I thought I didn’t like biscotti. The only biscotti I’d ever had was from a café; an impulse buy for something to go along with my tea. And each time I’d buy it, I’d regret it. It was just bread with the unfulfilled promise of dessert that was set out to shrivel and dry to a near-tooth-breaking consistency.
So I was a little confused when I started seeing biscotti recipes showing up on blog posts about cookies. No biscotti I’ve ever had could be confused as a cookie. A crouton? Yes. But not a cookie. Regardless of all that, I decided to give it a shot. The result? It should be a criminal offense for coffee purveyors to call those hard planks, “biscotti” because the biscotti I made was fantastic! Crisp and dry, but no damage done to any teeth! There was a delicate softness just inside the cookie that was like a nice surprise (particularly since it didn’t require the use of molars to break through).
As my base, I consulted the master of “everything,” Mark Bittman. I came up with the add-ins on my own. But there’s really no way to go wrong if you add in what you like. I did mini chocolate chips for one and slivered almonds and dried cherries for the other. The mini chocolate chips were a little too delicate for my taste, but the cherry almond was fantastic!
Cherry Almond Biscotti
Adapted from Mark Bittman’s How To Cook Everything
Yield: about 2-3 dozen biscotti
4 tablespoons butter, plus a bit more for greasing baking sheets
¾ cup of sugar
½ teaspoon almond extract (or emulsion)
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
2 ¼ cups all purpose flour, plus more for dusting
2 teaspoons baking powder
pinch of salt
1 cup blanched slivered almonds
¾ cup dried cherries
1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Cream the butter and sugar until fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until well blended. Mix in almond and vanilla extracts.
2. Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl and add to the batter slowly, beating until just mixed.
3. Fold in the almonds and cherries.
4. Grease and lightly flour the cookie sheet. Tap over the sink to remove excess flour and set aside (or skip this and cover with parchment paper).
5. Scoop out the dough onto the cookie sheet and form into a log flattened to about 3-4 inches wide by about 14-16 inches long and about an inch tall.
6. Bake until log is golden and beginning crack on top, around 30 minutes.
7. Remove from the oven and and lower the temperature to 250F.
8. Once the loaf has cooled enough to handle, move it to a cutting board cut into roughly ½ inch slices. Place the slices on their sides on the cookie sheet and return to the oven to dry out for about 15 minutes.
9. Remove to cool completely on a wire rack and store in an airtight container or bag.