Cranberry Pecan Biscotti

Cranberry-Pecan Biscotti

Cranberry-Pecan Biscotti

Listen up folks!   It is a scientific fact that a beverage, whether it be coffee, tea, hot chocolate or milk, needs the perfect dunking cooking to go with it.

I took a poll among my friends with the question “would you rather have a graham cracker, a snickerdoodle, or cranberry pecan biscotti with your favorite beverage”?  Don’t ever let it be said that I’m afraid to ask the hard questions!   Biscotti was the overwhelming winner.  Although I have a sneaky suspicion that a frosted cinnamon roll would not be unwelcome either.

The winners….biscotti!

The winner….biscotti!

These are very gentle biscotti;  they are not going to fall apart and leave crumbs in the bottom of your cup or glass.  They are gently spiced with cinnamon and cloves, and they are made with whole wheat flour, so they are good for you.  In addition there’s the cranberries adding their vitamin C. and chopped pecans for some added crunch.  These are as much a cookie as they are a tiny package of warmth and comfort in the middle of what was this winter’s coldest temperatures.

Ahem, excuse me, but I wrote this over a month ago when it was still winter around here.  Don’t be misled, these are great any ole time you feel like having a cookie to munch on.

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CRANBERRY PECAN BISCOTTI

Yield:  Makes about 2 1/2 dozen biscottiIMG_8929

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamonIMG_8931
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
  • 2/3 cup chopped pecans
  • 3/4 cup dried cranberries

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 325*F.   Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, or Silpat liner.

2.  In the large bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs, one at a time, then the vanilla.

Start by creaming the butter and sugar.

Start by creaming the butter and sugar.

3.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and cloves.  Add to creamed mixture in several additions.  If mixture becomes too thick, stir in the remainder of the flour mixture.

4.  Stir in the nuts and cranberries.

5.  Divide the dough in half and form 2 logs on the baking sheet. (approximately 1/2″ x 2″ wide).

Form dough into 2 "logs" on baking sheet.

Form dough into 2 “logs” on baking sheet.

6.  Bake at 325*F. for 25 minutes, until light golden brown.

7.  Remove from oven and cool for 5 minutes.  Slice into 1/2″-thick slices.   Lay on their sides.  Bake about 10 minutes longer, turning over after 5 minutes.

These biscotti may not seem crisp enough, but as they cool they become crisper, so do not over bake them.

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Enjoy these delightful biscotti and be comforted!

SOURCE:    Big Oven

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Coconut Biscotti

 

Coconut Biscotti

Coconut Biscotti

When you serve biscotti, you’re styling’, did you know that?  These crunchy, nutty, hard cookies are custom-made for dunking in a frothy cappuccino, or nibbling on between sips of dark, thick, espresso.  Or maybe you’re having them at the end of the day with a glass of sweet dessert wine.  If it’s wine you’re having, make it a wine from Tuscany, the reputed home of biscotti.

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A surprising fact to me is that biscotti were first developed for Lent, when all types of festive and fancy baking was curtailed. Their plain appearance is deceiving.  You may think that the cookie is plain and boring, but not so.  In going through my recipes recently, I noted that I have quite a number of recipes for biscotti, and they are all different.  The several characteristics they all share are the elongated shape, usually cut on a diagonal, the inclusion of toasted nuts, and the fact that they are twice baked, making them crisp and crunchy.

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The name of these cookies, when translated, breaks down to bis (twice) and cottare (to cook).  Because they are a firm, sturdy cookie they are perfect for packing and shipping to someone far from home.

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This recipe utilizes coconut in several forms;  toasted and finely ground in the dough, and coconut oil used for shortening in the dough; there is also coconut cream (liquid) and coconut flavoring in the glaze.  The basic cookie is not sweet, but the glaze they are dipped into adds a touch of sweetness at the end.  If you choose not to dip them into the glaze, they will still be a very enjoyable mildly sweet treat.

