Cranberry Pistachio Biscotti
Each year, right after Thanksgiving, I make out my list … my baking list. There are cookies, candies, snacks, breads, and rolls and I can just visualize my cupboards loaded with the sweets of the season. When my list reaches the length of Santa’s Nice list, I know I’m in trouble. Picking and choosing is inevitable and HARD! There are my husband’s favorites, my kids’ favorite, MY favorites and those made out of respect for tradition. Every year I save a spot or two for a new recipe. That is how, a few years ago, biscotti found its way into our hearts and stomachs.
biscotti: biscuit or cookie?
Is biscotti more of a biscuit or a cookie? It’s really a bit of each. Not as sweet or chewy as a cookie, these treats are dry like a biscuit but traditionally flavored with spices, dried fruits and nuts. The inherent dryness allows them to be stored for long periods of time. The word, biscotti, is Italian for “twice cooked”. The dough is formed into a flattened “log” for the first baking and then, after slicing into elongated pieces, baked again.
Why should you try these oblong, dry cookies? They were designed for dunking! Coffee, tea, hot cocoa, cider, wine … get your mug and let’s talk variety.
NOTE: Looking for a simple, delicious hot cocoa recipe? Here you go: Cozy Cocoa!
fruits and nuts and spices
One of my favorite things about biscotti is the year-round appeal. By simply changing a few ingredients, these cookies have a seasonal appeal. Here are a few examples:
- Christmas: dried cranberries, pistachios, orange zest
- Valentines: dried cherries, hazelnuts, dark chocolate
- Spring: almonds, lemon zest, poppy seeds
- Summer: dried apricots, macadamia nuts, lime zest
- Fall: dates, walnuts, ginger
There are many other sweet versions of biscotti (e.g. pumpkin, mocha) and even some savory ones (e.g. sun-dried tomato, parmesan herb) that require a different base recipe, but simply changing out the fruits, nuts and spices in this one will give you options all year.
hostess gifts and party favors
The fact that these cookies have a long storage life makes them the perfect option for hostess gifts and party favors. Tuck a few into a cellophane bag, add a simple ribbon and tie it onto a bottle of wine or a bag of coffee grounds and you will receive a warm smile in return.
Cranberry Pistachio Biscotti
- 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour divided
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon cardamom
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon Salt
- 1 teaspoon orange zest
- 3 large eggs slightly beaten
- 1/4 cup orange juice
- 6 tablespoon butter softened
- 1/2 cup chopped pistachios
- 1/2 cup chopped dried cranberries
- white or dark chocolate optional
- Preheat oven to 325⁰.
- Lightly coat a large cookie sheet with butter (pro tip: use the wrapper from the butter sticks).
- In a large bowl, combine 2 3/4 cups of the flour, sugar, nutmeg, cardamom, baking powder and salt. Stir in the orange zest. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Place eggs and orange juice in the well and fold into dry mixture. Add butter, stirring until dough starts to form a ball. Fold in pistachios and cranberries (dough will be crumbly). Using your hands at this point to knead the dough in the bowl will help the mixture come together.
- Turn the dough out onto a surface that has been dusted with the remaining 1/4 cup of flour. Gently knead about half of the flour into the dough. Divide the dough in half. Shape each half into a 12” log. Place the logs on the cookie sheet and gently flatten each to a height of about one inch and a width of 4 inches.
- Bake for 30 minutes or until “firm” and light brown. Remove from oven and cool for 10-15 mintues.
- Transfer to cutting board and cut on the diagonal (about 1” thick slices) with a sharp knife. Use a firm chopping motion rather than trying to "slice" through the log.
- Carefully place cookies, cut side down, on the cookie sheet and return to oven for 8-10 minutes.
- Turn cookies over and bake an additional 8-10 minutes.
- Store in an airtight container or baggie in a cool place for 2-3 days, or in the freezer for several weeks.
- Drizzle with melted white or dark chocolate, if desired.