For my birthday last week I asked good friend and excellent baker Suzi to make some of her biscotti. I love biscotti because they’re crunchy and usually filled with nuts, which makes them healthy. Right?
Suzi adapted a recipe from Epicurious, using dried cranberries instead of currants. The result? Cookies that look and taste like Christmas! I plan to make them a Bennett holiday tradition.
In Italian, “biscotti” means twice-baked. In ancient times the cookies were baked twice in order to make them very dry so that they could be stored for long periods. They are traditionally eaten for dessert, dunked in fortified wine. I prefer to dunk mine in coffee.
Yes, tis the season when lots and lots of cookies and other treats tempt us. But look at it this way — eating one or two biscotti won’t get you into too much trouble, and their crunchiness will make you feel like you’re really sinking your teeth into something substantial (because you are!).
Give them as gifts but be sure to save some for yourself. They store beautifully. The Roman philosopher Pliny the Elder claimed that they would keep for centuries, but I wouldn’t take him up on that. Besides, the only really good cookie is the one you eat.
1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 Tbsp. freshly grated orange zest
1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 large eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
2 oz. white chocolate, coarsely chopped (or about 1/2 cup white chocolate chips)
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 cup natural shelled pistachios
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Lightly grease and flour a large baking sheet.
In a bowl with an electric mixer beat together butter, sugar, orange zest and vanilla until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Sift together flour, baking powder and salt in another bowl and add to butter mixture. Beat to combine well. Stir in remaining ingredients. Chill the dough for 30 minutes or until it no longer feels sticky.
Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface and cut in half. Form each piece of dough into a flattish log about 12 inches long and 3 inches wide. Arrange logs 3 inches apart on baking sheet and bake until pale golden, about 30 minutes. Cool logs on baking sheet on a rack for about 5 minutes.
Place each log on a cutting board and cut diagonally into 1/2-inch thick slices. To minimize crumbling, the best way to slice biscotti is with a sharp serrated knife in a sawing motion. Arrange biscotti slices cut-side down on baking sheet and bake 15 minutes, or until golden.
Makes about 48 biscotti
WW PP per biscotti: 2