Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Guest Post - Holiday Biscotti

From my guest post at Sew Crafty Angel:

As we gear up for the holidays and all they entail -- parties, gift-swapping, entertaining, etc. -- I thought it might be fun to share one of my favorite recipes, Holiday Biscotti,  that's a sure bet for all kinds of gifting (teachers, swaps, hostess, et al.) and looks so pretty on a buffet or dessert table . . . not to mention it *tastes* fabulous!  So much so, you may want to keep a few tucked back for yourself!
Biscotti is essentially a twice-baked cookie with Italian origins.  It's substantial, crunchy and rather perfect for dunking in your morning or afternoon coffee or tea. It's a relatively easy cookie with a basic dough, and lots of different add-ins give it a wide range of appeal. Today's recipe pairs pistachios and dried cranberries for a festive red and green cookie.

Since my husband and I are fulltime RVers, with *very* limited counter space, I really enjoy my weekly opportunities to cook in my daughter's big kitchen, which means I have some darling kitchen help, Miss Ellie!
After spending a bit of time studying the recipe for herself, Ellie says we're ready to get our ingredients together.

For baking Holiday Biscotti, you'll need to gather the following ingredients:

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs, room temperature
3/4 cup pistachios (roasted and unsalted), coarsely chopped
2/3 cup dried cranberries
6 ounces good-quality white chocolate, chopped (I used Ghirardelli's chips)
Red and green sugar crystals, for garnish

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
 
Line a heavy large baking sheet with parchment paper. Whisk the flour and baking powder in a medium bowl to blend. Using an electric mixer, beat the sugar, butter, lemon zest, and salt in a large bowl to blend. Beat in the eggs 1 at a time. Add the flour mixture and beat just until blended. Stir in the pistachios and cranberries.  
Form the dough into a 13-inch long, 3-inch wide log on the prepared baking sheet. 
Bake until light golden, about 40 minutes. Cool for 30 minutes.  It's very important not to over bake at this stage and to let it cool *completely*.
Place the log on the cutting board. Using a sharp, serrated knife, cut the log on a diagonal into 1/2- to 3/4-inch-thick slices. I slice mine from end-to-end, keeping the smaller pieces as treats for littles (or for myself, if I'm baking with gift-giving in mind).

Arrange the biscotti, cut side down, on the baking sheet.  Isn't that pretty??!
Return to the oven and bake the biscotti until they are pale golden, about 15 minutes. Transfer the biscotti to a rack and cool completely. 
At this point, Ellie reminded me that if there are leftover pistachios, this is a great time to finish them off.
Once your biscotti has cooled, stir the white chocolate in a bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water until it melts (or whatever your preferred method is for melting chocolate). Dip the tip (about 1/4 to 1/3) of the biscotti into the melted chocolate. Gently shake off the excess chocolate. Place the biscotti on the baking sheet for the chocolate to set. Sprinkle with the sugar crystals. You can refrigerate until the chocolate is firm, about 35 minutes, but I generally find this step is unnecessary. 
If I have additional white chocolate left after I've dipped all the cookies, I drizzle it over the backs of the biscotti.  It adds a pretty touch. 
The biscotti can be made ahead. Store them in an airtight container up to 4 days, or wrap them in foil and freeze in resealable plastic bags up to 3 weeks.  Tucked in a cellophane bag topped off with a pretty ribbon and a coffee sampler or tucked in a coffee mug, and you've got a tasty gift!
Or the perfect treat for your own afternoon respite during the holiday craziness! Enjoy!

:)

4 left a comment . . .:

Janet O. said...

Oh, wish I could come sample that right now!! : )

Lyndsey said...

They look so good. I guess I'll just have to try the recipe.

Kate said...

They look very pretty and very festive. I sent the link to My Guy, he's the biscotti aficionado in our house.

AnnMarie aka Vintage Junkie aka NaNa said...

I am adding this recipe to my baking list for Christmas! I have been baking biscotti for the holidays for about 30 years but mine are plain butter ones....they are delicious but plain! These sound heavenly! Pinned! Visiting from Thursday Favorite Things....