Great to have on hand when guests stop by during the holidays, these biscotti also make lovely gifts. You can substitute dried cherries for the cranberries.
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 4 Tbs. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup plus 1 Tbs. sugar
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 4 eggs
- 1/2 cup whole pistachios, plus finely chopped pistachios for dipping (optional)
- 1 tsp. water
- 10 oz. bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
Preheat an oven to 325°F.
Put the cranberries in a small bowl and cover with warm water. Soak until plumped, about 15 minutes. Drain, pat dry and set aside.
In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt and whisk to mix well. In another large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat together the butter, the 1 cup sugar and the vanilla until fluffy and well blended, about 2 minutes. Beat in 3 of the eggs until well blended, about 2 minutes. Gradually stir in the flour mixture and beat until smooth, about 3 minutes. Stir in the cranberries and the whole pistachios.
On a lightly floured work surface, divide the dough in half. Shape each half into a log 11 inches long by 1 1/2 inches in diameter. In a small bowl, beat together the remaining egg and the water. Brush the top of each log with the egg mixture and then sprinkle with the 1 Tbs. sugar. Place the logs, well spaced apart, on an ungreased baking sheet and press down to flatten slightly.
Bake until the logs are slightly colored and somewhat firm to the touch, about 25 minutes. Transfer the baking sheet to a wire rack. Leave the oven on.
When the logs are cool, after about 10 minutes, transfer them to a cutting board and cut on the diagonal into slices about 3/4 inch thick. Put the slices, cut side down, on the baking sheet and return to the oven. Bake until the slices are lightly golden, about 6 minutes. Turn the slices over and bake until golden on the other side, 5 to 6 minutes more. Transfer the cookies to a wire rack and let cool.
In the top of a double boiler set over but not touching gently simmering water, melt the chocolate. Remove from the heat. Put the finely chopped pistachios in a small bowl. Working quickly, dip one-third of each cookie into the chocolate and then dip the chocolate-covered tip into the pistachios. Return the cookie to the rack until the chocolate sets. Set the chocolate back over the double boiler to remelt the chocolate as necessary.
Store the cookies in layers, separated by waxed paper, in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week. Makes about 30 biscotti.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Holiday Entertaining, by Georgeanne Brennan (Oxmoor House, 2007).