Almond and Sour Cherry Biscotti

Biscotti with almonds and dried sour cherries

Last week I did something I hardly ever do.

I read. And not just 140 characters at a time. I read an actual book. From cover to cover.

I love to read, but somehow rarely take the time to sit down with a good book. The interweb pulls me in and sucks up all my time.

But while on vacation there’s always time for a good book. Last week I got caught up in the lives of the members of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. The book takes place just after the second World War. Told entirely through letters, it tells the story of a group of people who survived occupation by the Germans on the British island of Guernsey. The literary society is created in a moment of panic. To make the lie the truth, the characters start meeting regularly to discuss literature. In doing so they discover a love of reading that helps them get through those difficult years. Although the topic is a very heavy one, the book is lighthearted and easy to read. I was skeptical about the format, but found that the characters came alive through their letters to each other. How can you not love a group of people who insist there be pie when all there is to eat is potato?

I got completely lost in the book and finished it in a day. It reminded me why I love reading so much, and so I’ve made a promise to myself to not always let the interweb grab my attention. I will curl up with a coffee and a good book more often. And maybe nibble on a few Almond and Sour Cherry Biscotti while I’m at it.

Biscotti with almonds and dried sour cherries, with a hot cup of coffee

Before I give you the recipe I need to write a disclaimer. Although the biscotti were delicious, some of them broke as I sliced them. I think my almond pieces were too big. My suggestion is to make sure there are no large chunks or use an electric knife to slice the cookies.

Almond and Sour Cherry Biscotti

Modified from Food and Wine

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 1/2 cup almonds, chopped
  • 1/2 cup dried sour cherries
  1. Preheat the oven to 325 F
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl cream the butter and sugar together with an electric mixer. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, followed by the almond extract. Add the dry ingredients then mix on low speed until well combined. With a wooden spoon stir in the almonds and sour cherries.
  4. Grease a baking sheet, then turn the dough out onto. Shape the dough into a log, about three inches wide 6 inches long. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes until golden. Place the cookie sheet on a rack to cool for 5 minutes, then cut 1/2 to 1 inch thick slices with a serrated or electric knife. Bake the slices for 7 minutes on each side.
  5. Let cool completely before serving.

Chocolate Pistachio Biscotti

Sometimes I think the only reason I have cable is to watch the Food Network. All weekend long I have the TV on as I do my cooking and cleaning. Ina Garten, Laura Calder and Bobby Flay are like the soundtrack to my weekend.

I’m not a huge fan of competition shows in general but one of my favourite cooking shows is Top Chef, which in Canada airs on Food Network Canada a few weeks after it begins in the United States. I love watching chefs come up with incredible (and sometimes terrible) meals, and seeing their creativity grow each week. I would also love to know the truth about the pea puree. Unfortunately, I got my December issue of Food and Wine before the finale aired in Canada, so despite all my efforts to live in a bubble, I knew who was going to win.

All this to say these cookies are from Food and Wine’s feature of Kevin Sbraga. The cookies all looked delicious, but I decided the first one I had to try was the chocolate biscotti. My dad makes biscotti every Christmas, but I had never made them myself. The batter is just as easy to put together as a sugar cookie. The only real difference is the baking process. First the cookies are baked as a log, the log is then sliced and the pieces are baked again until they dry out.

These biscotti were very tasty. The chocolate and pistachio go together very well, but to be honest with you, I prefer my dads. Just because.

I’ll be submitting these cookies to Cream Puffs In Venice for Magazine Mondays. Magazine Mondays are a weekly event designed to help us get through those stacks of magazine recipes we’ve put aside to make “one day.”

Chocolate Pistachio Biscotti

From the December 2010 issue of Food and Wine

  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
  • 1 tablespoon dark rum
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 cups raw pistachios
  • 1 large egg white, lightly beaten
  • Melted bittersweet chocolate, for dipping or drizzling
  1. Preheat the oven to 350. Line a baking sheet with parchment or a silpat.
  2. Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, vanilla, and rum beating until well combined.
  3. In separate bowl stir together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and cinnamon.
  4. Mix the dry ingredients into the wet. Beat in the pistachios.
  5. Divide the dough in two, shape each half into a log. Brush the logs with the egg whites. Bake for 25 minutes.
  6. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly. Cut the logs into slices, return to the oven and bake for an additional 20 minutes until the cookies have dried out. Let cool completely. Drizzle with melted chocolate.