Wednesday, September 2, 2009
Pistachio with Golden Raisin Biscotti
I've mentioned before that I'm a newcomer to the biscotti scene. But I've fallen hard and fast for these Italian cookies.
I recently tried this recipe from the book "Biscotti" by Lou Seibert Pappas. Mmm, boy, were they good!
Biscotti are a perfect cookie for add-ins. For this recipe, I substituted dried cranberries for the golden raisins called for in the recipe (had one, but not the other). To me, the lovely green pistachios practically beg to be paired with ruby red cranberries.
They're so easy to form, it almost feels like cheating. I make a haphazard "log" by first globbing the dough in a somewhat loggish fashion onto the cookie sheet.
Then, kinda sorta smooth it into a solid mass.
Magically, they bake into their trade-mark shape.
All that's left is to slice them into nice chunky cookies and pop them back in the oven to crisp.
I decided to dress them up by drizzling some white chocolate over top.
Although they kind of remind me of poor Gulliver, who had the misfortune of being tied up by those pesky Lilliputians.
(Looks like the cookies agree.)
Pistachio and Golden Raisin Biscotti
Reprinted with permission from "Biscotti" by Lou Seifert Pappas (you can read more about Lou HERE.)
(my comments in italics)
1/2 cup butter
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
3 eggs, separated
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
3 cups all-purpose or unbleached flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups shelled whole pistachio nuts
1 1/4 cups golden raisins (I used dried cranberries)
3 to 4 oz. white chocolate, optional
In a mixing bowl cream butter and 1/2 cup sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg yolks, vanilla extract and lemon zest. In a bowl combine flour, baking powder and salt and add to the creamed mixture, mixing just until crumbly. (It did not come together into a ball at this point. Don't worry if it's dry and crumbly.) In a separate bowl beat egg whites until soft peaks form and beat in remaining sugar, beating until stiff but not dry.
Fold meringue into the crumbly dough, mixing until it clings together. Fold in nuts and raisins. Divide dough in half. Form into two logs on a greased and floured baking sheet, making them about 1/2 inch thick, 1 1/2 inches wide and 16 inches long, spacing them at least 2 inches apart. (Mine were approx. 3 inches wide and 12 inches long. What you see in my pictures is half of a batch, which makes one log.)
Bake in the middle of a preheated 325 degree oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until set and golden brown. Transfer from the baking sheet to a rack. Let cool 5 minutes. Place on a cutting board. With a serrated knife slice diagonally at a 45 degree angle to 1/2 inch slices. Place the slices upright on a baking sheet and return to the oven at 300 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes to dry slightly. Let cool on a rack. Store in a tightly covered container.
Chocolate Glaze variation: Place the chocolate in a small bowl that fits snugly over a saucepan of barely simmering water. Heat until chocolate melts. Stir to blend. Or place chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave on medium about 2 minutes, or until melted. Stir to blend. Spread chocolate with a spatula over entire top surface of cookies. (I drizzled it using a piping bag fitted with a small round tip.) Let cool at room temperature until set.
Makes about 4 dozen.