Cranberry Almond Biscotti

Jun 16th, 2010 by Gemma

The name biscotti derives from the Italian meaning twice baked, telling us how they are cooked. Biscotti however is the English name for them, in Italy they are called Cantucci, with biscotti referring to any type of crunchy cookie, the way American’s say cookie and the English say biscuit.

Originally baked for the Romans to take with them on long marches, or for travellers, they were baked once to cook and a second time to dry out so they would last.

Biscotti re emerged in Tuscany during the renaissance where they were served with the local sweet wine, their dry crunchy texture perfect for soaking up all the liquid. Biscotti became so popular that every province developed its own flavoured version. Centuries later, many still agree that dipping biscotti into Vin Santo is a perfect way to end a meal, or to while away hours at a café.

Somewhere along the line, probably along the trip from Italy to America, people started using them as an accompaniment to coffee and cappuccino, and the American biscotti that I tried tasted stale. Dry doesn’t equal stale people!

So I decided to make a traditional almond biscotti, to show Michael how they should taste *grins*

The almonds were toasted first, that’s important, it makes them taste better! Then make the dough, it’s a soft dough and comes together easily. While I was mixing in the almonds I decided a few cranberries from the larder would make a nice addition. You know me, I can never stick to the recipe!

Then roll the dough out into logs, about an inch in diameter, mine were about 10 inches long. Place them on a baking sheet, at least 3 inches apart from each other.

Bake them for about 20 minutes or so, until they’re lightly brown. Pull them out and let them cool slightly then slice them up. Lay them out flat and bake for 10 minutes, turn them all over and bake for another 10 minutes.

Leave to cool then serve with a sweet wine.. or coffee if you must *grins* These came out sweet and buttery, with a light texture, you could even eat them on their own without dipping them. Now, they will technically last for a few months in an air tight container, personally I found that you could taste the difference in them after a week or two so I wouldn’t make too many in one go, just because you can eat them at three months doesn’t mean that you want to.

Once you have a basic dough you can experiment with flavours, switch out the fruit and nuts, try a pistachio or even a coffee or chocolate flavoured one. The biscotti world is your oyster!

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