Saturday, December 19, 2015

Cranberry White Chocolate Biscotti

If you're looking for a great baked item as a gift or for holiday company, this is it! It's both festive (cranberries and white chocolate) and tasty. You can make it days or weeks ahead and it holds quite well. The technique is the same as that of my other biscotti recipes on this blog, although the ingredients are slightly different. These bake at a slightly higher temperature due to the moist fruit in the batter and the recipe makes more biscuits. This recipe is easily converted to other biscotti combinations so use it as your base recipe and experiment with different versions throughout the year.

Cutting the Baked Biscotti
This is my sister's biscotti recipe which I got from the "Cooking Down Memory Lane" cookbook produced by St. Joseph Church in Dover, Ohio. The cookbook also has great historic local photos and commemorates the 50th anniversary of the church (1965-2015).


Separate the Dough Into Halves
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups white granulated sugar
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
2 1/2 cups flour, plus a little extra
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups dried cranberries (about 6 ounces)
6 ounces white coating chocolate (see note)

Note: Coating chocolate is not quite the same as chocolate chips. I don't advise using white chocolate chips for this purpose. Rather use Wilton Candy Melts or another chocolate specific labeled as 'coating chocolate'. These are widely available at JoAnn's, WalMart and K-Mart. It will melt and perform better than melted chips, which are made for holding their shape in cookies. If you use chips keep them away from all liquids. If they do not melt properly and seize up which is common or remain lumpy, you can rescue them by mixing in vegetable oil until you have the desired consistency.

Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Lightly grease a baking sheet or line with silicon pads.

In a large bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter on medium speed for 30-45 seconds with the standard mixing paddle attachment. Mix in the sugar, then add the eggs and almond extract mixing until well combined. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. Switch to the dough hook attachment. Mix in the flour a little at a time until combined. Add and cranberries and mix.

Ready for the first baking.
Sprinkle a work surface with a little sugar and flour. Dump the dough on to the work surface and combine with the heal of your hand, turning it several times until combined and formed into a disk. Sprinkle with extra flour/sugar if sticky. Separate the dough into two equal parts.

Shape each portion into an 11-inch long roll. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet and straighten so they are approximately three inches apart. Slightly flatten the tops of each roll with your fingers until the rolls are about 2 1/2 inches wide.

The second baking dries the biscuit.
Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until the tops are lightly brown, cracked and almost firm to the touch. Remove from the oven and turn off.  Let the rolls sit on the baking sheet for 3-5 minutes until just cool enough to handle with your bare hands. Transfer to a cooling rack being careful not to break the rolls. Let cool 30 minutes until just slightly warm.

Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Transfer to a cutting surface and using a sharp serrated knife or electric knife, cut each roll diagonally into 1/2 inch slices. Place cut side down on a prepared baking sheet. Bake for eight minutes, remove from oven and turn each piece over. Bake an additional 8 minutes on the second side and remove from the oven. Cool on the baking sheets, to permit some additional baking time out of the oven.

Cranberry on the Left
When cool melt the white chocolate coating according to package directions. Using a your hand covered in a latex or food safe glove, place the tips of your fingers into the melted chocolate and shake them across the biscotti in the same direction. (See image)  Continue doing this until the biscotti are drizzled to your liking. I refrigerate the trays at this point to speed the setting of the drizzle, although this is not necessary if you have more time to let them dry.

Biscotti can be stored in an air tight container for up to 3 months if kept in a cool, dry place.

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