With green hues imparted by pistachios and red from dried cherries, these are always on my Christmas cookie platter. And they are as delicious as they are festive: the olive oil makes them crisp yet tender.
1⁄4 cup light olive oil
3⁄4 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons orange or lemon zest
2 large eggs
1 3⁄4 cups all-purpose flour
1⁄4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1⁄2 cup dried cherries
1 cup unsalted shelled pistachios, coarsely chopped
Glaze and finishing
10 ounces white baking chocolate
2 teaspoons solid vegetable shortening
1⁄2 cup finely chopped pistachios
Green and red crystallized sugar (optional)
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. In a large bowl, combine olive oil and sugar until well blended. Add vanilla and orange or lemon zest. Mix well to combine. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after ingredients are added.
In a separate bowl, combine flour, salt, and baking powder. Gradually add the flour mixture to the olive oil mixture. Mix until flour is incorporated. Fold in cherries or cranberries and pistachios.
Place dough on a lightly floured work surface and divide in half. Form dough into two logs that are 2-inches wide by 12-inches long. The dough will be sticky. Lightly wet hands with cool water to make shaping the logs easier. Place logs in center of two baking sheet pans lined with parchment paper. Bake for 35 minutes or until logs are light brown on bottom and firm to the touch on top. Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 275 degrees.
Transfer logs to a cutting board. Using a serrated knife, slice on a 45-degree angle into 1⁄2-inch slices. Place slices cut side down on the baking sheet. Bake biscotti for 4 minutes. Turn cookies over and bake for an additional 4 minutes. Transfer biscotti to a cooling rack.
Melt white chocolate and shortening in a double boiler or in a heatproof bowl placed over a pot of simmering water. Stir until smooth. Remove from heat. If using a microwave, process in second intervals, stirring chocolate until completely melted. Be careful not to overheat the white chocolate as it can easily burn. When slightly cooled but still liquid, dunk cookies into the melted chocolate. Place on a cooling rack and sprinkle with colored sugar or finely chopped pistachios. When the chocolate has dried, transfer to an airtight container. Separate layers of biscotti with clean parchment or waxed paper. Store at room temperature for 3 days or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
Mary DiSomma, Foodie, Author, Philanthropist, Mother, Wife and so much more...
Mary DiSomma, an enthusiastic and imaginative baker of cookies, is the author and publisher of A Gift of Cookies: Recipes to Share with Family & Friends. She is also a philanthropist, podiatrist, entrepreneur, and mother of four grown children.
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