Monday, February 21, 2011

Chocolate-Dipped Cherry, Cranberry, and Hazelnut Biscotti


This recipe unfortunately indulges my culinary tendencies to throw the kitchen sink into every baking recipe I find. In my mind, if one added ingredient makes the whole thing better, why not add five extra ingredients? Combine that with the peculiar stocking strategies of Tesco and you come up with the above recipe. In my defense, I was originally planning to make this recipe with only cherries and hazelnuts. But then Tesco was out of cherries. So I went with cranberries. And THEN I discovered the glace cherry section. Oh my. Well, when it came down to deciding between the two, my logic was no match for my "kitchen sink" tendencies. And thus: chocolate, cherry, cranberry, hazelnut biscotti. Try saying that five times fast.

(Adapted from epicurious.com, via Bon Appetit, December 1998)

Ingredients 

1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
 2 large eggs
2 teaspoons grated orange peel
1 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups all purpose flour
1 3/4 cups hazelnuts (about 4.5 ounces), toasted, husked, coarsely chopped
3/4 cup dried cranberries (about 4 ounces)
1/2 cup glace cherries
3/4 pounds bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, chopped
Unsweetened cocoa powder

Method

Position 1 rack in center and 1 rack in top third of oven and preheat to 325°F. Using handheld electric mixer, beat sugar and butter in very large bowl until well blended. Beat in eggs 1 at a time just until blended. Mix in orange peel, baking soda and salt. Add 3 cups flour, hazelnuts and dried cherries; stir until well blended. Add 1 1/2 cups flour, a little at a time, stirring until well incorporated.

Transfer dough to floured work surface. Divide into 2 equal pieces. Knead each piece until dough holds together well. Form each piece into 5-inch-long by 2-inch-wide log. Place the 2 logs on a large ungreased baking sheet, spacing about 3 inches apart (logs will spread during baking). Bake until logs are golden and feel firm when tops are gently pressed, switching and rotating baking sheets halfway through baking, about 55 minutes. Cool logs on baking sheets 15 minutes. Maintain oven temperature.

Using long wide spatula, transfer logs to cutting board. Using serrated knife, cut warm logs crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Arrange slices cut side down on a baking sheet. Bake biscotti 10 minutes. Turn biscotti over; bake until light golden, about 10 minutes longer. Transfer to racks and cool completely.

Stir chocolate in large bowl set over saucepan of boiling water until melted and smooth. Remove from over water. Dip 1 cut side of each biscotti into melted chocolate to about 1/4-inch depth. Gently shake off excess chocolate. Place biscotti, chocolate side up, on baking sheets. Refrigerate until chocolate is firm, about 35 minutes. Dip pastry brush in cocoa, then lightly brush cocoa over chocolate on each biscotti.

These store well in an airtight containers up to 4 days, or wrap in foil and freeze in resealable plastic bags up to 3 weeks.

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