I love Christmas baking and can’t wait to get going on it the minute Halloween is over! This Holiday Biscotti recipe is one of my favourite Christmas baking recipes and always one of the first things I make. And because I only make it once a year, I make a lot of it – it’s very popular around here. The pistachios and cranberries give it a really festive look, making it perfect for giving as an edible gift, sharing at a cookie exchange, a Christmas brunch or just for dunking in your own morning coffee!
Give it as an edible gift:
If I give it as a gift, I wrap it in festive packaging and put it inside a Christmas mug with a coffee shop gift card (great gift for teachers), on my baking trays and/or bring it along to holiday potluck dinners or brunches as a hostess gift, along with some delicious gourmet coffee.
What is biscotti:
Essentially, “biscotti” means twice baked cookies – they are aptly named according to their method of baking. When these Italian cookies were first created centuries ago, they were baked twice, in order to form their unique shape and allow the cookies to develop their signature crispy texture. The dough is shaped into a large log, baked, then sliced into cookies. These cookies are then baked again, then turned over and baked to perfection!
For years I didn’t think I liked biscotti because I had only tried it in coffee shops, where I found it too hard (like break-a-tooth-hard) and it was practically almost always stale. This biscotti is softer than most and has a really nice flavour (again, anise and fennel get a little more playtime here!) but it is still pure deliciousness and won’t fall apart when dipped in coffee, tea, hot chocolate, cider or warm milk (or any hot drink of your choice). But the wonderful thing about this biscotti is that you don’t HAVE to dip it – it is soft enough to eat without dipping! So, if you are looking for a festive Christmas cookie or a unique cookie exchange prospect, then give this biscotti a try!
- ¼ cup butter softened
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ¼ tsp salt
- 3 eggs
- ½ tsp vanilla
- ¼ tsp almond extract
- 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ tsp anise seed
- ½ tsp fennel seed
- 1 cup dried cranberries
- ¾ cup pistachios shelled and chopped
- ½ cup dried apricots finely chopped
Garnish: Egg Wash
- 1 egg
- 1 tbsp water
In a large mixing bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; beat until combined. Beat in the 3 eggs, vanilla, and almond extract until combined. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Stir in any remaining flour with a wooden spoon.
Chop the pistachios and apricots (separately) into small pieces in your food processor. Stir in the anise and fennel seed and the cranberries, pistachios and apricots into the mixture. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours or until dough is easy to handle.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Divide dough in half. Shape each half into a 12 inch log about 1 ½ inches thick. Place loges 3 inches apart on the lightly greased cookie sheet. Flatten each log to a ¼ inch thick loaf. Combine the 1 egg and 1 tablespoon of water to make and egg wash. Brush egg mixture over loaves.
Bake in preheated oven for 25- 30 minutes or until light brown. Cool loaves on cookie sheet for 1 hour or until completely cooled
When the loaves are cool, preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Transfer loaves to a cutting board. Cut each loaf diagonally in ½ inch thick slices. Lay slices, cut sides down on cookie sheet. Bake in the preheated oven for 5 minutes. Turn slices over and bake 5 minutes more or until biscotti are dry and crisp. Transfer to wire rack.
**I keep them fresh in the freezer until I’m ready to use (they’ll keep fresh at room temp for 3 days or so)
Visit me on Pinterest for more great Christmas Baking & Edible Gift ideas!