, though. I’m not sure at all if they’d make a good cookie to mail to friends and loved ones, but they are great for sharing locally with coworkers and such.
If your house is warm, and it likely is since it’s winter soon, I would definitely store any chocolate-dipped ones in the fridge as is advised above, but they will last more than five days…unless you eat them before then, of course. Ones we did not dip just stayed on the counter in a plastic zipped storage bag.
Feel free to substitute other dried fruits for the cranberries. Cranberries are just what I had on hand – no need to spend the extra money for anything else was my logic.
If you can’t have nuts but want something to substitute (this question was posed to me on twitter and it’s a valid and good one), I honestly struggle to figure out what might work. Then I thought, maybe some broken-up pretzels? They have some crunch and saltiness and might mimic the nuts in that fashion.
One suggestion I found here and thought was rather excellent was roasted soy nuts – which aren’t nuts at all, of course, but made from soybeans.