December 11, 2013

Bonnie Biscotti

Last Saturday I started my annual Christmastime baking frenzy.  I look forward to it every year.  Though it takes [me - not you - I go slow] three days, I love doing it, much more than I love other kinds of holiday things.  Making and giving biscotti satisfies my craving for anything Christmas, wonderful aromas, neat and pretty little packages, gift giving, and feeling awesome about not eating even one!

All the credit for this recipe goes to my friend Evelyn who made it after seeing it on The Food Network about ten years ago.  She made the recipe, wrapped a biscotti up, and brought it to me at the YMCA early one December morning when we met to walk the indoor track.  I gobbled it down on the way home and totally fell in love with the taste*.  I wanted more!  Evelyn shared the recipe with me and my Christmas tradition was born.

The best part, for me, is bagging and bowing and packaging and mailing these sweet little gifties.  One year I realized that no one really commented on them.  I never got a, "WOW!  Thanks so much!  They are delicious!" etc.  I served them as a special dessert with fruit one holiday and detected less than enthusiastic smiles.  That's when I realized that maybe I was the only one who liked the damn cookies.  I felt so embarrassed.  So I only made one loaf, for me, the following year.

But my parents complained.  Dad needed the recipe; he said it just wasn't Christmas without Bonnie's Biscotti.  That made me feel so good!  So now I make them for me and my parents, and I make extra loaves so I have some to share with friends on my gift list.  I don't make any for Evelyn.  She can (and does) make her own!  Ha ha!

Read on to see my step-by-step pictorial recipe.

*Does anyone miss a certain Keebler cookie from back in the late 60s and early 70s called Swedish Creme?  It was a favorite of mine and my mom's.  My biscotti, dipped as it is in creamy white chocolate and with the chewy texture from the cranberries, tastes just like one of those Swedish Cremes.

Holiday Biscotti

Giada De Laurentis, Copyright 2003 Television Food Network
Yield:  2 dozen cookies

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
3/4 cup pistachios, coarsely chopped
2/3 cup dried cranberries
12 ounces good-quality white chocolate, chopped
red and green sugar crystals, for garnish

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Line a heavy large baking sheet with parchment paper.  Whisk the flour and baking powder in a medium bowl to blend.  Using an electric mixer, beat the sugar, butter, lemon zest, and salt in a large bowl to blend.  Beat in the eggs 1 at a time.  Add the flour mixture and beat just until blended.  Stir in the pistachios and cranberries.

Form the dough into a 13-inch long, 3-inch wide log on the prepared baking sheet.  Bake until light golden, about 40 minutes.  Cool for 30 minutes.

Place the log on the cutting board.  Using a sharp serrated knife, cut the log on a diagonal into 1/2 to 3/4-inch-thick slices.  Arrange the biscotti, cut side down, on the baking sheet.  Bake the biscotti until they are pale golden, about 15 minutes.  Transfer the biscotti to a rack and cool completely.

Stir the chocolate in a bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water until the chocolate melts.  Dip half of the biscotti into the melted chocolate.  Gently shake off the excess chocolate.  Place the biscotti on the baking sheet for the chocolate to set  Sprinkle with the sugar crystals.  Refrigerate until the chocolate is firm, about 35 minutes.

The biscotti can be made ahead.  Store them in an airtight container up to 4 days, or wrap them in foil and freeze in resealable plastic bags up to 3 weeks.

Ready to start!

First loaf sliced up.

Gently lift the slices and put on a baking sheet.
Ready to rebake.
Save the larger crumbly bits for homemade Biscotti Gelato.
My alert and attentive kitchen helper.
Rebaked and cooling on racks.
I've tried it all.  Only the best chocolate will do.
Assembly line production.  This year I have the counter space for my work!
Bonnie Biscotti are tipped, not dipped.
I bought these very nice, heavy boxes at Joann's at 40% off, way back around Halloween time.
This year I bagged some of them two-to-a-bag. 

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