Chocolate Chip Cranberry Biscotti

I’ve learned that dried cranberries make just about anything better. Can you honestly think of one thing that dried cranberries wouldn’t go good in? Cookies – check! Granola – check! They can often be a wonderful addition to savory dishes as well, such as chicken and even omelets! I look forward to Thanksgiving every year with great ernest, knowing that it’s prime cranberry season. Last year at our Turkey Day meal, we had a cranberry port ice cream and a panna cotta pie with candied dried cranberries on top. I obviously hog the cranberry sauce as it’s passed around the table.

The gory process of cranberry port ice cream: 

I have always wanted to make biscotti and when I saw I had some cranberries in my cupboard, I figured why the heck not try throw them in. My precious bag of chocolate chips is slowly getting smaller and smaller but I’m hoping with an onslaught of American visitors coming next month, my stock will be replenished! When I was younger, I used to eat biscotti like no bodies business. I always remember cafes selling them in giant glass jars right at the check-out and I would always beg my mom or dad to buy one for me.

Having never made these before, I did some research behind these crunchy cookies. They originated in Italy, are usually almond based and are twice baked to receive that famous crunchy tecture. Originally they didn’t have any fats or yeast in them, but the recipe I used for called for a little bit of oil (I actually used butter) and some baking powder. I didn’t have any almond extract either, but added some almond flour I had, which was more understated than I imagine extract would have been, but still delicious.

These are really such an easy cookie to make, but always give off the appearnce of seeming quite complicated. I want to try making biscotti again, playing with different flours and fillings. I’m thinking a nutella biscotti is definitely in the works 😉

Cranberry Chocolate Chip Biscotti

(Adapted from Cooking Lite)

INGREDIENTS: 

  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon melted butter
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract (or 1 tbs almond flour)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs
  • Cooking spray

DIRECTIONS: 

1) Preheat oven to 350°.

2) Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups, and level with a knife. Combine the flour and the next 5 ingredients in a large bowl.

3) Combine butter, extracts, and eggs; add to flour mixture, stirring until well-blended (dough will be dry and crumbly). Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface; knead lightly 7 to 8 times.

4) Divide the dough in half. Shape each portion into an 8-inch-long roll. Place rolls 6 inches apart on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray; flatten each roll to 1-inch thickness.

5) Bake at 350° for 35 minutes. Remove rolls from baking sheet; cool 10 minutes on a wire rack. Cut each roll diagonally into 15 (1/2-inch) slices.

6) Place the slices, cut sides down, on baking sheet. Reduce oven temperature to 325°, and bake for 10 minutes. Turn cookies over; bake an additional 10 minutes (cookies will be slightly soft in center but will harden as they cool).

7) Remove from baking sheet; cool completely on wire rack. 

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November Daring Bakers’ Challenge: Crostata

In addition to all the baking I had in-store for Thanksgiving, I also had to complete my Daring Bakers’ challenge for the month. I decided to wait until the end of the month,  so I could use the crust for a pumpkin pie, given the necessity of pumpkin pie at any Thanksgiving table. Some people think that pumpkin pie isn’t a necessary item on a Thanksgiving dessert menu. I on the other hand, think it’s the only dessert worth having. I wait all year for it!

The 2010 November Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Simona of briciole. She chose to challenge Daring Bakers’ to make pasta frolla for a crostata. She used her own experience as a source, as well as information from Pellegrino Artusi’s Science in the Kitchen and the Art of Eating Well.

The crostata was really quite simple to make – just like most other pie doughs with the addition of an egg. It was a little dense the following day out of the fridge, so I made sure to let it warm up a bit before it rolled out. After all the baking of the weekend, we only had a pie tin left, so it was not exactly a tart per-se as the recipe wanted it to be, but I still think it was delicious nonetheless. I was worried the crostata wouldn’t cover the whole pan given how big it was, but my worries were not needed, as it fit perfectly.

Of course, I find it almost impossible to bake a pie without burning it, especially pumpkin, which has to stay in the oven for so long. After 40 minutes, my friend said to me “Oh right, we should have tented it!” Oh well. The side was a little burnt, but the inside still tasted yummy. I love pumpkin pie, I wait for it every year, and with the addition of a new pie crust, it was better than ever. I just followed the recipe off the side of a can for the filling, and voila! A perfect (albeit little bit burnt) pumpkin crostata pie.

Head over to http://thedaringkitchen.com/ to see the recipe and other daring adventures!

Thanksgiving Part I

Sadly, Thanksgiving weekend has come to a close. I had the most amazing weekend upstate with my family and friends. We made so much food, ate so much food, played loads Taboo, went to a spinning class Thanksgiving morning to not feel quite as guilty that night ;-), walked in the woods and just had an all-around amazing time.

Here is just a peak at some of the baking adventures that went on. I’ll be sure to get the rest of soon, but now I must go do some homework that I have neglected all weekend.

 

 

Thanksgiving Recipes

It’s that time of year again, perhaps my favorite time of year, THANKSGIVING! I myself have been planning what I’m going to make for Thanksgiving dessert probably since I left the table last year 😉 This year I’m headed upstate to my uncle’s house where we’re having big ol’ family get together. I’d say about 20 of us will be in and out of the house throughout the course of the weekend, including my roommate, a friend from elementary school and of course all the cousins, uncles, aunts and Poppa.

Now, most Thanksgiving family reunions are not complete without copious amounts of food and my family is no exception. There is always something to eat during a family event of mine, no matter the time of day. The items that we will have on the dinner table are too many to count, but all I know for sure right now is that I’ll be making an epic menu for dessert. Just a few ideas that have popped into my head so far are pumpkin ice cream, pumpkin flan, pecan shortbread and cranberry upside down cake. I’ll probably have to narrow down my choices a bit so I don’t spend all my time baking, but then again, I don’t think I’d mind 😉 I’ll be sure to update once I’ve made up my mind!

Here are just a few recipe ideas that can accompany any Thanksgiving weekend celebration:

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies – A fun treat for kids, adults and everyone in between.

Chewy Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies –  A classic cookie with a pumpkin twist.

Pumpkin Muffins – Perfect breakfast for a cool fall day.

Pumpkin Pie Cupcakes – Turning pie into cake!