Making biscotti is fun and not difficult—and OH the result! I have been in a biscotti kind of mood lately, looking for something tasty to backstroke through my tea, and also to dip in that great sweet after-dinner Vin Santo that is lurking among my favorite wines. That said, I thought it might be a good time to make some Cherry Almond Biscotti. These biscotti are really delicious. They are little beauties, with their little bits of deep red color from the cherries – dried, of course. Biscotti, of course, keep a long time in a sealed container so you can make them now and enjoy them all season. I refer you to my previous post on biscotti where you’ll find information on storing them and also some interesting history on these little biscuits. (See this link: Lemon Ginger Biscotti for more info!)
What makes these little guys special? Besides being great little “dunkers”, the Cherry Almond Biscotti offer some flavors, that when used together, really combine for interesting impact. The almonds provide crunch and are toasted to bring out their best flavor. However, the little surprise is the addition of anise to the batter. Mmmm…This gives them an essence that is soothing and fragrant and, with the anise, pairs well with after dinner coffee or espresso. Think of making these as a little “aromatherapy” because that is exactly what will happen. I can think of no better late night snack than one of two of these biscotti with a lovely glass of Vin Santo or even Sambuca for dunking – just like the Italians do. Give your cup of chamomile tea a sweet unexpected dipper before bed. It will surely be enhanced and brightened with that tasty of cherry and almond.
A word about the cherries: Try to use a really good dried cherry for this recipe. The sweeter the better! I was fortunate making these for this demonstration, as I had received an incredible little “care” package of dried Michigan cherries from my friend, Peggy, who sent them from her home in Birmingham, near Detroit. These cherries were large and so sweet that I had a hard time not eating them before they made it to the batter. I have to admit that several landed in my mouth during the cooking process. The quality of the cherries does make a difference in this recipe.
Honestly, they need no further embellishment – so I will rely on my old “friend”, Cicero, from my high school Latin training for the literal translation- “Res Ipsa Loquitur”—The thing speaks for itself!
You’ll soon see…
CHERRY ALMOND BISCOTTI
Prep: 25 minutes
Bake: 1 hour
3 1/2 c. flour
1 c. sugar
1/8 tsp. salt
2 1/2 Tsp. baking powder
1 stick butter cut in pieces
2 1/2 tsp. liquid anise ( in spice aisle of grocer)
1 c. dried cherries
1 c. toasted sliced almonds
In food processor (you can also use a mixer) – place flour, sugar, salt and baking powder. Mix quickly.
Add butter pieces and process to work in until mixture in crumbly.
Whisk: eggs and anise.
Add eggs to the processor and mix until just combined and dough just begins to form.
Add cherries and almonds.
Pulse a couple of times to work into the dough. Then turn dough out onto board and finish working the cherries and almonds in with hands.
Form a ball with the dough.
Divide into 2 balls.
Roll each ball into a rope about 10 “ long.
Form each rope into 2 logs about 10×2.
Place on baking sheet covered with parchment paper and flatten a little.
Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
Remove from oven and carefully remove to a rack or board for 15-20 minutes.
Then cut into 1/2” thick slices.
Return slices to baking sheets (with parchment). Leave a little space between them so they will dry properly.
Reduce the oven temp. to 325 and bake 30 minutes more to dry the biscotti.
When finished, remove the biscotti and cool completely.
Optional: If you like, drizzle a little glaze on the tops, when cool. Make this up quickly from a cup of powdered sugar , 1 tsp. anise, 1 tbsp. milk. Adjust your liquid amounts on this if needed to get the consistency you want.
These lovelies keep a long time in a sealed plastic container.
You won’t be able to put the CHERRY ALMOND BISCOTTI away before trying one or two – so have a cup of tea, coffee, or espresso ready for a chaser!
PARLA COME MANGI!
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Food Photos By Tommy Hanks Photography