You have no idea how close I was to digging out the Lenox Holiday china for this post. Blame Lowe’s. Last weekend, the gardening section had been overtaken by an army of inflatable tractor-riding Santas with plugs of mistletoe chaw in their cheeks, and after every “Ho! Ho! Ho!,” they’d belch glitter.
Kidding! I love tractors! And Christmas! I just wish we weren’t bombarded with carols and Kris Kringle until after the official start of the holidays: the “Oprah’s Favorite Things” show.
So, how did I end up with Lenox Holiday Biscotti?
I wasn’t much of a biscotti fan. I couldn’t understand why anyone would bake something twice, so that it smelled like a cookie but had the texture of a dog biscuit. It seemed cruel. Then TWD decided to bake Dorie’s Greenspan’s Lenox Almond Biscotti. I liked her suggested substitutions: dried fruits, spices, nuts and citrus zest. So, I substituted the original almonds with pistachios, replaced the almond extract with vanilla and added about one-third of a cup of dried cranberries. The dough was extremely sticky going into the oven, but slicing the baked rectangle was a dream. No breaking or cracking.
After the baked sliced biscotti had cooled, I dipped each piece into melted white chocolate. They looked great, smelled fantastic. And they were delicious! I had all the pride of a caveman who’d just reinvented the wheel. Let me explain …
I was drawing a blank on how to photograph the biscotti, so I decided to look up “biscotti” on the Food Network’s website. That’s when I found out Giada De Laurentiis had used the pistachio-cranberry-white chocolate combination and called her creation Holiday Biscotti. Hence, Lenox Holiday Biscotti.
It could have been worse. Sandra Lee could have gotten there first.
Instead, I have a really great biscotti recipe. Biscotti that’s crunchy but won’t break your teeth and tastes as good as it smells. Delicious with or without dunking. And, I have something in common with Giada besides my abnormally large head. Great (big) minds think alike.
Ho! Ho! Ho!
Lenox Holiday Biscotti
Adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s “Baking: From My Home to Yours” and Giada De Laurentiis’ Holiday Biscotti (via FoodNetwork.com)
Makes about 30
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
- 1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 3/4 cup pistachios, coarsely chopped
- 2/3 cup dried cranberries
- 12 ounces good-quality white chocolate, chopped
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment or a silicone mat.
- Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt together. Add the cornmeal and whisk again to blend.
- Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar together at medium speed for 3 minutes, until very smooth.
- Add the eggs and continue to beat, scraping down the bowl as needed, for another 2 minutes, or until the mixture is light, smooth and creamy.
- Beat in the almond extract.
- Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients, mixing only until they are incorporated.
- Scrape down the paddle and bowl, toss in the pistachios and cranberries, and mix just to blend.
- Scrape half the dough onto one side of the baking sheet. Using your fingers and a rubber spatula or scraper, work the dough into a log about 12 inches long and 1 1/2 inches wide.
- Form a second log with the remaining dough on the other side of the baking sheet.
- Bake for 15 minutes, or until the logs are lightly golden. Transfer the baking sheet to a rack, and cool the logs on the baking sheet for 30 minutes
- If you turned off the oven, bring it back up to 350 degrees F.
- Using a wide metal spatula, transfer the logs to a cutting board and, with a long serrated knife, trim the ends and cut the logs into 3/4-inch-thick slices. Return the slices to the baking sheet — this time standing them up like a marching band — and slide the sheet back into the oven.
- Bake the biscotti for another 15 minutes, or until they are golden and firm. Transfer them to racks and cool to room temperature.
- Melt the white chocolate in the microwave. Dip half of the biscotti into the melted chocolate. Gently shake off the excess. Place the biscotti on the baking sheet for the chocolate to set. Refrigerate until the chocolate is firm, about 35 minutes.