Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Cherry Almond Biscotti

These are my personal favorite Christmas cookie. I love the cherry and almond flavor combination, and all the big dried cherries in these biscotti. Like most biscotti, these aren't super sweet. They are double baked: first in logs, then sliced and baked again. The dough for these freezes very well.

Cherry Almond Biscotti

Makes about 3 dozen cookies
1 3/4  cups dried cherries
1/2 cup amaretto (almond liqueur)
3 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
Pinch of salt
1/2 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 cups sugar
3 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 cups blanched slivered almonds
For tops: 1 beaten egg and sanding sugar

1. In medium saucepan over medium-low heat, cook the cherries in the amaretto until soft. Drain cherries, reserving 4 tablespoons of the liquid.
2. Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt.
3. In bowl of electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well. Add the vanilla and reserved 4 tablespoons amaretto.
4. Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture in four additions. Mix in almonds and cherries (you might need to do this part by hand). If the dough seems very sticky, add another 1/2 cup of flour.
5. Turn out dough onto lightly floured piece of parchment paper. Divide into four pieces. On another piece of parchment, shape each piece into a 12 1/2 inch x 2 1/2 inch log. Press down until dough is 1/2 inch thick. Either wrap each log in saran wrap and freeze or continue to next step.
6. Preheat oven to 325. Place dough, still on parchment, onto baking sheets. Brush lightly with beaten egg and sprinkle with sanding sugar. Bake for 30-35 minutes, rotating halfway through. Dough should be just starting to brown.
7. Cool dough on baking sheet on wire rack for 20 minutes. Using a sharp knife, cut each log into diagonal slices. Place slices on a wire rack, then put wire rack on a baking sheet. Lower oven to 300 and bake for 8 minutes. Flip cookies, and bake for 8-10 more minutes. Cool completely before storing.


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