Cranberry Pecan Biscotti

biscotti

I once entered a contest for a free set of measuring cups.  We had to write an entry telling why we felt we deserved to win a new set of measuring cups.  I wrote in that my measuring cups “looked worse than the federal budget.”  It must have hit a nerve with someone, because I won.

To be fair, I do use my measuring cups hard– almost every day they are out there, working hard for their keep. 

Sadly, the other day, my “winning” measuring cup measure broke.  Sniff, sniff.  I can’t bear to throw it away, so for now, its faithful body sits, in a retirement stage, in my drawer.  I fondly call it an “extra.”  The truth is that I hate to turn a faithful friend like that– who has been with me through baking disasters and triumphs– into the trash bin.  It doesn’t seem like a fitting end. Yes.  I’m sentimental.  About measuring cups.  Oh well.

Anyhoo . . . I got some new cups to replace, er . . . help out the old ones, and I thought, what better way to commemorate my second set of measuring cups than a recipe that means, literally “twice baked.”

These little beauties are fantastic with a hot cup of coffee or tea . . . since they are nice and crunchy, they hold up well to taking multiple dips into your drink.  You can also have a leisurely snack and nibble away at them.  A nice crunchy snack will keep you busy for a while.  They also keep just fine for several weeks– in fact, it improves their flavor– and they freeze beautifully.  You can package these in cellophane treat bags and place in Christmas gifts along with some gourmet coffee.  Maybe even drizzle them with a little white chocolate or sprinkle with nuts.  You just can’t go wrong with these little beauties.

What are we waiting for?  Let’s do this!

Cranberry Pecan Biscotti (adapted by me from allrecipes.com)
Ingredients:

1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil
3/4 cup white sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. almond extract
2 eggs
1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 cups add-ins of choice (I am using a mixture of craisins, chopped pecans, and a few white chocolate chips).

Directions:  Mix the oil, sugar, and extracts together until well blended.  Add eggs and beat until mixed well.  Slowly add in dry ingredients until dough is velvety.  Stir in add-ins.  Roll into plastic-wrap covered logs and freeze for 5-10 minutes, until set.  Bake at 325 for 30 minutes or until the logs are just starting to turn brown.  Remove from the baking sheets and slice into 1/2 inch slices, using an electric knife.  Place slices back on baking sheets and bake at 350 for 10-15 minutes until slices are golden brown.  Allow to cool completely before packaging or drizzling with chocolate or nuts.

Now, in pictures!  🙂
Mix together your oil, sugar, and extracts.
Add the eggs and beat well.
Slowly add your dry ingredients.  Your dough should look very soft and velvety– like this.  If you pull your spoon out of the dough, it will stream down in shiny ribbons.
Stir in your add-ins.  This time, I chose oven-roasted pecans and plain craisins.  To toast nuts in the oven, just place them in a single layer on a cookie sheet (no cooking spray necessary) and bake for about 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, stir the nuts and bake for 3-4 more minutes.  You can tell the nuts are toasted when they smell very delicious and fragrant, and the taste is nutty and awesome.  Toasting nuts is a great way to add a big kick of flavor to any recipe with hardly any extra work.
To make rolling the biscotti into a log easier, I place a sheet of plastic wrap on the counter, and then scoop lumps of the dough in a line.  When you have about half the dough in the log, roll it up in the plastic wrap.
Kind of squish the dough together into a log.  Trust me.  This step is so much easier with all that goo encased in plastic.



Place the logs in the freezer for roughly 5-10 minutes– just enough that they are starting to harden but aren’t frozen, yet.  You want to make them just stiff enough that they don’t stick or spread everywhere when you dump them onto the baking sheets.



Unroll the logs onto your baking sheet and silpat or parchment, and bake at 325 for roughly 30 minutes, or until biscotti log is starting to look golden.


When the biscotti logs are golden, remove them from the oven and place the logs on a cutting board.  Lightly mist the tops with water to keep the slices from crumbling.  And here is the key . . . use an electric knife.  This makes absolutely the easiest and cleanest slices.  If you slice on a diagonal, it looks pretty and makes the slices (especially the end slices) longer.  It also helps to mist the top of the loaf with water, to cut down on crumbling while you’re trying to cut nice and neat slices.

Look at those gorgeous slices.  Sigh.  Now, place them flat side down on the baking sheets and put them back in the oven! 🙂  This is where the twice baked part comes in.  Plus, you get to smell amazing cookies for twice as long.  Score.
These are the biscotti slices pre bake . . . and the picture below is post bake.
You can see that the slices look very similar.  The way you know when they are finished is that the bottoms touching the sheet will be deliciously golden brown.  The tops will be a little more brown, also.  This should take about 10-15 minutes of baking at 350.  When the slices are baked for the second time, you can let them cool on baking sheets until you’re ready to package them or . . . ahem, taste one . . . or two.  Or three . . . I won’t judge.

Beautiful Biscotti


These make gorgeous Christmas gifts for coworkers– pair with some hot cocoa, tea, or coffee, and maybe a festive mug, and you have an awesome gift.

biscotti 3

They also make a great “thinking snack.”  I always find that I do my best thinking while gnawing.  I know I can’t be the only one 😉

You did it.  And I’m just so proud of you.




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