Hazelnut and Dried Cherry Biscotti with Orange and Cardamom

BISCOTTI 1 EDIT

It feels good to sit down.

I’m taking a minute for myself. Elf is playing on the television, my (turquoise-themed) Christmas tree is twinkling in the background, and my cat is snuggled up next to me. It’s been a busy month, and I’ve not had many moments to myself recently. I blinked, and before I knew it my December schedule was filled with meetings, holiday parties, food swaps, catering gigs, meetings, baking, cooking, crafting, and so much more.

To be honest, I sort of love the hustle and bustle of it all. I’m the queen of overcommitment and I’m always busy, busy, busy. But, that gets old quickly. In fact, it’s downright exhausting. I have to remind myself to slow down, and to take things one day at a time. I desperately want to enjoy this holiday season, and the only obstacle standing in the way of a peaceful and restful holiday is me.

But, I’m working on it. Baby steps. Tonight, I snuggled with my cat and watched Elf and all felt right.

And the cherry hazelnut biscotti? They were part of my holiday stress-reducing plan. I needed something to bring to the PDX Winter Food Swap and I needed a treat to bring to a holiday party. So I made a double batch of biscotti and I killed two birds with one stone. The biscotti were an absolute hit at each event (i.e. they disappeared quickly), they were easy to make, and they crossed two things off my to-do list. Huzzah!

I’d like to say thank you (yet again) to my sister, Danielle, for baking with me. We baked the biscotti together while her baby and my bunny played together on the kitchen floor (and made a giant – but adorable – mess). Baking is so much better with company (if I do say so myself)…

DRIED CHERRY & HAZELNUT BISCOTTI (WITH ORANGE AND CARDAMOM)
Adapted from Williams Sonoma

Note: This recipe could easily be adapted to include various dried fruits and nuts (cranberries, blueberries, dates, pistachios, almonds, pecans, etc), I just used what I had on hand. And, of course, I decided to dip each biscotti in dark chocolate…because it seemed like the right thing to do.

Ingredients:
8 Tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup white sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup hazelnuts, toasted and roughly chopped
1/2 cup dried bing cherries, coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
12 oz. (1 bag) dark chocolate chips (I used extra dark, 60% cacao from Ghiradelli)

Method:
Preheat an oven to 350°F. Line one large baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer (or in the bowl of a stand mixer), beat butter on high speedy, until fluffy (1-2 minutes). Add in the sugar, and continue beating until well combined. Reduce the speed to low, and add in the eggs one at a time. Mix until blended, and then mix in the vanilla.

In a large bowl, sift together dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, cardamom and salt. Gradually add the flour mixture to the egg mixture and beat on low speed or stir with a wooden spoon just until incorporated. Gently stir in the hazelnuts, cherries and orange zest until evenly distributed. The dough should be very soft.

Turn the dough out onto a generously floured work surface and divide in half. With well-floured hands, transfer one-half onto one side of the lined baking sheet and shape into a log about 12″ long and 1.5 inches wide. Repeat with the remaining dough on the other side of the sheet, leaving at least 4 inches between the logs.

Bake the biscotti until the edges are golden, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes. Gently (and carefully) transfer the biscotti “logs” to a flat surface. Using a serrated knife, cut off slices of biscotti (1/2 inch wide). Place biscotti pieces on the baking sheet (on their side) and bake for 10 minutes more, or until golden. Remove from oven and allow to cool on wire racks.

Optional: Once the cookies have cooled, melt the chocolate chips, using a double boiler. (You could always try the microwave to melt the chocolate, but you can easily overcook the chocolate and then it becomes gritty and gross. I prefer the double boiler method.) Dip each biscotti in the chocolate, coating 1/4 to 1/2 of the cookie (I just like to coat the tip of the biscotti, so I dip it 1/4 of the way in the chocolate). Carefully place each biscotti on a piece of parchment or wax paper, and allow to cool.

Store biscotti in an airtight container. Makes about 2 dozen biscotti.

A photo of my biscotti at the PDX Winter Handmade Food Swap

15 Responses

  1. Love this. I especially love the simple, fat red yarn. No over-the-top ‘Martha’ whoop-de-doo about it; just good food. I have a recipe for biscotti from my maternal Grandmother I’ve thought to try making gluten free. You may have motivated me to finally do it. Always feels so cozy and warm to visit your blog my friend.

  2. Wish I could have made it to the swap! I didn’t even know about it. I would snatch up a whole bunch of the orange cardamoms if I could.

  3. Bakeware says:

    I’ve never been to a recipe swap in my life! How fun that must be and a great way to find some tasty recipes. I tend to over do things and I’ll get burned out on my favorite dishes.

    The biscotti would be marvelous in a holiday celo bag with coffee then inserted in a coffee mug. What a wonderful hostess gift idea you’ve just given me!

  4. Kelsey says:

    I’ve made these before and they are SOOOOO good. Yours look beautiful!

  5. Kelsey says:

    Bunnies and Babies.. That sounds like a killer kitchen party. So glad you’re making time for you in the rush of it all. I know the high of being busy, but without a minute to savor every now and then, it can knock your socks off. I love the cardamom here, biscotti are the best this time of year. I’m quite envious of your PDX food swap, I wish we had something substantial in SD like that. Maybe when we move to Colorado we’ll jump in.

  6. Kim Bee says:

    These are so gorgeous. I love the cherry with the hazelnut. I’ve never made biscotti but it’s on the agenda for this weekend. The pictures and presentation of these is perfect. Simple and elegant. I love the movie Elf, it just makes me giggle like a school girl. When they run through the revolving doors I always end up in hysterics as me and my brothers did that on a trip out west. Much to the horror of my parents. We also got in the elevator and pushed all the buttons then hopped out. Yup, I was unruly!

  7. sarah says:

    oh man- december can be totally overwhelming but i sort of like the hustle and bustle too. glad you found a moment to yourself. these biscotti are gorgeous! and they have all my favorites flavors!

  8. Alyssa says:

    I love that biscotti can lend its self to so many different flavors. I really love the flavor combinaitons you’ve chosen. I’m the same way, I over commit and then just look forward to a moment of peace!

  9. German Mama says:

    These look great. I haven’t done any holiday baking (yet) but these yummy treats make me want to start.

  10. Kiri W. says:

    Mmmm, I adore hazelnut biscotti, and the cardamom sounds like such an interesting way to spice them! They came out perfectly pretty, too!

  11. I love biscotti! Such a great treat!

  12. These biscotti look and sound divine. I love the addition of cardamom and orange. Must be heavenly.

  13. Gorgeous gorgeous GORGEOUS! I’ve made batches of biscotti lately and never thought of dipping them in chocolate for some INSANE reason! Cheers to baby steps and taking time off. I’m also an insane over-doer and today for the first time in probably a YEAR took the ENTIRE day off!! Yay!

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