Studded with red cranberries and green pistachios, full of the holiday scent of cardamom with a sharp kick of orange, these seasonal biscotti are perfect with a morning coffee, midday tea or after dinner pick me up.
A biscotto is an Italian twice baked biscuit, crunchy, full of nuts and ideal for dipping in your espresso. Being twice baked they have a long shelf life lasting a good few months (centuries if you trust Roman philosophers), making them great bake in advance treats and gifts, Mine have survived over the seas to Canada and Japan and arrived delicious on the other side.
This is a fairly simple recipe, making it easy to adapt it for different tastes. Variations such as almond and ginger or cinnamon and pecan go down well, or for added luxury dip the biscuits in dark or white chocolate to melt into your cup of joe.
Step 1: Ingredients and Equipment
- 250 g sugar
- 2 eggs
- 280 g plain flour
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 100 g dried cranberries
- 100 g pistachios
- 10 cardamom pods
- 1/2 tsp vanilla essence
- 1 orange
- bowls, spoons & knives etc. general kitchen equipment
- bread knife
- fine grater
- mortar & pestle/large rolling pin
- electric whisk(can be done without but it'll save you a lot of effort)
- baking trays & parchment
For anyone without scales, a good weight to volume conversion guide can be found here.
Step 2: Flavourings
Preheat your oven to 175 C (350 F/Gas Mark 4).
First, prepare the biscotti flavourings. Open up the cardamom pods and extract the seeds into a bowl and bash/grind them up with a rolling pin. If you're lucky enough to have a pestle and mortar or spice grinder handy it will make this a whole lot easier.
Take the orange and finely grate the zest into the bowl with the cardamom.
Weigh the cranberries and pistachios out and put them aside.
Step 3: Beat It
To make the biscuit dough, put the sugar and eggs into a large bowl.
With electric beaters or a whisk & a lot of elbow grease beat them together until pale & thick. This can take up to 5 minutes.
Step 4: Add the Rest
Sift the flour and baking powder onto the egg & sugar mix, and then add the cranberries, pistachio, orange, vanilla and cardamom.
Use a flat bladed knife or spatula and a cutting motion to bring the mixture together into a soft dough.
Step 5: First Bake
Turn the dough out onto a floured chopping board or work surface and knead it a little until it comes together and the berries and nuts seem evenly dispersed.
Divide the dough into two halves, and shape each into a long thin log, around 20 cm long
Place each log on a lined baking tray, and bake in the oven for about 40 minutes.
Remove from the oven and leave on a rack to cool.
Step 6: Second Bake
Once the logs have cooled completely, take a bread knife and slice each one into pieces about a centimetre thick. To get the distinctive oval shape of biscotti slice the logs on the diagonal.
Place the slices back on the baking trays and bake for ten minutes, then flip the biscotti over and bake for a further ten minutes to brown lightly on both sides.
Remove the trays from the oven and move the biscotti to a rack to cool.
Step 7: The Finished Product
All you need to do now is make a good cup of coffee and settle in to eat.
Being twice baked, biscotti are a long lasting biscuit. Kept in an air tight container they will last for a good few months, which makes them a great gift to bake in advance or send overseas.
Wrap a few up in cellophane or baking paper, tie the parcel with some pretty ribbon and give them a hand written tag as a gorgeous christmas/new year/holiday/thank you/just thinking of you present sure to pep up someone's day.