Thursday, February 26, 2015

Cranberry Pistachio Biscotti and a Virtual Baby Shower

Chewy dried cranberries lend both sweetness and tartness to these crisp Italian-style cookies and the pistachios! What can I say about the pistachios? Their color, flavor and nutty goodness elevate plain cranberry biscotti to fabulousness. 

We were so well-organized! Weeks and weeks ago, Lauren from Sew You Think You Can Cook wrote to ask if I’d like to participate in a virtual baby shower for our fellow blogger, Tara of Tara’s Multicultural Table who was expecting baby number two. The theme was going to be biscotti because it means twice cooked. You know, like second time with a bun in the oven. Pretty clever, huh? Who could resist the opportunity to make a big deal out of a second baby AND bake biscotti! Not I.

This whole thing is a surprise party for Tara, who, as far as we know, doesn’t suspect a thing. But the biggest surprise was for us, when the baby came four and a half weeks early! It’s been so hard keeping the virtual baby shower a secret when we just wanted to be shouting from the rooftops. If you follow Tara on Instagram, (and you should!) you’ve seen a picture of the little one. Adorable! Congratulations, Tara, to you and to your newly expanded family!

Now let’s bake some biscotti! I had never made them before but, I can tell you, I will certainly be making them again. My recipe was adapted from this one in The Daily Telegraph.

Ingredients for about 3 dozen biscotti
4 eggs
1 1/2 cup or 340g sugar
Zest 1 orange (I used a blood orange but any orange will do.)
4 3/4 cups or 595g flour
2 heaped teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups or 200g whole pistachios
1 1/2 cups or 200g dried cranberries
4 tablespoons melted butter

Preheat the oven to 300°F or 150°C and prepare a cookie sheet by lining it with parchment or a silicone liner.

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs with the sugar until they are glossy, turn a pale yellow and the sugar has started to dissolve.

Use a microplane or small grater to zest the orange into the egg bowl and whisk again.

Measure your flour into another bowl and add the baking powder and salt. Mix well.

Sift the flour mixture into the egg bowl and stir with a wooden spoon until you get a soft dough.

Add in the pistachios and cranberries and work them into the dough.

Divide the dough in half and roll the pieces into logs about 12-14 inches or 30-36cm long. The dough is still rather sticky so I found it easiest to wrap it in cling film and shape it by pressing on the cling film until I reached my desired size and shape.

Place the logs a few inches apart on your prepared cookie sheet and bake in the preheated oven for about 25-30 minutes. As you can see, one log is longer than the other. I decided not to care and you shouldn’t either. You want to make sure that the logs are baked completely through so, like bread, they should sounds a little hollow when tapped.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely on a wire rack. I left mine for just over an hour so I turned the oven off when I took them out.

Once the logs are completely cooled, preheat the oven to 300°F or 150°C again. Use a serrated knife to cut the logs into 1/2 inch or 1cm slices. I cut mine on an angle so that the biscotti were longer. My helper dog and I shared the end bits but I still got 36 bake-able slices.

Place your slices on cookie sheets and brush them with the melted butter.

This is the first pan and it held 25 biscotti. The second small pan held only 11.

Bake for about 10-12 minutes or until lightly golden.

Pour yourself a cup of tea or coffee and enjoy!

Are you ready for a virtual baby shower? No gifts, just lots of love and biscotti! 

Biscotti Baby Shower

Many thanks to Lauren from Sew You Think You Can Cook for organizing this virtual baby shower for Tara! Check out all the other lovely recipes that have been made in Tara’s honor!

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