Cranberry-White Chocolate Almond Biscotti

I came up with these biscotti well over a year ago and have been making them on a fairly regular basis (well, as regular as biscotti baking can be), yet they have never graced the good ol’ site here. I’ll chalk that up to them disappearing so fast when I actually do make them! They are by far the favorite among my family and friends. They are always the first to go when there are different batches of biscotti to choose from and especially around the holidays, that’s a lot. I mean, there are your plain biscotti for the less adventurous, a more classic anise biscotti, and a savory Parmesan-Black Pepper biscotti, and countless other variations. So as you can see, for a biscotti-loving clan, no compliment could be greater than to actually proclaim a favorite. When my cousin got married last November and I was asked to bake some biscotti for the cookie table, I thought for sure that the Chocolate-Pistachio Biscotti would steal the show. Oh, how wrong I was. My grandma came over wanting to know where the almond cranberry biscotti were, so she could make sure to get some before they were snatched up. I was certain that my Chief Culinary Consultant, who absolutely loves pistachios, would much prefer the chocolate-pistachio variation. Wrong yet again! He thought these were far superior. So there you have it – the true test of a cookie’s worth can be summed up by its popularity at the wedding cookie table and the holiday buffet.

By the way, have you heard of cookie tables at weddings? It seems to be a very regional, Pittsburgh-based tradition which I talked about in the Chocolate-Pistachio Biscotti post. About a month later a story about cookie tables was written in the New York Times; it’s an interesting read, and I encourage you to hop on over and give it a glance!

I have taken to using this recipe as the base for many biscotti variations that I have tested out, and it always stands up well to whatever add-ins and flavors I decide to throw together. Over the holidays I concocted orange-infused biscotti filled with dried dates and walnuts. Mmmm… I need to whip those up again so I can share them with you! As you can see, the recipe is very versatile and you can use it to adapt to whatever flavors you might be feeling at the moment. If made for a holiday or special occasion, these are especially attractive with a drizzle of white chocolate on top.

The biggest tip I have for this recipe is to make sure that, after soaking the cranberries, you drain them well and pat them dry. If they have a lot of excess moisture, it will release during the baking process and cause your biscotti to have too much moisture and not set up quite as properly.

Do you have any regional wedding traditions where you live, like the cookie table?

One year ago: Classic Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
Two years ago: Spaghetti & Meatballs

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Cranberry-White Chocolate Almond Biscotti

Ingredients:

½ cup dried cranberries

½ cup boiling water

3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

2 teaspoons baking powder

¼ teaspoon salt

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature

1 cup granulated sugar, plus more for sprinkling

3 large eggs, plus 1 large egg, lightly beaten

1½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1½ teaspoons almond extract

½ cup white chocolate chips


Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside. Place cranberries in a small bowl, and add boiling water. Let stand until plump, about 15 minutes. Drain, pat dry, and set aside. Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl; set aside.


2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add 3 eggs, one at a time, beating to incorporate after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in vanilla and almond extracts. Add teh flour mixture, and mix on low speed until combined. Mix in the drained cranberries and the white chocolate chips.


3. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface; divide in half. Shape each piece into a 16-by-2-inch log, and transfer to prepared baking sheet, about 3 inches apart. With the palm of your hand, flatten logs slightly. Brush beaten egg over the surface of the dough logs, and sprinkle generously with sugar.


4. Bake, rotating sheet halfway through, until logs are slightly firm to the touch, about 25 minutes. Transfer logs on parchment paper to a wire rack to cool slightly, about 20 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 300°F.


5. Place logs on a cutting board. Using a serrated knife, cut the logs crosswise on the diagonal into ½-inch-thick slices. Place a wire rack on a large rimmed baking sheet. Arrange slices, cut sides down, on the rack. Bake until firm to the touch, about 30 minutes. Remove pan from oven; let biscotti cool completely on the rack. Biscotti can be kept in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.


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(Adapted from Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook)


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