I love biscotti as an afternoon or after dinner snack, especially with a latte or a glass of almond milk. I went through a phase when I lived in New York where I ate biscotti on pretty much a daily basis. Trader Joe’s makes a tasty chocolate dipped variety, and almost every coffee shop sells biscotti. But I had never made my own until this weekend.
Biscotti are twice-baked cookies. If you sample them after the first phase of baking, they taste just like a typical crunchy on the outside, chewy on the inside cookie. The second phase of baking makes them super crunchy and perfect for dipping.
As part of my New Year’s Resolution to learn more about the ingredients I use, my first rule is “no assumptions.” I will not assume I know about an ingredient, but rather, I will research all key ingredients to really learn about them.
For example, I know that pistachios are those little green nuts that typically come in shells (unless you have bulk bins that sell them already shelled!), and are lower in fat than other nuts. But how do they grow? What vitamins and minerals do they contain?
Pistachio: Cultivated in California, Turkey, Italy, and Iran, pistachios are an important culinary nut that has been used for thousands of years, as far back as 6750 BC. In the U.S, pistachios have been cultivated as a commercial crop since the 1930s. The pistachio nuts we eat are the seed of the plant, contained within the hard, whitish/beige shell of the fruit. When the fruit ripens, it splits open, revealing the seed. Compared to other nuts, pistachios have one of the highest amounts of protein and fiber. They also contain important vitamins and minerals including copper, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, Vitamin A, thiamine, and Vitamin B-6.
Dried Cherry: The cherry tree was named after the Turkish town of Cesarus, and is said to date back to 300 BC. Cherries come in two varieties: sweet and sour, both of which can be dried and eaten as a snack or used in baked goods. The red pigment in cherries, anthocyanin, is being studied for its antioxidant properties.
I was surprised to see that Culinary Artistry does not list cherries and pistachios as a common flavor pairing. In my opinion, they are quite a complimentary pair.
In addition to the lovely flavor combination of pistachios and cherries, these biscotti have a hint of orange due to a little bit of zest added to the batter. I love the subtle complexity that this hint of citrus provides. It keeps the biscotti feeling light and refreshing, while the whole wheat flour and oats also ensure that they are slightly heartier and more filling than the average baked good.
Whole Wheat Pistachio and Dried Cherry Biscotti
Adapted from Bon Appetit
Makes about 4 dozen
- 1 3/4 cups Whole Wheat Flour
- 1 cup organic cane sugar
- 1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 large eggs
- 3 Tablespoons coconut oil, melted
- 2 Tablespoons orange zest (I used clementines)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 cup dried cherries
- 1 cup raw, unsalted, shelled pistachios
- Preheat oven to 350°. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Combine first 6 ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle. Blend on low speed for 30 seconds. Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, whisk together eggs and next 3 ingredients. Add egg mixture to flour mixture; beat on low speed until combined, about 1 1/2 minutes. Fold in cherries and pistachios.
- Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface; divide in half. Using floured hands, shape each dough half into a 16″-long log. Brush off excess flour; transfer logs to prepared sheet, spaced 5″ apart. Flatten each log into a 2″-wide strip. Bake, rotating sheet halfway through, until browned and set, about 30 minutes. Transfer to a rack; let cool for 15 minutes. Reduce oven to 250° and arrange 1 rack in top third of oven and 1 rack in bottom third.
- Line a second baking sheet with parchment paper. Transfer biscotti to a work surface. Using a serrated knife, cut each strip diagonally into 2/3″-thick slices. Arrange slices, cut side down, on baking sheets.
- Bake biscotti, rotating baking sheets halfway through, until crisp, about 40 minutes. Transfer baking sheets to racks; let cool.
My only complaint against homemade biscotti is that they have to bake for quite a long time, so you have to plan ahead when making them. However, the hands on work is simple, so they’re perfect for making on a lazy Saturday afternoon. I’ll be making more soon, potentially dipped in chocolate ;-).
Do you like biscotti? Any favorite flavors or drinks to dip them into?
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