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The nuts called for in the recipe are salted macadamia nuts, chopped; however I didn’t have any so I used a combination of hazelnuts and cashews from a jar of salted nuts, and they worked just fine.

If you have never made biscotti before this could be the recipe to get you started,  especially as we approach the start of Lent.  I have never given up sweets for Lent because I can’t survive without a goodie now and then, but I do try to abstain from rich decadent desserts.   With biscotti on hand, I know I can have my “goodie” without going overboard.

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COCONUT BISCOTTI

Yield:  Makes about 24 cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1  1/2 cups unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour

    Coconut oil, melted, is the shortening in this recipe.

    Coconut oil, melted, is the shortening in this recipe.

  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup salted macadamia nuts, chopped
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. coconut cream ( may use milk or cream instead)
  • 1/8 to 1/4 tsp. coconut extract
  • coarse sugar for decorating, if desired

Directions:

1.  Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven; preheat to 350*F.  Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

2.  Spread 1 cup coconut flakes on a baking sheet and bake until toasted, about 3 minutes.

Coconut flakes, toasted

Coconut flakes, toasted

Let cool completely.  Transfer to a food processor; add the granulated sugar and pulse until finely ground.

Pulse in processor with sugar.

Pulse in processor with sugar.

3.  Whisk the coconut-sugar mixture, the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl.

Mix all the dry ingredients together.

Mix all the dry ingredients together.

Melt the coconut oil in the microwave;  add to the flour mixture along with 1/3 cup water and the vanilla, and mix with a wooden spoon until a stiff dough forms.

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Stir in the chopped nuts and the remaining 1/2 cup coconut flakes, gently knead until the dough comes together.

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4.  Divide the dough in half and shape into two 9-by-2-inch logs;  place 1 log on each baking sheet.

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Bake, switching the pans halfway through, until the logs are firm and golden, about 25 minutes.  Reduce the oven temperature to 300*F.

I baked them both on one sheet and they spread into each other.

I baked them both on one sheet and they spread into each other.

5.  Let the logs cool 10 minutes, then transfer to a cutting board.  Slice diagonally, with a serrated knife, into 3/4-inch thick pieces.

Cut on the diagonal and lay flat on baking sheet to be re-baked.

Cut on the diagonal and lay flat on baking sheet to be re-baked.

Arrange the slices cut-side down on the baking sheets.  Bake, flipping halfway through, until just golden and centers still have a little give, 20 to 25 minutes.  (It has been my experience that over-baking can happen at this stage of the game, so I underbake a little to be cautious.)  With these cookies, I baked 8 minutes on the first side, turned them over and baked for 10 minutes more.  They were plenty crispy, and they continue to crisp up as they cool.  Cool completely on wire racks before glazing.

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6.  Whisk the confectioners’ sugar, coconut cream, (or milk) and coconut extract in a small bowl until smooth.  Dip the biscotti in the glaze and sprinkle with decorative sugar if desired.

To store:   Allow the glaze to harden completely before storing in an air-tight container.  Separating the layers with wax paper will keep the cookies from sticking together.  They will keep “forever”, but we always eat them up way before then 🙂

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SOURCE:   FoodNetwork Magazine

Chocolate Almond Cherry Biscotti

Chocolate Almond Cherry Biscotti

Chocolate Almond Cherry Biscotti

Don’t try to resist these.  Just go with the flow and have one (or two) with  a warm cup of coffee, or hot cocoa.  Oh, my, they are beyond good.

Perfect with a cup of coffee or cocoa.

Perfect with a cup of coffee or cocoa.

If you have never made biscotti before, let me assure you they are not hard.  Yes, they bake twice.  That’s what gives them their crunch.  First you mix up the dough and shape it into a log on a baking sheet.  Then the log is baked and allowed to cool a bit.  Then you slice it crosswise, and bake it again.  These cookies are crunchy and chocolatey.  Chock full of chopped almonds and sweet dried cherries, then they’re dipped into melted semisweet chocolate for that extra special Valentine touch.  Ta-da!!

