A Cranberry Orange Almond Biscotti Frenzy
As a child in the early 1950’s my dentist told me every tooth in my head was worth a $1,000.
THE THOUGHT STUCK!
Little did I know by the mid 2000’s that would literally be true.
Over the years I tried to see what all of the biscotti rave was about.
Sometime along the way Costco would sell biscotti around the holidays in great hand-painted cookie jars. Of course I wanted the jar and tossed the biscotti after trying one or 2 or palmed them off on my husband who dunked them in his morning coffee.
So I can honestly say UNTIL NOW I never met a biscotti that I liked.
What started this frenzy?
Well actually my friend Jeannie called not happy that her cousins biscotti recipe left much to be desired. She assumed it was her lack of expertise in making them. Come to find out she had a crappy recipe and an even crappier method of making them (BY HAND … NO MIXER).
I am all for “methods from the frontier” but when one pays hundreds of dollars for a KitchenAid mixer to take the drudge out of cooking why not use it?
With this discussion again my curiosity got the best of me.
That and this summer I had made a drop dead wonderful orange cake … testing an old from scratch recipe that my grandmother use to make. (I am in the process of making a family recipe book). I had over cooked the cake so I took the second layer sliced it up and put it in the dehydrator. It got crisp and everyone loved it especially my husband.
So my quest began.
Logic was … start with a basic shortbread then add the flavor, fruits, and nuts of choice.
How could one go wrong?
My choice was orange, cranberry and almonds.
How much was the question. My first batch was a hit with the hubby … not so much for me. Lucky he ate them up quickly so I could experiment more quickly. After the 3rd batch I was satisfied and rolled a batch out for my friends who gave them rave reviews. The holidays were upon me so another excuse to make more biscotti tweaking as I went. More cook time less cook time? … more flavor? … more fruit? … pistachio instead of almonds?
Finally I had what I thought was the perfect recipe and by now I could ALMOST MAKE THEM IN MY SLEEP.
Not quite! Jeannie came to watch so she could see what I was doing. For whatever reason I used 1 cup of butter instead of 1/2 cup. I did not realize it until the roll spread more than normal during baking.
I finished the process as usual and WOW they went from really good to great in my opinion but my husband was the final say.
THESE ARE THE BEST YOU HAVE EVER MADE.
He did not know why but I did.
Is there anything better than butter?
CERTAINLY NOT IN MY BOOK.
The recipe here only calls for the original 1/2 cup of butter for those who love butter you might want to try 1 cup instead just to see what you think.
If you do expect them to spread out more on the pan and easily break when you try and turn them over while they are hot. Once they cool off they are really crispy but not hard.
BTW: I have experimented with another flavor that I will post later.
- 1 or 2 cubes butter at room temp.
- 1 cup white sugar
- 2 eggs
- 20 drops pure orange oil
- 1/4 tsp. Fiori di Sicilia (secret ingredient)
- 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. baking soda
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 cup dried cranberries
- 1/2 cup chopped almonds
- 1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- 2. Beat butter & sugar together until creamy. Add eggs, orange oil, & Fiori di Sicilia.
- 3. Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, & salt in a separate bowl; mix dry ingredients into butter mixture to make a stiff dough. Add cranberries & nuts. Form dough into a log place on baking sheet.
- 4. Bake in the preheated oven until the edges are lightly browned, 30 to 35 minutes (198 degrees on digital thermometer). Let log cool completely on baking sheet.
- 5. Cut log into slices on a slight diagonal & lay the slices back on the parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake biscotti until crisp & lightly golden brown, about 12 to 15 minutes on each side.( SEE UPDATE NOTE)
- I use 2 cubes of butter now but one will work well but not as rich. You are dealing with Good vs. GREAT in this cookie.
- Do not be tempted to substitute orange extract for 100% orange OIL or leave out the Fiori di Sicilia. These are KEY INGREDIENTS for this cookie.
- Be aware all orange oils are not the same. Many suppliers call their orange product oil but if you read the ingredient listed they will use sunflower or some other oil as a carrier and only a little actual orange oil. The intense flavor comes from the REAL THING.
- The Fiori di Sicilia is a very unique flavor used in Italy for making panettone. It has become one of my favorite flavors. It is not cheap but you can use it for many other recipes that call for a citrus note. Like fruit salads, cheese cakes and breads.
- I am tempted to scrap my RED perfume for this instead :)
- I have found that during the final bake I take the cookies out of the oven for about 15 minutes before I turn them over for the other side to bake. This allows these cookies to firm up in order to turn them over without cracking in half. I suppose that could also be solved if I make 2 thinner logs instead of one large fat one.