Christmas Biscotti

I have spent a lot of time recently trying to make a biscotti that I really liked. Why? Who knows. Maybe I like the crunch, and maybe I like that they are cookies that last a really long time, and in our house, that is important. I have borrowed, tried, and modified a few recipes, but this one is my Christmas version adapted from the America’s Test Kitchen Family Baking Book. We’re bringing this one to a cookie exchange this week. If you have never been to one, have your own. Invite your most talented baking friends to bring 2-3 dozen of 2-3 kinds of cookies and you can swap and share. Make it a party! And then you don’t have to eat an entire pan of grasshopper brownies yourself, unless of course, you want that.

Chocolate Chip Cranberry Biscotti

2 c. all purpose flour (I use King Arthur’s white whole wheat)
1 t. baking powder (or just shy of that at high altitudes)
1/4 t. salt
4 T. unsalted butter, softened
scant 1 c. sugar (the sweeter the chocolate you are using, the less sugar you need)
2 eggs
1/2 t. vanilla extract
1/4 t. orange extract
1 T. orange zest
1/2 c. dried cranberries
1/2 c. chopped chocolate (semi/bitter/dark) or chocolate chips

1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line large baking sheet with parchment paper or silpat. Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a medium bowl. This will later be dumped into the rest.

2. In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar together using an electric mixer on medium speed until light an fluffy, 3-6 minutes. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then the vanilla and orange extracts and orange zest until combined, scraping down the bowl until needed.
3. Reduce the mixer speed to low and slowly mix in the flour mixture until combined. Mix in the chocolate and cranberries until just combined. This is your dough!
4. Press the dough into two “loaves”, about 13×2 inches each, on the prepared baking sheet, leaving about 3 inches of room between them. Bake until golden and just beginning to crack on top, about 35 minutes. If you remember, rotate the sheet halfway through, but I didn’t and they weren’t uneven for me.
5. Remove pan from the oven. Let the loaves cool on the baking sheet for about 10 minutes. Lower the oven to 325 degrees.

6. Transfer loaves to a cutting board and slice each on the diagonal into 1/2 inch thick slices (or so) with a serrated knife. Lay the slices back on the baking sheet (do not let them touch each other), and bake until crisp and golden brown on both sides. This will take about 15 minutes total, but at about 8 minutes, remove the pan and flip the cookies over for even browning. Transfer the cookies to a cooling rack and let them cool completely before serving, at least an hour.
These will keep for a long time. They might “dry out” a little more, but they’re biscotti, and isn’t that the point?

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