Tuesday, May 01, 2012

45. Cherry Almond Biscotti

The reason behind my top 100 list was to challenge myself to try new things.  I wanted to learn new techniques, try different recipes, and expand my baking expertise.  I will not like everything on the list, but it will not stop me from making it and trying it.

That is the case with biscotti.  I like crisp cookies, but I am not a huge fan of biscotti.  Biscotti can be so rock-hard that you must dip it in a beverage to actually be able to eat it.  That is where the problem lies.

Imagine it—you can have a nice, creamy, warm cup of coffee and a flavorful, not-to-sweet, crisp, nutty cookie.  Then you take that cookie, dip it into the coffee, hold it there for a few seconds, then pull the cookie out and eat it.  After savoring the now bitable cookie, you look back down at your cup of coffee and what do you see?  Floating crumbs, cookie residue, textures that are unbecoming of a drink.

THAT is why I do not care for biscotti, because the vehicle to make the cookie palatable creates unwanted consequences.  I want my coffee cookie-crumb free!  So, when making my own biscotti, I wanted it crisp but not jaw-breaking hard.  I wanted the cookie to be enjoyed with or without dipping.

These cookies have a crisp exterior and a softer, chewy interior.  I love that they are not super sweet, and the cherries provide an extra tartness.  Lastly, to bump up the decadence, I half dipped them in semi-sweet chocolate and showered some with almonds.

If you choose to dip them or not, they are perfectly enjoyable.  These cookies can stand on their own or be nicely paired with a warm beverage of choice.

Cherry Almond Biscotti
Adapted from Joy of Baking

1 tsp Baking Powder
1/8 tsp Salt
2 cups All-purpose Flour
3/4 cup White Sugar
4 large eggs
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
1/2 tsp Almond Extract
approx. 1 cup Dried Cherries
3/4 cup Slivered Almonds

1. Preheat oven temperature to 330F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  

2. In a small bowl lightly beat eggs and extracts together. 

3. In a medium bowl combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add the egg mixture and mix until a dough forms.  Adding almonds and cherries about halfway through.

4. On a lightly floured surface shape dough into a log about 14 inches long and 3 - 4 inches wide. Transfer log to the prepared baking sheet and bake for 30 - 40 minutes, or until firm to the touch (log will spread during baking). Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack for about 10 minutes.

5. Transfer log to a cutting board and, using a serrated knife, cut log into slices 1 inch thick slices on the diagonal. 

6. Arrange pieces evenly on baking sheet with bottom of log down, so that each piece is standing up with the cut side out.  Bake for 30 minutes or more, until firm to the touch.

7. Remove from oven and let cool.

8. If dipping, melt 8-oz of semi-sweet chocolate with a little vegetable oil.  Once cookies are completely cool, dip each cookie.  Sprinkle with additional sliced almonds if desired. Place on parchment paper, and in the fridge, until chocolate is completely set.

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