Sunday, April 26, 2009

Cranberry-Pistachio Biscotti

Before I became obsessed with the food network, cookbooks, and all things culinary, Costco served as my "matchmaker" to a world of fabulous food. Case in point - biscotti. My first encounter with biscotti happened when Costco began selling Nonnis Biscotti - hard, nut-studded, chocolate covered spears of baked goodness individually packaged and sold in large plastic tubs. I would swirl my white chocolate covered biscotti into a Winnie-the-Pooh mug of hot chocolate before going to bed. Between my big sister and I (who LOVED them), my mother couldn't keep enough of these cookies around!

While my love affair with Costco continues, I haven't bought a tub of Nonni's Biscotti in ages - out of fear that I'll devour then all. I've read a gazillion biscotti recipes and always had intentions to make them. But for some reason or another, I never made them until last night.

This recipe is adapted from the Almond Biscotti recipe in the America's Test Kitchen Family Baking Book. I substituted pistachios and added cranberries to the batter. The only thing I can think of making them better - dipping them in white chocolate. But I'll save that step from when my sister comes over. And may I also add, these are the perfect companion to your afternoon cappuccino (delightfully made in my Mukka Express).

Cranberry Pistachio Biscotti

2 cups (10 ounces) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup (7 ounces) sugar
2 large eggs
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cups (3 3/4 ounces) pistachios, chopped coarse
3/4 cups dried cranberries
2 tablespoons grated fresh orange zest
  1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a medium bowl.
  2. In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar together using an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 6 minutes. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then the vanilla extract until combined, about 30 seconds, scraping down the bowl and beaters as needed.
  3. Reduce the mixer speed to low and slowly mix in the flour mixture until combined, about 30 seconds. Mix in the pistachios, cranberries, and zest until just incorporated.
  4. Press the dough into two 13 by 2-inch loaves on the prepared baking sheet, spaced about 3 inches apart. Bake the loaves until golden and just beginning to crack on top, about 35 minutes, rotating the baking sheet halfway through baking.
  5. Let the loaves cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes. Lower the oven temperature to 325 degrees.
  6. Transfer the loaves to a cutting board and slice each on the diagonal to 1/2 inch thick slices with a serrated knife. Lay the slices about 1/2 inch apart on the baking sheet and bake until crisp and golden brown on both sides, about 15 minutes, flipping the slices over halfway through baking. Transfer the biscotti to a wire rack and let cool completely before serving, about 1 hour.