I made a batch of biscotti today to add to my Christmas food gifts. The recipe is based on a recipe from the Tra Vigne Cookbook. I love the biscotti. It is made with turbinado sugar, which gives it a great texture. I changed the recipe by using a lot less aniseed, adding the zest of an orange, adding dried cranberries, and using slivered almonds instead of whole almonds. The results were excellent. The process does take quite a bit of time, but during the long cooking time, you can be doing other things.
CRANBERRY ALMOND BISCOTTI
Makes about 40 cookies
3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2/3 cup turbinado sugar, plus more to roll logs in
1/3 cup light brown sugar
5 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoon aniseed
Zest of 1 orange
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup slivered almonds, toaste
Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt and set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter, crystal sugar, and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, orange zest, vanilla, aniseed an dmix to combine. Add the flour mixture and beat on low just until the dough begins to come together. Add the almonds and cranberries and mix until distributed. Do not overwork. On a floured board, shape the dough into a ball, flatten, put in a bowl, cover with wrap, and chill for 2 hours to allow dough to relax.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Divide the dough into 2 equal portions on a lightly floured work surface. Using your hands, roll each portion into a log about 3 inches in diameter. Roll the logs into crystal sugar to coat well. Place the logs on the prepared baking sheet and press down lightly to flatten slightly. Logs should be several inches apart.
Bake until firm and light brown, about 1 hour. When poked with a finger, the dough should feel firm to the touch and not collapse or cave in. Remove from the oven, then lower the oven temperature to 300 degrees.
Let the logs cool completely. Carefully move them, still on the parchment, to a cutting board, then peel off the parchment. Cut the logs with a sharp serrated knife into 1/2″ thick slices. Lay the slices down on a baking sheet and return to the oven. Bake until toasted to a golden brown on both sides, about 50 minutes. Turn the cookies during toasting, as needed, to brown evenly on both sides. Let cool completely, then store in an airtight container