In my never-ending quest to create new recipes to please my family and my readers, I rarely follow a published recipe to a “t”. Instead I create, tweak and spin recipes to my taste, reading cookbooks and magazines for inspiration then casting them aside while I let my thoughts simmer and stew until a wisp of the season, a sudden craving or an irresistable market item presents itself as motivation. Except for these biscotti.
This recipe is nearly a direct re-production of a recipe from Bon Appetit. It follows the recipe almost to the “t”, and then a change I made was not my idea at all, but the idea of my friend, Pam, who brought these cookies to our annual Summer Solstice beach barbecue this summer. I knew I was in trouble when I found myself walking around the beach munching on 2 fistfuls of these cookies before we even started grilling.
These biscotti have everything that I like in a cookie: fruit, nuts, a restrained sweetness, and the perfume from orange zest. Pam’s idea was not to fully bake them to enamel-cracking crispness. Instead they were baked to a wonderful crumbly perfection, which begged for more tasting without breaking my teeth, enabling further eating – to which I happily complied.
Makes approximately 30 biscotti
1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup old fashioned oats
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
Zest from one orange
2 teaspoons lemon zest
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup dried cherries, coarsely chopped
1 cup unsalted, shelled pistachios
Preheat oven to 350 F. (180 C.) Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Combine the first 6 ingredients in the bowl of an electric mixer with a paddle. Blend on low speed, 30 seconds. Whisk eggs, oil, zest, vanilla and almond extracts together in a separate bowl. Add the wet ingredients to the flour. Beat on medium speed until combined, 1 minute. Stir in cherries and pistachios.
Divide dough in half. Shape each dough half into a 16 inch log. Arrange on a baking sheet, spaced 5 inches apart. Flatten each log into a 2 inch wide strip. Bake until golden brown and set, about 30 minutes. Remove from oven and transfer to a rack. Cool 15 minutes.
Reduce oven to 250 F. (125 C.) Transfer biscotti to a cutting board. Cut in 3/4 inch strips with a serrated knife. Return biscotti to the baking sheet and arrange cut side down. Bake until firm and golden, 25 minutes. Remove from oven and cool completely on racks.
Biscotti may be made up to 3 days in advance. Store at room temperature in an airtight container.