Crunchy Cranberry Almond Biscotti stuffed and baked with cranberry jam and buttery almond crème – ummm…yes, please! I borrowed this idea from Dominique Ansel’s recipe in Food and Wine and used ingredients I already had on hand from earlier bakes of these Biscotti and Bakewell Mini Tarts – combining the best of both worlds into a very special holiday cookie, indeed!
6 oz. smooth cranberry or smooth tart cherry jam (push through a sieve if needed to ensure jam is smooth)
Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Parchment and spray a sheet pan. Stir dried cranberries and slivered almonds into dough. Divide dough into two rolls about 14” long. Place rolls 4” apart on sheet pan. Flatten each roll to about 3” wide so each log should be about 3” x 14”. Bake for 20-25 minutes until tops are set and logs are light golden brown. Cool for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, whisk together unsalted butter, confectioner’s sugar, egg, almond flour and cornstarch. Transfer almond crème to a pastry bag fitting with a small tip. Set aside. Transfer jam to a separate pastry bag fitted with a small tip. If you don’t have pastry bags, use zip-lock bags and cut a small hole in one tip of the bag.
Using a serrated knife, carefully cut each log crosswise thinly into ¼” slices. Arrange half of the slices on a sheet pan. Cover the slices with a thin line of almond crème and drizzle crème with cranberry jam. Place the other half of the slices on top and press down slightly to ensure filling is even within the cookies. Bake 8-10 minutes, turn over and bake another 5 minutes. Cool completely.
I’m attending a neighborhood cookie exchange tonight. I’m feeling a bit anxious – after my cookie baking failurefalse start last week, I’m hesitant to test new recipes out on the group. “Hi, nice to meet you. I’m the baker who can’t make a cookie.” I’ve decided, instead, to pull out a classic – chocolate dipped biscotti. I originally created this recipe in 2010 for a vin santo dessert pairing at the steakhouse. The original recipe created about 144 cookies. I’ve paired it down to about 6 dozen. What I love about this recipe is how easy it is to divide the dough, add various ingredients and create unique flavor combinations with a minimum of fuss.
This is a basic biscotti recipe. I’ve listed a few mix-in flavor options below, but flavor combinations are limited only by your imagination.
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1 ½ cups sugar
8 oz. butter, softened (2 sticks)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two sheet pans with parchment and spray with cooking spray. Stir together flour, baking powder and salt. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat sugar and butter until fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, and add vanilla extract. Mix in flour mixture until just combined. Divide dough into two equal amounts and add ingredients below (or make your own combination of mix-ins).
Divide each flavor into two rolls about 14” long (You should have four 14” rolls). Place rolls 4” apart on sheet pans. Flatten each roll to about 3” wide so each log should be about 3” x 14”. Bake for 20-25 minutes until tops are set and logs are light golden brown. Cool logs for 10 minutes. With a serrated knife, carefully cut each log crosswise into ½” – ¾” slices. Lay slices flat on sheet pans and bake 8-10 minutes until biscotti feel dry to the touch. Turn over and bake another 5 minutes. Cool completely.
Warm chocolate chips in the microwave 60-90 seconds, stirring every 30 seconds until chocolate is smooth. Dip the tip of each cooled biscotti in chocolate and set aside until chocolate is set.
– ⅓ cup chopped almonds
– zest from one orange
– substitute 1 teaspoon almond extract for 1 of the teaspoons of vanilla
– 1 cup milk chocolate chips (for dipping) Cherry Walnut
– ⅓ cup dried cherries, chopped
– ⅓ cup candied walnuts, chopped
– 1 cup dark chocolate chips (for dipping) Apricot Pistachio
– ⅓ cup dried apricots, chopped
– ⅓ cup pistachios, chopped
– 1 cup white chocolate chips (for dipping)
Our search for Clarity occasionally demands us to set aside to-do lists in favor of prayer books. It inters us within a temple of quiet solitude, away from the dazzle of worldliness, insisting on reflection. Our weaving of elaborate plans is replaced by solemn contemplation. When I ache with this azan in my ear, I bow at my kitchen’s altar for answers often found within the merging of butter, sugar and flour.
Flavored with candied orange and anise, these cookies are a nod to the French sweet bread, gibassier
– 3/4 cup sugar
– 8 oz. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
– 2 teaspoons orange flower water
– 3 eggs
– 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
– ½ cup almond flour
– 2 teaspoons baking powder
– ¼ teaspoon salt
– 1/3 cup candied orange peel, finely chopped
– 1 teaspoon anise seeds, toasted and slightly crushed
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a sheet pan with parchment and spray with cooking spray.
In a stand mixer, beat sugar and butter until pale and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating thoroughly after each addition. Add extract and beat well.
Add flour, almond flour, baking powder and salt and mix until blended. Add candied orange peel and anise and mix until just combined.
Shape dough into two rolls the length of the sheet pan. Flatten each to 3” wide. Bake 20-25 minutes until set and barely beginning to brown. Cool 10 minutes. Cut rolls ½” thick across into 18 biscotti each. 5. Arrange biscotti on their sides on sheet pan and bake 8-10 minutes. Turn cookies over and bake an additional 5 minutes. Bake cookies until dry and crispy, but not brown. I enjoy these treats dipped in a cappuccino or glass of milk.
The question on everyone’s lips for 2010 has been, “what ever happened with that lemon tart?” Well, perhaps not everyone’s lips – most likely the question remains merely in my head, but I’d like to offer an update regardless.
On the Sunday before last, I finally had the opportunity to bake the tarts for the restaurant. Like a culinary Field of Dreams, I made them and the customers bought. Even Big D and his girlfriend finished their night with one – and this couple is not the type to indulge in culinary naughtiness. Last Sunday, a few of the servers asked me if I would be making them again. Poco de Chile says they’re too labor intensive, but Big D wants to put them on the menu permanently. They are slightly labor intensive, but not too bad if I’m allowed to focus on making them. I’m tired of pushing the tarts with Poco and Big D. They have the recipe and the next step is theirs. For me, they were a small triumph – my first recipe for public consumption.
Big D also wanted to add a biscotti and vin santo pairing to the dessert menu. The other night, I made a trio of biscotti – apricot/white chocolate, cherry/walnut/dark chocolate and milk chocolate/orange. We gave a few samples to the customers and the feedback was positive. Big D approved of my presentation and flavor. I finished them late on Sunday so we didn’t have a chance to sell them that night. I’m curious if they’re selling this week.
He’s asked me to create a Valentine’s Day dessert. I’m honored to be asked. I’m playing with ideas in my head, but I already have a clear image of what I want to try: A thin dark chocolate genoise on the bottom, a layer of raspberry filling, a light chocolate mousse, another layer of genoise and raspberry, chocolate ganache on top with fresh raspberries. I’m pleased with the overall concept, but I feel like it’s missing something – a little surprise inside, like a hazelnut layer or another surprising flavorful pop besides chocolate and raspberry. Whoever my testers are, I think they’ll be happy with the assignment.
Now that I’ve given the restaurant a taste of my talent (literally – I give samples), it seems the gum chomping servers are a little nicer these days.