A sure way to put a smile on the face of house guests during the holidays is my sister's favorite biscotti recipe. As noted in a prior posting, she is an accomplished biscotti baker, making thousands of any number of varieties of these favorite cookies for the local Italian festival each year.
The term "biscotti", while also being the generic term for cookie in Italian, comes from "bis" and "cotti" which are the Italian terms for twice-cooked or twice-baked. An Italian classic, Biscotti have been baked for centuries and are said to have been a favorite of Christopher Columbus who relied on them on his long sea voyages. The biscotti baking technique, first created in the Tuscany region, thoroughly draws out moisture giving them a very long shelf life. Even at home today there is usually no need to refrigerate or freeze biscotti -- just store them in an airtight container, away from direct sunlight.
Italians favor them as "dipping cookies" either in a delicious cup of coffee or cappuccino, or in a special Italian wine known as Vin Santo. They are enjoyed as a breakfast biscuit, dunked in coffee, along side a dish of Gelato or Spumoni, and of course, Biscotti are savored as a subtly sweet crispy snack all by themselves. Keep a big container of them on hand throughout the season when houseguests abound!
The One Step Biscotti Baker (basically a mold) was inspired and designed by a pastry chef and an engineer who were searching for a more efficient way to create biscotti with the same elegance and presentation as those found in fine Italian bakeries. The result is a pan that reduces unnecessary steps and allows anyone the freedom and tools to enjoy these delicious cookies. However, as you will see in the recipe below, my sister needs no such tool and neither do you if you follow her instructions and observe the technique in the photos shown here.
Traditionally, Biscotti were almond-flavored because almonds were plentiful. Today, you find Biscotti in a myriad of different flavors. This recipe, for Cranberry White Chocolate Biscotti, is a perfect recipe for the holiday season and a favorite of all who try it. Happy holidays!
2 1/2 cup all-purpuse flour plus a 1/3 of a cup
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup butter
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 1/2 cups dried cranberries
6 oz. white chocolate
1. preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. line cookie sheet with parchment paper set aside
3. in medium bowl whisk together flour, baking powder and salt
4. in a large bowl using electric mixer beat together butter, sugar, eggs and almond extract
5. add dry mixture to wet mixture and stir well
6. stir in cranberries
7. flour and sugar work area (I use about half and half turn dough out onto surface)
8. divide dough in half and form into 2 logs about 9 inches long by 2 inches
9. place on parchment paper and bake for 40 minutes
10. remove from oven and transfer logs to cool
11.cut logs into 3/4 inch slices at an angle
12.place slices on baking sheet and return to oven for 10 minutes
13. turn biscotti and bake an additional 5 minutes.
When cool melt white choclate in microwave and drizzle across biscotti.
I use my kitchen aid mixer dough hook for this recipe which works wonderfully.