Dried Cherry Biscotti

 biscotti4

I made these biscotti a few days ago, to package up and send off as a housewarming gift for my friends Evan & Kelly, who just moved to a new home in anticipation of their first baby’s arrival this Fall.  Mom, Dad and Baby have received their package and the biscotti have received the Whitney Seal of Approval.  Even the baby seems to like them, if excessive kicking can be intrepeted as “Mom, send more biscotti this way, please!”

Biscotti are actually quite easy to make, last for ages, ship well, and make a lovely gift.  Using hand-picked and home-dried local cherries makes it even more special.  Make a batch for someone special today!

Adapted from Dried Cranberry and White Chocolate Biscotti, Bon Appetit, December 1998 and Golden Biscotti, Rose’s Christmas Cookies, by Rose Levy Beranbaum

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Dried Cherry Biscotti

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 and 1/2 cups (12.5 oz) whole grain all-purpose flour (white winter wheat)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 cup (4 oz, or 1 stick) butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar (organic turbinado) + extra for sprinkling
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 and 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 and 1/2 cups dried cherries
  • 1 egg white (for egg white wash)
  • 3.5 oz good quality chocolate (Divine 70% dark, optional)

METHODS

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Line a large baking sheet with Silpat or parchment.
  2. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl.  Whisk to combine.
  3. Combine butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla in a large bowl. Beat with an electric mixer until creamy and well blended (about 2-3 minutes).
  4. Add flour mixture to egg-butter mixture; mix, then add dried cherries.  Blend well until a soft dough forms.  Add additional flour, 1 tbsp at a time, if dough is very sticky. 
  5. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Divide dough in half and form each half into a 2 and 1/2-inch wide, by 9-inch long, by 1-inch high log.  Knead a bit as you are forming the dough to ensure that the dough is compact and will hold together.  Dust with additional flour as needed.
  6. Transfer the logs to the prepared baking sheet, at least 2 inches apart (they will spread during baking). Brush tops and sides with egg white, then sprinkle lightly with sugar.  Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until golden brown and firm to the touch. For even baking, rotate the pan at about 15 minutes into the cooking time.
  7. Remove from the oven (keep oven set at 350 degrees F) and cool, in the pan, on wire racks, for 20-30 minutes, or until just barely warm. You want the biscotti logs to be just warm enough to be pliable, and cut evenly; too warm or too cold and they will crumble.
  8. Using a serrated knife, cut biscotti on the diagonal, into 1/2-inch slices. Arrange the slices close together on the baking sheet (remove Silpat or parchment).  Bake the slices for 10 minutes, then turn cookies over and bake for another 10 minutes, or until golden brown. For even baking, rotate the cookie pan at the 10-minute mark when you turn them over.  Transfer the cookies to wire racks to cool completely.
  9. If desired, melt chocolate in a double-boiler or microwave; drizzle melted chocolate over biscotti with a fork, or dip one end of each cookie into a small bowl of melted chocolate.  I often make half chocolate-coated, and half plain, for variety.

Yields about 2 dozen biscotti.

OPTIONS

  1. The original Bon Appetit recipe called for dried cranberries and white chocolate.  I’ve made this recipe before and the taste and color combination is quite nice, especially at Valentine’s Day or Christmas, although I found it a bit sweet (calls for 1 and 1/2 cups sugar).  Rose’s recipe has much less sugar, a 1/2 cup of vegetable oil, orange zest and whole blanched almonds.  I combined the two and threw in some of my own modifications.  One omission from both recipes was 1/2 tsp of almond extract: my friend Kelly is pregnant and usually pregnant women are advised to avoid all nut products, due to the fear of developing an allergy in the baby.  If no one who’ll be eating these is pregnant or allergic, by all means, add the almond extract back in.
  2. This is easily adapted to other dried fruits and/or nuts; just remember that biscotti can be tricky to slice cleanly on the best of days, so keep the pieces reasonably small.

STORE

Keeps for months in an airtight container at room temperature, although I doubt they will last that long (chocolate will not keep for months, so if you plan to store these long-term, do not coat in chocolate).  If making chocolate-covered biscotti in the summertime, it is best to store these in the refrigerator.

SEASON

Year-round.

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One comment

  1. kelwhitney

    We are loving the biscotti so much and I can’t wait to dig into the preserves and chutney! I’m thinking about roast duck or roast pork for the chutney, and probably biscuits for the preserves! Thanks again for this amazing treat!

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