Holiday Biscotti

December 19, 2010

If you have not noticed, I’m not a big recipe round-up person.  Some food bloggers are really good about going back through their old posts and listing out, say, all the recipes that would work well for Christmas cookies.  I love reading those posts.  But me?  Writing one of my own?  Not so much.  I often get asked how I have time to keep up with this blog and the truth is that I have time because I make time.  Writing here and connecting with all of you is important to me, and so I make time.  It’s not that coming up with the perfect list of Christmas cookies isn’t important to me, but I’d rather use my precious blogging time to just write.  And avoid doing laundry.

You are most likely up to your eyeballs in cookie recipes these days but I thought I would send just one your way.  These are a favorite of mine.  I like that they look holiday-ish but aren’t the traditional cut-outs with frosting and sprinkles.  (I hate making those but my kids and husband love decorating and eating those, so guess who wins that battle?)  I made these a few years back for a cookie exchange with my preschool co-op friends and I was surprised at how quickly they flew off my tray.  They have been a staple ever since.  I have always dipped one end in the white chocolate but feel free to dip the whole bottom part in as Gaby did.  Much prettier.  And speaking of dipping, white chocolate can be a little temperamental.  I suggest buying the good stuff, like Lindt, which melts up better.

Biscotti with Cranberries and Pistachios
Adapted from Bon Appétit
Makes about 3 dozen

2 ¼ cups flour
1 ½ tsp. baking powder
¾ tsp. salt
6 tbsp. (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
¾ cup sugar
2 large eggs
Grated zest of 1 lemon
1 ½ tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. whole aniseed
1 cup dried sweetened cranberries
¾ cup natural unsalted pistachios (salted and roasted work fine too)
6 oz. white chocolate, chopped

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.  Sift first three ingredients into a medium bowl.  Using electric mixer, beat butter and sugar in large bowl to blend well.  Beat in eggs one at a time.  Mix in lemon peel, vanilla, and aniseed.  Beat in flour mixture just until blended.  Stir in cranberries and pistachios – dough will be sticky.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface.  Gather dough together; divide in half.  Flour your hands and pat each half into a 15-inch log, about 1 ¼ inches wide.  Carefully transfer logs to one of the prepared sheets, spacing 3 inches apart.  Bake logs until almost firm to touch but still pale, about 28 minutes.

Cool logs on baking sheet 10 minutes.  Maintain oven temperature.  Carefully transfer logs to cutting board, leaving the parchment paper on the baking sheet.  Using a serrated knife, cut logs crosswise into generous ½-inch slices.  Use a sawing motion to start each cut and then apply gentle pressure to finish, this will minimize crumbling.  Place slices, 1 cut side down, on the paper lined sheets.  Bake until firm and pale golden, about 12 minutes per side.  Transfer cookies to racks and cool.

Place the white chocolate in a tall deep bowl and place the bowl over simmering water.  Do not let the bottom of the bowl touch the water.  Melt the chocolate, stirring occasionally, and do not let any steam get into the bowl (that would make the chocolate seize.)  Remove from over water.  Dip 1 end of each cookie into melted chocolate, tilting bowl if necessary; shake off excess chocolate.  Place cookies on a waxed paper lined baking sheet and refrigerate until chocolate is firm, about 30 minutes.  (Can be made 5 days ahead.  Store airtight between sheets of waxed paper at room temperature.)


  1. Mmm, biscotti are one of my favs!

    Comment by Jacqui — December 20, 2010 @ 12:35 am

  2. As you can see from my blog, I’m not a big round-up person either. For the same reason. I’d much rather write and tell a story than waste a post on a round-up. (Though I ADORE reading them!).

    I’m pretty sure I made this recipe last year, subbing in cinnamon for aniseed. Major hit. Major. I approve.

    Comment by Joanne — December 20, 2010 @ 12:47 am

  3. I made these too!!!!

    Comment by stacey snacks — December 20, 2010 @ 1:23 am

  4. I have been making these (almost) every year since the recipe was published! So good! I dip one of the cut surfaces in white chocolate, so there is a bit of chocolate with each bite. Oh, and I sub orange zest for the lemon.

    Comment by Holly E — December 20, 2010 @ 2:51 am

  5. No kidding, the one cookie I’ve been wanting to make this year is biscotti with cranberries and pistachio. Yours look delicious!

    Comment by shannalee — December 20, 2010 @ 3:21 am

  6. These biscotti are BEAUTIFUL! Love the idea of adding aniseed. Have a fabulous, fabulous festive season Dana… Are you looking forward to your SA holiday?

    Robyn xx

    Comment by Koek! — December 20, 2010 @ 9:17 am

  7. I agree with just writing, and no rounding-up of recipes of christmases past. This is a lovely biscotti. I especially like the dip. Happy holidays!

    Comment by LimeCake — December 20, 2010 @ 11:50 am

  8. Thank you for saying that you hate to make the cut-out/sprinkle/icing Christmas cookies. I was feeling like a Grinch the other day for feeling just the same way. I did suck it up, though, and make a small batch with my boys. And my 5yo had a truly marvelous time squirting icing all over his gingerbread people.

    But then there’s the inevitable spilled decorating sugar, and the crunch underfoot when you discover it.

    Oh well! At least I didn’t attempt another gingerbread house this time. That way lies the abyss…

    Comment by Julia's Child — December 20, 2010 @ 12:54 pm

  9. Must try these. I’ve never made them and I love eating them. And that platter is adorable!

    Comment by Cindy — December 20, 2010 @ 6:04 pm

  10. I love that these are dipped in chocolate!

    Comment by Maria — December 20, 2010 @ 9:12 pm

  11. I made these after seeing Gaby’s posting… they came out great but I concur with your warning about white chocolate… Mine seized….even after using good stuff. So be careful with steam. They were a hit!

    Comment by Lisa — December 20, 2010 @ 9:31 pm

  12. I love love love biscotti!!! And of course chocolate makes everything better!!

    Comment by Gaby — December 20, 2010 @ 11:01 pm

  13. I have the intention of doing a recipe roundup every year. It never happens. They’re great, but this recipe is heavenly. Can you believe I’ve never tried to make biscotti? This looks wonderful. I love the white chocolate, but totally agree that one needs to buy a good type for it to melt properly. Hope you’re well, Dana! xoxoxo

    Comment by redmenace — December 20, 2010 @ 11:37 pm

  14. I have made hundreds of biscottis over the years but lost the habit! I like this recipe because of the pistachios and cranberries and pretty colors!

    Comment by tasteofbeirut — December 21, 2010 @ 6:45 am

  15. I can see why these flew off the tray. They look delicious! I always seem to reach for white chocolate before dark, and the cranberries and pistachios sound great with it. Now, why didn’t I bake biscotti this year?

    Comment by lisaiscooking — December 21, 2010 @ 1:50 pm

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