Mrs. Regueiro's Plate: Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies & Treats: Day 9

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies & Treats: Day 9

I was getting a bit of a chocolate and sugar overload from the last batch of cookies that I have been making, and I wanted something a little bit different from the usual chocolate chip or sugar cookie recipe.  I have been wanting to make biscotti for quite some time, but there were too many typical flavor combinations with chocolate that were coming up in my search. When I came across this recipe from Kelsey's blog (Apple a Day ) from her list of Twelve Days of Christmas cookies - I instantly knew this would a great addition. Plus, I had all the ingredients already in my pantry except the dried cherries. (Yipee!)

If you think that biscotti is not your type of cookie because it's too hard to bite into and you might break a tooth while enjoying it - this is the recipe to try out. The store-bought versions are too crunchy and need to be dunked in coffee so you can truly enjoy them. Freshly made biscotti is the way to go. They are crunchy almost like a fortune cookie, and still soft and chewy from the dried cherries on the inside and will not put you in chocolate sugar coma either. These biscotti came together rather quickly and was easy to prepare, and you can easily substitute the dried cherries for dried cranberries if you can't find them at the grocery store.
Hazelnut and Dried Cherry Biscotti
Adapted from Apple a Day
Printable Recipe
8 Tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup hazelnuts, toasted, skinned and coarsely chopped
3/4 cup dried tart cherries, coarsely chopped
zest of one orange

Preheat an oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease and flour 1 large baking sheet or line it with parchment paper or silpat baking mat. Have another ungreased baking sheet ready to use.

In the bowl of the stand mixer, cream the butter on high speed until fluffy and pale yellow. Add the sugar and continue to mix until it is creamy and no longer gritty when rubbed between your finger and thumb. Reduce the speed to low and add the eggs one at a time until fully combined. Add in the vanilla and mix until fully combined.

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients on low speed until fully combined. Stir in the hazelnuts, cherries and orange zest and mix to combine.

Turn the batter out onto a generously floured work surface and split it in half. With well-floured hands, transfer one-half onto the greased baking sheet and carefully shape into a log about 12 inches long and 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Place on the far right of the baking sheet and repeat with the remaining dough and place the other half on the left side. Make sure the two logs are at least 4 inches away from each other.

Bake the dough for 25 to 30 minutes or until the edges are golden. Remove the sheet from the oven and place the logs on the wire rack. Let them cool for 10 minutes.

Using a serrated knife, cut the logs in the diagonal into slices about 1/2 inch wide. Place them back on the baking sheet on their sides, and return them to the oven. If you run out of space on the baking sheet, place the remaining on the other baking sheet.

Bake for an additional 10 minutes or until the sides are golden brown. Let the biscotti cool completely on the wire racks. Store in an airtight container.

Yield: 3 to 4 dozen.
Review: I absolutely loved them. Plus, I couldn't stop eating the broken bits after I had sliced a few - the combination of hazelnuts and cherries is delicious. The hint of orange zest gives a bit of citrusy boost and looks beautiful in the dough, too. You could dip the biscotti in melted chocolate for the extra wow factor and place them in little goodie bags as giveaways. I would eat them all day long if I could with a hot cup of coffee or hot chocolate. Next time, I'll make a double batch because these disappeared too quickly from my kitchen!

Day 8: Spritz Cookies
Day 7: S'mores Cookies
Day 6: Andes Peppermint Crunch Cookies
Day 5: Gingerbread "Army Men" Cookies
Day 4: Chocolate Chip M&M Cookies
Day 3: Shortbread Almond Cookies with Guava
Day 2: Chocolate Toffee Cookies
Day 1: Cookies in a Jar

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