Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Cranberry Almond Biscotti

Whenever I find myself in a coffee shop, my eyes always immediately b-line for the biscotti. Coffee is the elixir of life and anything that can accompany it, is a.OK in my book! So when I recently flipped through a new cookbook and found a recipe for biscotti I knew what I had to do.

I made this biscotti for a good friend of mine who just happens to be completing his PhD at Michigan State University..yeah, he's a pretty smart guy. During grad school Jed lived right across the street and one summer we began a morning routine: I would wake up to the Georgia sun, walk across the street to enjoy a good cup of coffee, some possible baked good (courtesy of moi) and watch a few hours of CMT. We literally did this every morning and it has become one of those things I miss most about Georgia and Jed, of course. So even though Jed and I are miles apart,  I wanted to make him something that would go well with his morning cup of coffee.

Like I said before, this new cook book of mine is awesome: The Craft of Baking by Karen DeMasco and Mindy Fox. The cool thing about this book is that it's not just straight recipe after recipe, but instead Karen offers tips and advice in building your own craft with ideas of how to make each recipe your own with new additions. And that is exactly what I did. I went with Karen's Cherry Anise Biscotti, but since I didn't have any anise or cherries on hand, I made Cranberry Almond Biscotti.

A little disclaimer: these cookies require a pretty decent baking time, so they're not something to make if you're short on time.

Cranberry Almond Biscotti
Adapted from Karen DeMasco's The Craft of Baking
Yields about 3 dozen

1 cup almonds, roughly chopped (or you can cheat like did and use the pre-sliced ones)
1 cup sugar
1 stick butter
2 eggs
1 1/2 cup AP flour
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 350.
Spread almond on parchment paper lined baking sheet and toast in the oven until lightly brown and fragrant. After about 5 minutes remove from oven and place on wire rack to cool.
Combine sugar and butter, beat until no butter pieces are visible.
Add eggs, one at a time.
In another bowl, whisk together flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt. Slowly add in dry mixture for wet mixture until combined.
Add almonds and cranberries and beat just till incorporated.

Place dough on lightly floured surface and divide in half. Shape each portion into a log and transfer to baking sheet. 
Bake about 25 minutes, or until logs are golden brown and firm to the touch. Transfer to wire rack and cool for about 5 minutes. While cooling, reduce over temperature to 250 degrees.
On a cutting board, place logs and cut on a diagonal into 1/3 inch thick slices. Arrange slices of biscotti, cut side up and bake for another hour. At this point the slices should be dry and firm to the touch. Remove and cool completely.

Happy Baking! :)