Sunday, December 04, 2011

Cranberry Hazelnut Biscotti




I don't have many memories of my Dutch Oma as she passed away when I was a little girl, but she did teach me to dunk cookies in coffee. I still love cookies that dunk well, in either tea or coffee.



For those of us of the Scandinavian persuasion, toasted hazelnuts and cardamon just smell like Christmas. This recipe is adapted from Johanna Burkhard's 400 Best Comfort Food Recipes, probably my favourite cookbook ever.

Here is a printable copy of Cranberry Hazelnut Biscotti.

 ½ cup butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar, packed
2 eggs
2 ⅓ cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground allspice
¼ - ½ teaspoon ground cardamon
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup dried cranberries
¾ cup hazelnuts



Start off by toasting and skinning the hazelnuts. I used a parchment lined rimmed baking sheet. The parchment makes it easy to transfer them to the dishtowel and not have them skitter all over the kitchen floor. You will use the same parchment to bake the biscotti. The hazelnuts didn't skin nearly as well as I hoped. If anyone has a method that works well, let me know. Why we can't buy them already skinned like you can in Denmark? Next time I will try toasting them a bit longer, perhaps at a higher temperature. Roast them at 350F, I used convection at that same temp, for 10-13 minutes until they are golden. Place them in a clean dishtowel (but an old "camper" towel because the hazelnuts will stain) and rub them briskly. Ideally you will have naked hazelnuts and a pile of skins in the towel. Feed the skins to the birds - they love them better than black sunflower seeds!


After toasting, before skinning
Skinned, sort of 


Chop the hazelnuts coarsely. I use a Pampered Chef chopper, about 5-7 chops. The biscotti are rustic so don't worry about the skins or chopping them evenly.

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, spices, salt and salt in a small bowl. Set it aside. The cardamon reminds me of the Swedish Bakery of my childhood. Mmm!



In a mixer, cream the butter and brown sugar until fluffy. Add the eggs and mix until combined. Add the flour mixture and mix well. Fold in the cranberries and hazelnuts. The dough will be quite thick.


Divide the dough into two equal portions. Pat each portion into a log about 2" wide and 12" long. Place the dough logs on the parchment a few inches apart.


The dough is thick and easy to form
Patting into shape
Ready for the first baking



Bake at 325F (again, I used convection at the same temp) for 20-25 minutes until firm and slightly golden. Remove from oven and let them cool for about 10 minutes, just long enough so you don't burn your fingers in the next step. Move them to a cutting board with a long spatula. I just picked them up. One log stayed intact, one broke but I just started slicing at that spot. Use a serrated knife to cut them into 1/2" slices. Put the piece back on the baking sheet, leaving about 1/2" space between them and bake for an additional 15-20 minutes until dry and lightly browned.


Cutting the biscotti into 1/2" slices
Ready for the second baking
Cooling on a rack


Time to make some coffee! Or tea.







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