Biscotti is one of my favorite treats. I try not to make it too often because, for me, biscotti can be not only dessert but also breakfast and while I *know* better than to eat this in the morning, I sometimes can't resist. If you've never had homemade biscotti, it is nothing like what you get in most coffee shops or the grocery store. Its a nice way to end a meal with a cup of coffee and it makes a great gift.
My two go-to biscotti recipes are from Alexandra Cooks: Vanilla-Almond Biscotti and Chocolate Biscotti. Both are delicious and the recipes are fail-proof... but the gorgeous photo of the Pistachio and Dried Cherry Biscotti in this month's Bon Appétit drew me in. I ordered my unsalted, shelled pistachios and dried Rainier cherries from Nuts Online (an excellent source for all sorts of delicious dried fruit and nuts and mochi) and baked away!
"Biscotti" in the Italian language is the plural form of biscotto; the word originates from the medieval Latin work biscoctus, which means "twice-cooked / baked". True to its name, this is baked twice - first you bake the logs and then you slice the logs and bake them again to dry out the cookie/biscuit. You can control how dry the biscotti are by decreasing the baking time. So, if you prefer your biscotti moist and more cookie-like, decreasing the second baking time.
Unfortunately, as written the Bon Appétit recipe does not quite work. Once I combined the ingredients as instructed, the mixture was too dry and not cohesive. I added an extra egg and another tablespoon of vegetable oil to compensate for this, as well as decreased the amount of sugar. My yield was more like two dozen rather than four dozen and these are not large biscotti. But.... they are tasty! The giant pistachios and cherries are a delicious combination. Is it breakfast time?
Pistachio and Dried Cherry Biscotti
(adapted from the May 2011 Bon Appétit)
Preheat oven to 350°. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Combine first 6 ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle. Blend on low speed for 30 seconds. Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, whisk together eggs and next 5 ingredients. Add egg mixture to flour mixture; beat on low speed until combined, about 1 1/2 minutes. Fold in cherries and pistachios.
Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface; divide in half. Using floured hands, shape each dough half into a 12"-long log. Brush off excess flour; transfer logs to prepared sheet, spaced 5" apart. Flatten each log into a 2"-wide strip. Bake, rotating sheet halfway through, until browned and set, about 30 minutes. Transfer to a rack; let cool for 15 minutes. Reduce oven to 250°. Transfer biscotti to a work surface. Using a serrated knife, cut each strip diagonally into 2/3"-thick slices. Arrange slices, cut side down, on baking sheets.
Bake biscotti, rotating baking sheets halfway through, until crisp, about 35 minutes (less if you prefer your biscotti less crisp). Transfer baking sheets to racks; let cool. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.