Both my mom and my mother-in-law are coffee lovers. In fact, I’d be a little afraid if either one didn’t get their morning dose, that’s how much they love it. It comes naturally then that they both love biscotti as well. Last Christmas, we gave them gift packages of biscotti, and they both asked if I had made it myself. I realized I was sad to say that I hadn’t. That made me resolve to give them homemade gifts this year.
I got around to making it at the last minute. I was somewhat nervous taking it on with so little time because it always seemed a bit mysterious and difficult. I was surprised to find out that it wasn’t nearly as hard as I had feared, you just need a little time to allow for two bakings.
One thing to point out. Definitely use good quality white chocolate when making these. I used Askinosie white chocolate and it melted and worked perfectly, but unfortunately, I ran out. I had white chocolate chips from the grocery store that I tried to supplement with. They were very difficult to melt and once they finally did, it tasted like melted sand. I ended up throwing it away and melting some dark chocolate for the last ones.
I’d hoped to post this earlier in case anyone wanted to make these as gifts, but life sort of gets in the way sometimes. Which, I’m not complaining about, I’ve really enjoyed the time I’ve spent with friends and family so far around the holidays. So instead, I know you probably have time off. Take the time to make some of this biscotti because it’s worth it. Dip it in some coffee or my favorite, chai. And have a very merry Christmas.
Cherry and Pistachio Biscotti with White Chocolate
- adapted from Martha Stewart
makes 3 to 4 dozen
- 3/4 cup dried cherries
- 1 cup hot water
- 3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 cup sugar, plus more for sprinkling
- 3 large eggs, plus 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup unsalted, shelled pistachios, coarsely chopped
- 12 ounces white chocolate
- butter or shortening, as needed
make the biscotti
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside. Place cherries in a small bowl and add hot water until covered. Let stand until plump, about 10-15 minutes. Drain, and set aside. Sift together flour, baking powder and salt into a medium bowl; set aside.
In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the 3 eggs, one at a time, beating to incorporate after each addition and scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Beat in vanilla. Add flour mixture, and mix on low speed until combined. If desired, coarsely chop cherries. This step simply makes it easier to cut and eat the biscotti. Mix in cherries and pistachios.
Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface; divide in half. Shape each piece into a 16-by-2-inch log, and transfer to prepared baking sheet, about 3 inches apart. With the palm of your hand, flatten logs slightly. You can also use a spatula to smooth tops out slightly. Brush beaten egg over surface of the dough logs, and sprinkle with sugar. If you use a coarser sugar, the granules will be more distinct.
Bake about 25 minutes, rotating sheet halfway through, until logs are slightly firm to touch. Transfer logs on parchment paper to a wire rack to cool slightly, about 20 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 300 degrees.
Place logs on a cutting board. Using a serrated knife, cut logs crosswise on the diagonal into 1/2-inch-thick slices or 3/4-inch-thick slices (I went with 3/4-inch for a thicker slice). Place a wire rack in a large rimmed baking sheet. Arrange slices, cut sides down, on rack. Bake until firm to touch and pale golden brown, about 15-20 minutes on each side. Remove pan from oven and let biscotti cool completely on rack.
make the white chocolate
In a double boiler, melt white chocolate. If white chocolate is too thick for dipping, add shortening or butter until chocolate becomes a dipping consistency. Dip bottom cut side of biscotti in white chocolate and place chocolate side up on the cooling rack until chocolate hardens.
Store in an airtight container. Or, wrap in cellophane and tie with a ribbon for homemade holiday gifts.