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These are perfect for dessert, teatime, with a cup of cappuccino, perfect for breakfast, perfect for packaging up and giving this Valentine’s Day.  Did I say they are perfect?       Ooooo-yeah!

CHOCOLATE ALMOND CHERRY BISCOTTI

YIELD:   16-18 pieces

Lots of good things go into these lovely biscotti.

Lots of good things go into these lovely biscotti.

Ingredients:

  • 4 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. almond extract
  • 1  3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup Dutch process cocoa
  • 1/3 cup almond flour
  • 1  1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/3 cup chopped almonds
  • 1 cup dried cherriesIMG_6461

For chocolate dip:

  • 1 cup mini chocolate chips, divided
  • 2 tsp. shortening

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 350*F.  Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper.

2.  With an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar till fluffy.  Add in the eggs and extracts, beating till well combined.

3.  In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, almond flour, baking powder and salt.

Mix dry ingredients together.

Mix dry ingredients together.

With the mixer on “Low”, add in the dry ingredients in several batches.  Stir in the almonds and cherries.

4.  Spoon the dough onto the baking sheet diagonally in a long line.  With lightly floured hands, shape the dough into a log that measures approx. 14″ x 3″.   Smooth the top with a rubber spatula if necessary.

Shape dough into a "log".

Shape dough into a “log”.

5.  Bake for 30 minutes.  Remove from the oven and let cool 10 minutes.

The log, after baking.

The log, after baking.

6.  Reduce oven temperature to 325*F.   Spritz log lightly with water just to slightly moisten the crust.  Cut crosswise into strips about  3/4-inch to 1-inch wide.  Stand upright.

Spritz the crust lightly, cut crosswise, and stand upright.

Spritz the crust lightly, cut crosswise, and stand slices upright.

7.  Return to the oven and bake an additional 25 – 30 minutes till dry.  Remove and let cool completely.

8.  To Dip:  Melt 2/3 cup chips and the shortening in a microwave safe dish ( about 45 seconds at 50% power).  Stir to smooth out, then stir in the remaining chips and stir again till smooth.  Dip bottoms of biscotti into the chocolate.  Let dry on a wax paper-lined cookie sheet.  Refrigerate for 5 – 10 minutes to set.

Dip bottoms of biscotti into melted chocolate.

Dip bottoms of biscotti into melted chocolate.

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SOURCE:    Bake at 350

Not Your Average Cup of Joe

Coffee Macadamia Nut Biscotti

Coffee Macadamia Nut Biscotti

In Ka’u, the historic district of the Big Island of Hawaii, coffee and  Hawaii Volcanoes National Park are the two big things.  The area is home to about 50 coffee plantations that ship beans around the world.  Four years ago, the community created an annual weeklong K’au Coffee Festival, that included a recipe contest.  It has since become one of its most popular events.  Last year’s winner created this recipe that was the grand-prize winner.  Oddly enough, this talented baker doesn’t drink coffee, but nevertheless she was able to come up with this winning recipe.

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These coffee-spiked biscotti include other Ka’u ingredients like local honey, macadamia nuts and toasted coconut.  Even if you’ve never been to Hawaii, you can get a taste of the local flavor by making these award-winning biscotti.  They are really good with a cup of hot coffee or iced coffee.

COFFEE-MACADAMIA NUT BISCOTTI

Yield:  Makes 30 – 35 cookiesIMG_4531

Ingredients:

  • 2  3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup ground coffee
  • 1 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. butter, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup macadamia nuts, roughly chopped
  • 1 12-oz. bag white chocolate chips
  • 1  1/2 cups sweetened shredded coconut, toasted

1.  Preheat the oven to 350*F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2.  Whisk the flour, coffee, cocoa powder, baking soda and cinnamon in a medium bowl.  Combine the sugar, butter, honey, vanilla, and eggs in a large bowl with a mixer on medium-high speed.   Reduce the mixer speed to low, beat in the flour mixture until just combined.  Stir in the macadamia nuts with a wooden spoon.

