Friday, October 16, 2009

Hazelnut & Dried Cherry Biscotti

Ever since I started this blog, I have wanted to post this recipe. It's one of my all time favorites (do I say that a lot??? I think I love food!). But now that it's cold, and a hot beverage sounds favorable, what goes better with it than some fresh, homemade biscotti??? It's easier than it looks, a little time consuming, but it makes a TON- great for gifts with the holidays coming up... or just to eat by yourself as you cuddle up on the couch with a good movie and a warm mug!

1/2 cup butter, at ROOM TEMP
3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1 3/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup hazelnuts, toasted & skinned
1/2 cup tart dried cherries
1 tsp grated orange zest

Preheat oven to 325. On a cookie sheet, pour 1 cup hazelnuts (I buy mine with the brown little skins on them, this will peel that skin off and toast them) and stick them in the oven. You want to stir them occasionally so they don't burn on one side, bake them for 10-20 minutes until the skin starts to crack, then remove them and put them on a cool plate, otherwise they will continue to cook on the cookie sheet. After cooling, toss them onto a clean kitchen towel, fold it in half, and roll them back and forth to get the skins to peel off, this is really easy! Now chop them up (and the cherries too) so that you are ready for them. While you are at it, bump your oven up to 350 for the biscotti and prep your cookie sheet with a piece of parchment paper.

In a large bowl with an electric mixer, cream the butter (it must be room temp, it makes a big difference compared to melting it in the micro). Add the sugar and beat until well blended. Add the eggs and beat on low speed, then add vanilla and continue on low speed until all blended. In a separate bowl, add the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon- then slowly add that to the egg mixture, beating it on low until it's all incorporated. Add the cherries, hazelnuts, and orange zest. The mixture will be really soft, so put some flour on your hands and divide your dough into two, making a log out of each one, they should be 4 inches apart, they don't spread much. Shape them into a log/loaf (you will be able to make 2 with this recipe) and put them side by side on a lined cookie sheet to bake for 25-30 minutes until they are golden. Take them out and transfer the PANS to a cooling rack for 10 minutes, then cut them on a diagonal using a serrated knife. Lay them on their sides and put them back in the oven for 10 more minutes to harden up. When they come out they will be golden brown and delicious! Let them cool and enjoy or store in an air tight container!

*Recipe taken from the Williams & Sonoma Cookies Cookbook

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