Dried Cherry, Almond & Orange Biscotti
I’ve tried to sit down and write this post on three different occasions now, but that’s what happens when there’s a newborn baby in your life. Maeve has been amazing so far – she feeds well, sleeps well and has had relatively few meltdowns (far less than I’ve had in the last month, anyway). It’s so hard to believe she’ll be four weeks old this coming Sunday; I feel a million years older since giving birth.
Having my mom here has been a godsend, and that’s putting it lightly. I don’t know what I’ll do when she leaves at the end of September and I suddenly have to do my own laundry again – I’m trying not to think about it too much! We have a jam-packed September planned, which makes me exhausted just thinking about it but also very excited. My father is flying into Ireland on Friday and my oldest brother will be arriving the next day.
The baby’s christening is set for September 14th, which, in retrospect, I should have planned for the weekend before since we’ll be missing both the Waterford Harvest Festival and the Grow It Yourself Gathering, both planned for the same weekend. I was so looking forward to both events, but will just have to wait til next year to partake – it’s not every day your first-born gets christened, after all, and there will be a huge family gathering afterwards in Patrick’s hometown in Tipperary.
Aside from the christening, we’ll be taking my family around Ireland – to Kilkenny, Kerry, Cork, Wexford and Galway – to sight-see and have a mini-vacation. My parents are looking forward to the Listowel Races, which Pat’s Auntie Bridget has been telling them about since last year, and I am looking forward to eating my way around Galway et. al.
I am slowly getting back into the swing of things since giving birth. It’s been tough adjusting to the demanding schedule of a newborn as well as giving myself time to heal. Yesterday was amazing, though. Maeve had a great nap in the afternoon, giving me time to make a stew for dinner and some crunchy biscotti to have with our tea.
I love biscotti. My favourite flavour combination is one my former chef used to make: pistachio, milk chocolate and dried cranberry. Those three things just complement each other so very well.
Yesterday I saw I had sliced almonds and dried cherries sitting in the cupboard. I was going to make cookies but then thought better of it. It takes just as much time to make biscotti, the end result is often better and, frankly, it’s less work than a drop cookie recipe. And right now, at this point in my life, I am all about less work.
Dried Cherry, Almond & Orange Biscotti
1 1/2 cups AP flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon (optional)
3/4 cup sliced almonds
3/4 cup dried cherries (or cranberries, or raisins)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract
zest of one orange
1/3 cup melted butter
1 egg white, slightly beaten
granulated sugar, for sprinkling
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees (180 degrees Celsius, no fan). Line a baking sheet with parchment and set aside.
- In a bowl, mix your dry ingredients together (flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon) and add the almonds and cherries. Mix well and set aside.
- In another bowl (or using your stand mixer with the whisk attachment) beat together the eggs, sugar, vanilla, almond extract and butter. Remove the whisk attachment and attach the paddle.
- Add in the dried ingredients all at once. Mix until it all comes together, then turn dough out onto a well floured surface (if the dough is too sticky knead a bit more flour into it to make it workable).
- Divide the dough in two equal portions. Shape each portion into a 12 inch-long rectangular log (*note: at this point you can wrap them in plastic and freeze them indefinitely). Place them on the baking sheet and lightly brush the tops with the egg white. Sprinkle sugar over the tops.
- Bake the logs for about 20-25 minutes, until the top is golden brown and they’ve baked through. Allow them to cool for 5-10 minutes, then, using a chef’s knife, slice the logs on the diagonal making biscotti fingers that are approximately 1 inch thick.
- Place the sliced biscotti, standing up, back on the cookie sheet and return them to the oven. Bake for an additional 15-20 minutes, until they’re crunchy and light. Great for dunking in tea or coffee!