Anytime Holiday Biscotti

Inspired by holiday delight that you either love or hate, this is my take on a biscotti fruitcake. If I scared you with “fruitcake,” don’t run! This delicate cookie is miles away from its distant cousin as it’s neither cakey or filled with overly sweet, dyed maraschino cherries. Instead, it calls for dried fruits that you can recognize by taste even if you’re blindfolded. It’s perfect for the holidays, but it would be a shame to make this simple recipe only once a year.

Ready for my closeup

The recipe is pretty basic, as most of mine are. You put in the ingredients you love, and leave out those you don’t. For me, that means I pack this recipe with all of my favorite flavors until I hear my inner voice telling me I have enough ingredients.

Dried cherries, dried tangerines, dried candied ginger flaky unsweetened coconut, pistachios, almonds, white chocolate chips, dark chocolate chips… these are some of the key flavors I’ve used in my biscotti.

Now onto the real recipe:

  • 1 stick of butter, melted
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons of Amaretto di Saronno
  • 1 tablespoon of quality almond extract
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla paste (you can use extract)
  • 1 to 2 cups of your favorite nuts, dried fruits, and flavors
  • 2-3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon Himalayan salt
  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • Sanding sugar or raw sugar (coarse granules)

Mix the sugar and melted butter with the Amaretto, almond extract, and vanilla paste. Make sure the mixture is not too warm as you’ll be adding in the fruits, nuts, and chocolate chips (chips could melt if the butter is too hot).

In a separate bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add to butter mixture and stir well. Add the lightly beaten eggs and mix until you have a sticky dough.

Chill dough for about half an hour in the refrigerator.

Divide dough in two equal balls and shape into two loaves about 3″ wide by 10″ long. You may want to use food-safe gloves or dampen your hands while trying to shape the sticky dough. Place on an ungreased baking sheet or a silpat mat (NOTE: I find that silpat mats keep the dough softer inside which make the loaves more likely to break when you’re transferring them to the cooling rack after the first cook).

Sprinkle sanding sugar or raw sugar on the top and sides and carefully press into the dough. For this batch with photos, I combined the two types of finishing sugars I had on hand, just because. If you like colored sugars, you could use them here as well.

Chill dough in the freezer for 5 minutes before placing in the oven.

While loaves are chilling, set the oven to 350 degrees, and bake the loaves for about 30 minutes. You want the loaves to be a beautiful golden tan (not brown) and dry on top. Remove from the oven and gently transfer the loaves to a rack to start cooling (about 10 minutes) before you will cut and bake them the second time. Be careful when taking them off the baking sheet that the loaves don’t bend or start cracking as this will make it difficult to slice. Resting them gives the ingredients time to cool and begin binding.

After about 10 minutes, use a sharp serrated knife to cut 1-inch slices on a diagonal. Since the loaves will be warm and soft, be careful during this stage. The knife needs to be clean, and you may do best by using tiny sawing movements so you don’t break up the slice. Alternately, one steady movement may also work cutting the slice. What works least is large sawing movements.

Place each slice on the baking sheet (you may need two baking sheets) and cook for 20 to 30 minutes (depending on thickness and oven temperature). Keep an eye out on your biscotti to make sure they don’t get too brown at this point.

Remove from the oven, and cool on racks. When cool, store in an airtight box with a paper towel on the bottom to absorb any moisture.

Calories? Serving size? How many does it make? LOL. I have no idea. Depends on what you put in them and how you cut them. Enjoy!