A Sweet Gift: Cranberry Almond Biscotti

cranberry almond biscotti stackIt’s that time of year when you hear bakers and non-bakers alike mutter that famous line: I gotta make my Christmas cookies!

I am not one of those people.

I make a truckload of cookies the week before Thanksgiving for our annual Open House at the Farm and once that weekend is over, I’m so sugared-out that I cannot even think about cookie baking OR cookie eating.

However, for a cause such as Cookies for Kids Cancer, I’ll suffer just a little and bake up a batch.  Love and Olive Oil and The Little Kitchen have teamed up to host The 3rd Annual Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap.  I participated last year and had a blast baking, packaging, and shipping my molasses-spice cookies.  It was even more fun receiving packages of cookies from three other bloggers!  There are so many awesome recipes and fabulous bloggers out there on the web.

I received some terrific cookies already – Melissa sent a soft, chewy oatmeal cookie and the Chat Chow team sent a cute tub of chocolate oat coffee cookies.  Ali’s white chocolate salted caramel cookies are on their way here and I’m expecting deliciousness.

This year, it’s all about biscotti.  I made two different flavors for the Open House and both the anisette and the vanilla-almond flew off the tables like nobody’s business.  This made me very happy as my previous attempts at biscotti-making were less than stellar.

I took a leap and jazzed up the recipe I started with but altered, as I usually do, to include the pretty little cranberries that I had on hand.  A bit of orange extract helped push these babies over the top, and if I’d had an orange in the fridge, I would have also included some zest.

I’m hoping my biscotti arrived at their destinations and that Cari Amanda, and Jenn are enjoying them with a steaming cup of coffee or tea.

cran almond biscotti
Cranberry-Almond Biscotti
2 cups AP flour, plus more for work surface
3/4 cup sugar plus 2 teaspoons for sprinkling
2 t baking powder
1/4 t salt
3/4 c whole unblanched almonds
3/4 c dried cranberries
grated orange zest, optional
3 large eggs
2 t vanilla extract
1/2 t orange extract

Preheat oven to 350° and have ready a baking sheet lined with parchment.

In a large bowl, combine flour, 3/4 cup sugar, baking powder, salt, almonds and cranberries.  Stir together well.  In a small bowl, beat eggs and extracts together with a fork.

Stir the wet ingredients into dry using a rubber scraper – it’s easier to mush it together.  It will look like a shaggy mess that won’t ever come together, but trust me…. it will.

Turn the dough out onto a surface lightly dusted with flour.  Knead it a bit (a plastic bench scraper helps tremendously), bringing all the ingredients together.  Add some flour if you must, but be careful not to add too much.

Divide the dough into two equal pieces and roll each into a log shape about 2-inches in diameter and about 8-inches long.  Carefully transfer logs to the baking sheet and flatten to a height of 1-inch.  Sprinkle each log evenly with a teaspoon of sugar.

biscotti logscranberry almond biscotti

Bake the logs for 20-25 minutes or until tops are puffy, slightly cracked and golden brown.  Transfer logs, parchment and all, to a wire rack to cool for about an hour.  Move logs to a cutting board, and, using a serrated knife, cut each log crosswise into 1/4-inch slices.  Lay slices cut side down onto two parchment lined baking sheets and return to preheated oven for another 10-15 minutes or until barely golden and crisp.

Cool cookies on a wire rack then store in an airtight container for a week or so (if you can keep your hands out of them).

Adapted from Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food Cookie Edition.

Christmas 2013 family