Biscotti with Cranberries and Pistachios


Christmas, Cookie, Desserts / Tuesday, October 14th, 2008

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
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment or a silicone mat.
  2. Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt together. Add the cornmeal and whisk again to blend.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Beat in the almond extract.
  6. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients, mixing only until they are incorporated.
  7. Scrape down the paddle and bowl, toss in the pistachios and cranberries, and mix just to blend.
  8. 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.
  9. Form a second log with the remaining dough on the other side of the baking sheet.
  10. 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
  11. If you turned off the oven, bring it back up to 350 degrees F.
  12. 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.
  13. Bake the biscotti for another 15 minutes, or until they are golden and firm. Transfer them to racks and cool to room temperature.
  14. 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.

56 thoughts on “Biscotti with Cranberries and Pistachios

  1. What a great post! I always enjoy reading everything you have to say. The biscotti looks wonderful and it’s making me wish I had thought of white chocolate, too!

  2. They look fantastic. I made one for a BH and G contest years ago with cherries pistachios and lemon, then dipped it in lemony white chocolate. Giada must have stolen my idea!:) As always, loved the read as much as the recipe.

  3. But Rebecca, you were raised on chocolate biscotti that was as hard as Milk Bones. Where is the challenge… anyone could nibble on yours. MINE lasted months, this would last hours (maybe days). Wonder why ;)

  4. Seeing biscotti recipes (not this combination, though – perfect!) in Christmas cookie magazines was always one of the things that made me want to bake them though not to eat them. This recipe – and your variation – they’re life-changing! :) Great job!

  5. Wow, yours came out fabulous!!!

    As for me, the official kick-off to Christmas is the first time I see an ad for one of those Time-Life Christmas CD compilations!! :)

  6. Absolutely mouthwatering… if that is possible with such dry cookies! LOL LOL LOL Seriously, they really are amazing! Bravissimo!

  7. Your biscotti gets me into the Christmas spirit way more than the Lowe’s inflatable Santas. The cranberries make them so festive! Nice touch with the white chocolate. Surely the Christmas kickoff Oprah episode will be on any day now?

  8. At least you didn’t have to listen to Giada mispronounce “biscotti” with her overexaggerated Italian accent. I’ll take yours over hers anyday!

  9. I think the Lenox china would have been a perfect touch with these! I did dried cherries also, but kept the almond and added grapefruit zest. This is a fun and tasty recipe. Yours are beautiful.

  10. Love your holiday biscotti and LOVE the white chocolate. Absolutely LOVE your blog and write up about it. I’m already itching to make these again with orange flavoring/zest, cranberries and a nut. Thanks for stopping by my blog!

  11. White chocolate!! YAY!!! The little pieces of pistachio make it look so Christmasy. Great idea for Christmas cookies. And adding the cranberries. Great idea.

  12. You had me at white chocolate. YUM! I definitely wanna try your holiday version. PS. I NEED to get tickets to Oprah’s favorite things show. Seriously. Momma needs a new car! HAHA
    Clara @ iheartfood4thought

  13. I can so see these biscotti of yours tied up with a big red ribbon in a cellophane bag at Christmas and deposited at all your friends’ and families’ homes…please, take my address, okay? They look great. Wonderful post. Love the Giada/Sandra bit…you are so funny!

  14. Hooray for holiday biscotti. The flavour combo sounds heavenly.
    We do get Giada here in Canada but not Sandra Lee – I am guessing we have been mercifully spared?

  15. those look delicious–i love pistachios! sandra would have come up with something horrifying, i’m sure. heck, she would have just dunked storebout biscotti into a microwaved hershey bar and called it dessert!

  16. I tried that holiday biscotti recipe in a cookie form— the results were amazing! I think around Christmas time I’m going to definitely make these biscotti! yours look absolutely delicious!

  17. Great photos, and your post reminded that I have to start my fruitcakes! I love the flavor combo that you chose, especially the white chocolate.

  18. Hey… I thought Christmas season was supposed to start in October?! Isn’t that how it’s always been? :)

    The pistachio and dried cranberry combo sounds and looks delish.

  19. Wow! It looks and sounds delicious. I loved these. I especially liked the texture. Crunchy, but not to the point of breaking teeth. I’ll definitely add your holiday touch in the future. Thanks!

  20. “texture of a dog biscuit” That’s funny!
    Thanks for your comment… I hope you know i didnt really use cornmeal from 1985. Just so you know it was really from 1992.
    I love the title of your blog.. Ezra Pound is one of my favorite poets, and Pound Cake is one of my favorite cakes. Neat-o!

  21. OMG these photos are absolutely gorgeous. Makes me want to eat them right through the screen! I will definitely dip mine next time I make them. It was my first time making biscotti so I didn’t venture away from the instructions, but this won’t be the last time I make them!

  22. lol! Really funny post! I love the color of the cranberries and pistachios in the biscotti. They’re beautiful and I’m sure they were delicious too. :)

  23. Can’t think red and green yet…still thinking orange. Ah well, looking forward to trying the red and green biscotti though. Yep, sounds very festive. I love festive!!! Looking forward to dipping in dark chocolate next. Thanks for the great post.
    AmyRuth

  24. My husband would love your flavor combination–great idea! Sandra Lee scares me. I just saw a picture of her in the latest issue of TV Guide where she’s dressed up for her latest Halloween special. Quite disturbing. =)

Comments are closed.