A few things have happened in the last week. First, a week ago today I turned 33-years-old. I treated myself to a manicure and my lovely husband treated me to dinner at my favorite Indian restaurant in town. Second, my fall semester finally ended last week and I have to say that I am pleased with my grades so far (one grade is still not posted – gah!). This last semester was tough, I won’t lie. It was tough academically and it was tough culinarily. I feel like I neglected the blog more than I was comfortable with and I apologize to the few of you out there that follow it.
But…I’m back! It’s officially winter break and I’ve spent pretty much every day in the kitchen. Just where I want to be on chilly Nebraska days. We also got our first snow, so it looks extra wintery out there.
Every year our dear friends Sarah and Matthew throw a holiday soup party at their home. And every year it is a lot of work for Sarah because she prepares all the soups (at least four). This year, I offered my services and she accepted. I am always happy to help Sarah, as she has helped me in so many different ways.
For the soup offerings, I prepared a creamy asparagus soup, which I’ve written about before. For the party, I made it without the sausage. However, I did make a soup with spicy chorizo, chickpeas, and kale, so sausage made an appearance.
And of course, I brought dessert. On the menu was a Dobos torte, a banana bread bundt cake with bourbon buttermilk glaze, and pistachio and cranberry biscotti with white chocolate. That is what I want to talk about right now. Biscotti.
I’ve never made biscotti before mainly because I’ve never eaten a really good one. I know they’re supposed to be crispy “twice-baked” cookies, but the ones I’ve eaten have basically disintegrated after the first bite. I like crispy and crumbly, but I don’t like crispy and crumbly when it all ends up in my lap right out of the gate.
I decided just to give it a try. I love cranberries and pistachios, so why not, right? Besides, they look like the holidays on a plate – they’re beautiful.
The thing about biscotti is they are so simple to make and the combinations are endless. I drizzled these with melted white chocolate and I feel that added just the right amount of richness to the cookie. I also grated in a little zest from the clementines we have sitting on the counter. Lovely!
I usually make edible gifts for my family and friends and after the success of these cookies, I’m definitely adding them to my list!
Pistachio and Cranberry Biscotti with Orange Zest and White Chocolate
Adapted from Chow
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
3/4 cup granulated sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 large eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons finely grated orange zest (I used clementines – tis the season!)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 – 1 cup dried cranberries
3/4 cup shelled, roasted, salted pistachios
4 ounces white chocolate (not chips), coarsely chopped *
* Be sure to buy good white chocolate (Baker’s) that has cocoa butter in the list of ingredients. This will ensure even melting.
Pre-heat oven to 350ºF. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
Whisk the measured flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.
Place sugar and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on medium speed until light in color and fluffy. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl and the paddle.
Add eggs, zest, and vanilla and mix until combined, about 1 minute. Stop the mixer and scrape down the paddle and sides of bowl. Also, run your rubber spatula around the bottom of the bowl to mix up what is stuck to the bottom.
Turn mixer to low and slowly add flour mixture, mixing until just combined. Add cranberries and pistachios and mix until evenly combined. Stop mixer and scrape all the dough from the paddle. Remove bowl from mixer and using a rubber spatula, mix the dough by hand a few turns to ensure everything is evenly distributed.
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and divide it into two equal portions. Using your hands and flouring them as needed, shape each portion into a 10-by-1-1/2-inch rectangle. Transfer rectangles to prepared baking sheet.
Bake until lightly golden brown, about 30 minutes. Remove the pan to a wire rack and let cool for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, lower oven temperature to 300ºF.
Remove rectangles to a cutting board (reserve baking sheet and parchment). Using a serrated knife, cut each rectangle crosswise on a slight diagonal into 1/2-inch-thick pieces that are about 4-inches long. Discard end pieces. Place remaining pieces on baking sheet.
Bake for 15 minutes. Flip biscotti and bake until tops are dry to the touch and light golden brown, about 15 more minutes. Place the baking sheet on the wire rack and let the biscotti cool completely on the sheet, about 30 minutes.
Melt the chocolate in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring to melt evenly. Transfer to a small resealable plastic bag, cut about 1/16-inch off one bottom corner and drizzle chocolate over biscotti. Let the biscotti sit until the chocolate has set, about 30 minutes. The cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.