Cranberry & Orange Biscotti

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I’ve spent a solid portion of the last 11.5 months looking for Christmas cookie ideas. Before the holiday season of 2013 had even ended, I was already dreaming up what kind of treats I could bake for the next year. While the White Chocolate & Cranberry Shortbread, Spiced Ginger Cookies, and Russian Tea Cakes I made last year are crowd favorites that I will be making again, I was eager to try out some new and different recipes.

There’s a substantial list of cookies and desserts I plan on trying out this year, one of them being biscotti. I’m not entirely sure where my desire to try biscotti came from since I don’t really like biscotti that much. They’re usually loaded with almond extract or almonds (neither of which I particularly enjoy) and what’s with the texture? I can rarely tell if they’re freshly baked or stale as they can get super dry and crumbly.

While I may not be rushing to order every biscotti I see at a café, this particular recipe has definitely made me a convert. Lightness from orange zest along with tartness from dried cranberries does an exceptional job of cutting sweetness from sugar. These are crumbly and crunchy, but still manage to be light, delicate, and somewhat soft. Goldilocks would be really happy with these. Not too sweet, not too tart, not to soft, not to crunchy. Win win!

These would be perfect alongside a cup of coffee any time of the year, but they seem to work especially well during the holidays. Best of all, they’re infinitely adaptable. Add half a cup of chopped pistachios for a lovely green and red combination. Or fold in some chunks of white chocolate. Or mix in toasted chopped pecans. Or even drizzle the finished product with melted white chocolate, as the recipe this is based off of specifies.

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Cranberry and Orange Biscotti

Adapted from Epicurious

  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • 2 large eggs plus 1 egg white
  • 1 cup dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Line a heavy large baking sheet with a silicon mat or parchment paper.

Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt in medium bowl; set aside. Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or an electric hand mixer), beat sugar, orange zest, and butter for 2 minutes, or until slightly fluffy. Add one whole egg and mix until incorporated before adding the second egg. Reserve remaining egg white.

Gradually mix the flour mixture into the wet batter (add about 1/3 of the mixture at a time) and mix until just barely combined. Using a spatula, fold in cranberries by hand.

Divide dough in half, and place halves on prepared sheet tray. Using lightly floured hands, form each half into a loaf, approximately 1.5 inches high, 3 inches wide, and 7 or 8 inches long. Be sure to leave plenty of space in between, as they spread out a fair amount.

Whisk the remaining egg white until slightly frothy. Brush egg white mixture on top of each loaf. Bake for 35 minutes.

Leave loafs on the sheet pan and let cool for 30 minutes, or until mostly cooled. The cooling process helps from crumbling too much when you slice them for the second bake.

Once cooled, move loafs to a cutting board. Using a serrated knife, cut logs, diagonally, into 1/2-inch-wide slices. Arrange slices cut sides up (or down, depending on how you look at it), on the baking sheet and return to oven. Bake 15 additional minutes.

Remove from oven and let cool on sheet pan. You want to leave these to cool on the sheet pan as they’re very tender, soft, and slightly crumbly when you first take them out of the oven. Leaving on the sheet pan to cool allows them to firm and crisp up.

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