Cranberry-Almond biscotti

We are a family that loves all things sweet. While others experiment with cuisines of other countries, I explore the desserts.

I’m endlessly fascinated with the history of food. How ingredients travelled with conquering armies and sea-faring explorers. How sailors carried lemons to ward off scurvy and merchants brought with them nutmeg and mace and changed the face of cooking.

How the humble potato and tangy tomato crossed the Atlantic to become beloved staples in the diet of all the world. (What’s not to love about potatoes!)

Anyway I digress- this is a post about biscotti and not potatoes. Lots of similarities though. One Italian, and the other brought back by an Italian- Columbus.

As I said before, we are a sweet loving family. And when we came to the realization that we needed a new wardrobe what with all the baking I was doing, I cast about for a low fat, quick to make cookie that would satisfy our taste buds. While at the same time prevent the weight from piling on.

Was I successful? I honestly can’t answer that question. I did find a great recipe that I adapted to make pretty lo-cal. But we eat it by the bucket load and that completely defeats the purpose!

My biscotti is so yummy that we finish the entire lot in one sitting. I’ve experimented with a basic recipe and come up with so many delectable variations, and so can you. Just let your imagination soar!

I used this recipe from King Arthur Flour and made some variations to make it healthier.

5 tablespoons melted butter vegetable oil, start with 3-4 tbsps
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
3 to 4 drops Fiori Di Sicilia, optional Don’t have it, don’t use it
2 teaspoons almond extract
2 large eggs
1 cup All-Purpose Flour, I sometimes need another 1/2 cup of flour
3/4 cup semolina flour
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup chopped almonds

Preheat the oven to 180°C, and line a large baking sheet with baking parchment. Stir together the melted butter oil, sugar, salt, and baking powder. Beat in the almond extract, then the eggs. Blend in the flours, (adding the additional 1/2 cup if required), cranberries, and nuts; the dough will be stiff. Place onto the baking sheet, patting it into a flattened log about 10 1/2 by 4-inch.

Bake the biscotti dough for 30 to 35 minutes, remove from the oven, and cool for 20 minutes. Slice on the diagonal into 1/2 to 3/4-inch-thick pieces. Place them back on the baking sheet, standing them on edge if you can; this will ensure they bake evenly.

Reduce the oven temperature to 160°C and bake for 22 to 26 minutes, until golden. Remove from the oven, and allow to cool on the baking sheet; biscotti will become crisp as they cool. Store airtight. Yield: about 1 1/2 dozen 5 to 6-inch biscotti.

Variations:

  • Use 2-3 tbsps of aniseed roughly crushed, as a flavouring
  • Substitute the cranberries for dried cherries, dates or apricots
  • Substitute the almond for macadamia nuts or pistachio
  • Add a tsp of red chilli powder for a hot and sweet variation

Enjoy your biscotti with or without a cup of tea. It’s addictive!

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