Monday, December 15, 2008

Pistachio-Cranberry Biscotti

Holiday season is here! Small cakes and cookies are great gifts for distant family, and biscotti are perfect because they are light and sturdy: they can easily be sent by mail. The word biscotti comes from "bis" or twice, and "cotti," cooked. Biscotti means twice cooked.

These biscotti are Christmas colored because they have green pistachio and red cranberries! I recommend toasting the pistachios before using them to concentrate their flavor. Also, don't use salted nuts. The recipe only makes 12 biscotti, but as they rather time consuming (1.5-2 hours), I like to double the recipe because they keep for a long time in an airtight container (don't refrigerate).

This recipe is from Joy of Baking, as usual, my comments appear in [brackets.]

  • 1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup pistachios [toasted for 8-10 minutes in a 325 oven if possible]
  • 1/2 cup cranberries
  1. [Toast nuts acording to directions above.]
  2. With a mixer, mix eggs, sugar, and vanilla until thick, pale, and frothy for about 5 minutes in a large bowl.
  3. In a small-medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.
  4. Add to the egg mixture and beat until combined.
  5. Fold in the chopped pistachios and cranberries.
  6. Transfer the dough to your parchment lined baking sheet and form into a log, [about 2-3 inches tall]. You may have to dampen your hands to form the log as the dough is quite sticky.
  7. Bake for 25 minutes [I needed 40], or until [a knife poked in comes out clean, better to overbake than underbake. If necessary, cover with foil to prevent burning]
  8. Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack for about 10 minutes.
  9. Slice into 3/4 inch (2 cm) slices, on the diagonal. Place the biscotti, cut side down, on the baking sheet. Bake 10 minutes, turn slices over, and bake for another 10 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool. Store in an airtight container.
This recipe can be used as an all-pupose biscotti recipe. Use 1.2 cup nuts, 1/2 cup dried fruit or chocolate. If using almonds, replace vanilla with 1/2 tsp of almond extract. You can also dip the biscotti in chocolate for added yummyness!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Poll Results! Do you actually stuff the Turkey?

Yes, I cook the stuffing in the turkey
3 (27%)
No, I heat it separately so the turkey cooks faster
5 (45%)
I don't eat turkey for Thanksgiving
1 (9%)
I don't eat stuffing for thanksgiving
1 (9%)
I don't celebrate Thanksgiving at all
1 (9%)

Votes so far: 11

Soo, Thanksgiving theme returned! As you can tell, most people do NOT stuff the turkey. Well, this year I celebrated Turkey Day with my family and family friends, and we did in fact stuff the turkey with as much stuffing as possible and heated the remaining stuffing separately. The surprising part (to me) was that the stuffing cooked inside the turkey wasn't as good as the one cooked separately because it was all mushy, while last year the stuffing from the turkey was much tastier. I think this is because we made this year's stuffing from soft bread, and it soaked up all the turkey juice and became mushy. Last year the stuffing was based on dry cornbread that benefited from a turkey juice bath.
Because I am not the one who makes the stuffing or cooks the turkey, I can't really give a verdict on which option is better, but I do know is that turkey and stuffing and all the other Thanksgiving foods are delicious.