Monday, August 10, 2009

BISCOTTI - Cranberry, Walnut, Apricot

This is my all time best Biscotti recipe. 
I use about 40 pounds of flour when I make biscotti cookies and sell them for my church benefit each Christmas. Always a big hit. I think I now qualify as an expert in biscotti. I have done everything wrong you can do and they still are good. And I always share recipes. 
You will find this an easy recipe if you have made biscotti before.  If its your first time, I would cut the recipe in half and learn from that. Its really wonderful. Just more work than normal cookies.   
A short history of Biscotti   
The word biscotto derives from “bis,” Latin for twice, and “coctum” or baked (which became “cotto,” or cooked). The Roman biscotti were convenience food for travelers. Unleavened, finger-shaped wafers were baked, then a second time to dry them out. Later after the Renaissance, Biscotti became popular in Tuscany because a local baker served them with a sweet wine. Their dry, crunchy texture was a perfect medium to soak up the wine. It was hit. Biscotti is found in every town in Italy. The reason is more for the American tourists than the locals. America has fallen in love with biscotti.

Apricot Cranberry Walnut Biscotti Recipe
4 cups all-purpose flour
4 teaspoon baking powder (FRESH)
3/4 teaspoon salt
6-8 Tablespoons unsalted butter at room temp.
1 1/2 to 2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (note: I like to use vanilla powder if I am concerned about moisture in the batter.  It works well and I can put it in the flour mixture instead of with the wet.)
1 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup dried cranberries, soaked in water, patted dry
1 cup dried apricots, chopped, soaked in water, patted dry
DIRECTIONS: Play some Bocelli while you are working.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Two bowls required.

In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt.
Add cranberries, apricots. walnuts OR pistachios. Stir well.

In a separate bowl combine sugar and butter. Beat.
Add eggs and beat well.
Add vanilla extract and mix.

Combine contents of both bowls.
Mix flour into the wet mixture a third at a time. Dough should be sticky. Divide dough into three pieces.

Place each separately in wax paper. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to 1 hour.  If the dough becomes too cold, you need to let it sit on the counter until its softens.

Place one of the three, on a floured wood board. Lightly knead. 
Shape by hand into a log of about 3 “ wide and 10 “ long. Repeat with the two other pieces of dough.

Place on parchment paper on a cookie sheet. Do not crowd logs as they will expand.
Bake 25 minutes or until dough pops back up when lightly pressed with a finger.

Remove from oven and cool 10 minutes on a wire rack. I like the cold tile of my counter myself.

Using a long SHARP serrated knife, cut logs into 1 inch slices.

Reduce oven to 300 degrees.
Place each back on a cooking sheet with cut side up. Bake another 12 minutes.
Remove from oven and cool completely on wire racks.
Yields about 6 dozen biscotti.
I leave them out overnight on the counter. In the morning, I package them in ziploc bags and freeze them until my sale in December. Remember, they have real whole eggs and butter. Do not leave them out for months.

The ingredients make them special. Use the best.

1 comment:

climb3mtns said...

Thanks for the recipe. I may try this when I retire but until then I'll just purchase them from you.

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