3.  Form the dough into two  8 – 10 inch logs on the prepared baking sheet, about 3 inches apart.  Bake until browned about 25 minutes.  Let cool 10 minutes, then cut crosswise into 1/2-inch slices using a serrated knife.

4.  Reduce the oven temperature to 325*F.  Arrange the slices cut-side down on the baking sheet; return to the oven and bake 20 more minutes, flipping the cookies over halfway through.  Let cool 10 minutes on the baking sheets, then transfer to racks to cool completely.

5.  Melt the white chocolate chips in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water  (do not let the bowl touch the water), stirring until smooth.  Dip the biscotti partway into the melted chocolate, then roll in the toasted coconut.

This is how I stand them up to dry.

This is how I stand them up to dry.

Place on a baking sheet lined with fresh parchment; refrigerate until set, about 30 minutes.

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I spread chocolate on only one side of some of them, and sprinkled with coconut.

I spread chocolate on only one side of some of them, and sprinkled with coconut.

SOURCE:   Food Network Magazine

Mandelbrot

The Elf on the Shelf!

The Elf on the Shelf!

Before telling you about today’s cookies, I thought I would introduce you to one of our elves.  I have several of these little guys and every year I bring them out and “Hide” them on shelves and other places where they can get into mischief.  Occasionally they get moved from one spot to another so I find them in unexpected places.  They add a little fun to our Christmas preparations.

Today’s cookie recipe is for Mandelbrot.  They are crunchy cookies very similar to biscotti and so I include them in that general category of cookies.    They always contain almonds  as “mandelbrot ” is the German word for “almond bread”.

Mandelbrot

Mandelbrot

I have tried a variety of recipes for mandelbrot but I always come back to this one.  It has very few ingredients, is so easy to put together and is dependable in that the cookies never fail to come out good.  Everyone to whom I’ve given them loves them and asks for the recipe.  This is one example where simple is always better.  If you really want to dress them up a little a drizzle of dark chocolate over the top makes them especially appealing.  Biscotti-type cookies go great with a cup of coffee, and it’s OK to dunk!

MANDELBROT

YIELD:   3 1/2 — 4 dozen cookies

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup salad oil
  • 3  eggs
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon anise seeds, crushed
  • OR  1/2 teaspoon almond  flavoring
  • 1 cup finely chopped almonds

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly grease a baking sheet or line with parchment paper.

2.  In a large mixer bowl, mix at medium speed, the sugar, oil, and eggs until well blended and aerated .

3.  Add flour, salt and anise seeds, OR almond flavoring and continue beating until well mixed.  If  the dough becomes too stiff, stir in the remaining flour by hand.

4.  Stir in the almonds.

5.  Divide the dough in half.  With floured hands, on the prepared baking sheet, shape each half into a 12 x 3-inch loaf about 3 inches apart.

Form dough into two long loaves on lined baking sheet.

Form dough into two long loaves on lined baking sheet.

6.  Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until light brown.  Remove from the oven and immediately cut each loaf crosswise into 1/2 inch diagonal slices.

Slice baked loaves into diagonal slices.

Slice baked loaves into diagonal slices.

7.  Turn each slice on its side.  Return to oven and bake for 15 to 20 minutes more, turning the slices over at the half-way point to insure even browning.

Lay slices flat and bake again, turning over once until crisp.

Lay slices flat and bake again, turning over once until crisp.

They should be crisp and toasted, pleasantly crunchy, but not too hard.  Adjust baking time to your liking.

Mandelbrot. a welcome gift.

Mandelbrot. a welcome gift.

