Day 9 of our 12 Days of Cookies extravaganza thing, and I was craving biscotti, one of my very favorite cookies. These beauties combine cranberries and pistachios for a red and green festive look and taste. These are like traditional Italian biscotti which don’t use butter and they are not soft and crumbly. They are true dunkers, ready for your coffee, tea, or milk. If you want to feel Italian, try them with some Vin Santo or other dessert wine.
I started baking biscotti several years ago and fell in love with the cookies because of the wonderful crunch, the nutty flavor, and how easy they are. If you don’t have a stand mixer, they do require a strong arm to mix the dough to the proper consistency, and I would avoid a hand mixer unless you just want it for the very beginning of mixing the dry and liquid ingredients together. Once the dough starts forming, hand mixers start rebelling.
With all the fruit and nuts, this batch really takes some muscle to work it together and evenly distribute it all. The soaking step is important for dried cranberries because they tend to really dry out otherwise, though I would soak it in some other liquid next time, perhaps some wine. I thought some of the flavor of the cranberries was left in the water. Otherwise, we thoroughly enjoyed these and will add them to our Christmas rotation.
Be sure to visit all our friends in the cookie clan to see what cookies they chose as well as the Gourmet website to see all their favorite cookies from 1941-2008.
The Rest of the Cookie Baking Clan
- Sandy of The Bakers Bench
- Claire of The Barefoot Kitchen
- Kelly of Sass & Veracity
- Courtney of Coco Cooks
- Judy of No Fear Entertaining
- 1-1/3 cups (about 1/4 pound) dried cranberries
- hot water
- 2-1/2 cups (300 g) unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 cup (175 g) sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 cup (4.5 ounces/128 g)shelled pistachio nuts
- egg wash (1 large beaten egg + 1 teaspoon water)
- Preheat the oven to 325° F/165° C.
- Put the cranberries in the small bowl with enough hot tap water to cover and let them soak for 5 minutes. Drain the cranberries well and pat them dry with paper towels. The cranberry juice will stain so don’t use your best kitchen towels.
- In the bowl of the stand mixer blend the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt until the mixture is combined well.
- Add the eggs and the vanilla, beating for about 5 minutes until a dough is formed. It will come together slowly, and look crumbly for the first few minutes.
- Add the cranberries and pistachios and mix on low until they are distributed throughout the dough. You might need to hand mix it if your mixer seems to be straining.
- Flour your hands. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, knead it several times, and halve it. Roll each piece of dough into a log 13 inches long and 2 inches wide, place the logs at least 3 inches apart on the lined sheet pan, and brush them with the egg wash.
- Bake the logs in the middle of the oven for 30 minutes and let them cool on the baking sheet on a rack for 10 minutes. On a cutting board, cut the logs crosswise on the diagonal into 3/4-inch-thick slices, arrange the biscotti, cut sides down, on the baking sheet, and bake them in the 325° F. oven for 10 to 12 minutes on each side, or until they are pale golden. Transfer the biscotti to racks to cool and store them in airtight containers.
stand mixer with paddle attachment (or mixing bowl and wooden spoon)
baking sheet lined with parchment
wire rack (bonus points if it fits your baking sheet)