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Cranberry-Almond Biscotti

Biscotti and Tea

Biscotti is to me what the madeleine was to Proust. Well, sort of. When I was in college I spent many hours in my local Second Cup (Canada’s answer to Starbucks) sipping a coffee and dunking a delicious chocolate-covered biscotti into it, while reading a book or writing an essay (believe it or not, I actually enjoyed writing essays). Biscotti, for me, have come to symbolize unhurried leisure and enjoyment of the moment while I savor the flavors of the biscuit melting slightly into the coffee. I’m not as refined as Proust, of course, and the biscotti is a rougher-textured, less delicate snack in comparison to the light madeleine. Plus, even after having lived in France, I’ve never been a huge fan of madeleines. I’ve had too many that were dry and tasteless.

During this holiday season, I didn’t so much crave rich cookies and cakes so much as I wanted the flavorful crunch of biscotti, so I whipped up a batch both to bring to Christmas parties as well as to enjoy with my own hot beverage at home.

To reduce the risk of the biscotti breaking as you slice them, make sure the cookie loaf is fully cooled before cutting into it with a sharp serrated knife. My loaf spread quite a bit in the oven, making for a very long slice, so I cut the longer biscotti slices in half to make them more manageable for eating.


Cranberry-Almond Biscotti
I can’t remember where I got this recipe, but it’s good!

½ cup softened unsalted butter, cut into cubes
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp almond extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
Dash salt
½ cup chopped almonds
½ cup dried cranberries
milk for brushing and extra sugar to dust

Cream the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each egg. Stir in extract.

Whisk together flour, salt and baking powder and add to egg mixture. Stir together, then fold in almonds and cranberries.

On a greased baking sheet pat the dough into two equal rectangles, about 12×3 inches each. Brush with milk and sprinkle with sugar.

Bake at 375 F for 15-30 minutes until golden on top and firm. Use foil to lift each loaf onto a wire rack and cool for 15 minutes. Slice diagonally about ½ inch thick.

Lower oven temperature to 300 F. Bake slices, this time on an ungreased baking sheet, 10 minutes per side until browned and crisp.

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