Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Gift idea: Biscotti

After baking up a ton of sweet stuff this holiday, I was looking for something homemade to gift some foodie friends on my list. Biscotti came to mind- not too terribly sweet, but flavorful and it still gives me the chance to play around with different combinations of ingredients.

I adapted Giada De Laurentiis' holiday biscotti recipe. I opted not to dip them in white chocolate and cover them in sprinkles, and changed out the nuts from pistachios to chopped walnuts. The result was a slightly sweet cookie with a gentle lemon undernote, just the right amount of crumble when dipped in coffee, and a buttery, nutty flavor accented with cranberries.

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temp
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
3/4 cups walnuts, coarsely chopped
2/3 cup dried cranberries

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line a heavy, large baking sheet with parchment paper. Whisk the flour and baking powder in a medium bowl to blend, and set aside.
2. Using an electric mixer, beat the sugar, butter, lemon zest and salt together.
Add eggs in, beating them one at a time.
3. Add the flour mixture and mix until everything is just blended. Stir in dried fruit and nuts.
4. Form the dough into a log, about 3” wide, on the prepared baking sheet. Mine ended up being about a foot long.
5. Bake until light golden – about 40 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes. There may be some crumbling when you slice... I made sure to cool completely before moving onto the next step to minimize that.
6. Using a serrated knife, slice through biscotti at a diagonal. Arrange slices onto baking pan, slice-side-down. Bake again at 350 degrees for 15 minutes, or until the tops are light golden brown and the edges are crisp.
7. Cool completely before packaging.

My next batch? Walnuts, dried cherries, dipped halfway in melted dark chocolate.

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