SOURCE:   Cooking Light,  2009

Gingerbread Biscotti – Dipped in Chocolate

Chocolate-dipped gingerbread biscotti

Chocolate-dipped gingerbread biscotti

Biscotti, those twice-baked Italian cookies, have been on my must-make-for-Christmas-list for the past few years.  The Holidays wouldn’t be the same without them.  I have made a variety of flavors over the years, some of them we really loved, others were just so-so.  Some kind of biscotti always ends up in the cookie-gifts I put together for friends and family.  This particular recipe is one of our very favorites, and becomes a favorite of everyone who has it.  I either get asked for the recipe, or “are you making those spicy biscotti cookies this year?”  The answer is Yes, Yes,Yes.

These cookies are just great as a light dessert,  with a cup of coffee,  on a dessert buffet, or for a cookie swap.   I can’t imagine anytime when they wouldn’t be welcome, and not just for the Holidays.  They can be made and enjoyed any time of the year.  Dipping them in chocolate may be omitted, but the combination of gingerbread and chocolate is so good and a little decadent!   I’ve even gone so far as to sprinkle the chocolate end with finely ground nuts or decorative sugar while the chocolate is still moist.

CHOCOLATE-DIPPED GINGERBREAD BISCOTTI

YIELD:   Makes about 2 1/2 dozen biscotti

INGREDIENTS

Molasses, spices and ginger are the essentials for these cookies.

Molasses, spices and ginger are the essentials for these cookies.

  • 3/4 cup crystalized ginger, chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup light molasses
  • 2  3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1  1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2/3 cup ( 4 ounces ) chopped bittersweet chocolate, or chocolate chips

DIRECTIONS

1.    In a large bowl, whisk together the the spices and the sugars.  Sift in the flour and baking powder, and whisk to blend well.

2.    In a large mixer bowl, beat the butter until light and creamy.  Beat in the eggs, 1 at a time, followed by the molasses, until the mixture is smooth.

3.    Add the flour/spice mixture and mix to blend.  Add in the chopped ginger.  The dough will be thick and slightly sticky.  You may need to stir in the last of the flour and the ginger.

Cover the dough and chill for at least as hour.

Cover the dough and chill for 2 – 3 hours.

4.   Divide the dough in half, wrap each half in wax paper or plastic wrap, and chill for 2 to 3 hours.  (When tightly sealed, the dough will keep for up to 1 week in the refrigerator.)

5.   Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Grease a baking sheet, or line with parchment paper, set aside.

6.   With lightly floured hands, shape each portion of dough into a loaf about 1/2 inch thick, 2 inches wide, and 12 to 14 inches long.

Shape the dough into two long loaves with your hands.

Shape the dough into two long loaves with your hands.

Place the loaves on the prepared sheet at least 2 inches apart.   Bake until the loaves are completely set and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean—-about 25 minutes.    Do not turn off the oven.

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7.    Place the baking sheet on a wire rack and let the loaves cool on the sheet for 5 minutes.  With a serrated knife, firmly cut each loaf on the diagonal into slices 1/2 inch thick.

Cut each loaf crowd-wise into slices.

Cut each loaf crowd-wise into slices.

Place the slices upright on the baking sheet and return to the oven for 10 minutes, or longer if you like a crisper cookie.   Remove the biscotti from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

8.    Melt the chocolate in a heat-proof bowl over boiling water or in the micro-wave.  Dip one end of each cookie into the chocolate, and using a knife or spatula, smooth as needed.  Do not dip more than half of each cookie.  Set the cookies upright on a wire rack until the chocolate has set.

After dipping stand the cookies upright to allow the chocolate to firm up.

After dipping stand the cookies upright to allow the chocolate to firm up.

Cookies may be stored in an airtight container, separated by wax or parchment paper between the layers.

Biscotti are always good with coffee or a glass of wine.

Biscotti are always good with coffee or a glass of wine.

Nutrition summary:  per cookie:  135 calories, 4 g. fat, 1 g. fiber, 21 mg. cholesterol, 33 mg sodium.

SOURCE:   Martha Stewart,  Gifts From Your Kitchen