A biscotto, a hard Italian biscuit, ideal served at the end of a meal to deep into sweet wine, is actually one of the few biscuits that does what it says on the label: it’s actually baked twice (bis – twice, cotto – cooked). This one is made with beautiful ingredients: fragrant pistachios, cranberries and orange. The added yellow cornmeal gives them a golden appearance and also make them complement the wonderful sweet red wine of Italy. Also excellent with a cup of coffee or tea.
Yield: about 2 dozen cookies
- 1 1/2 cup (250 grams) all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup (140 grams) yellow cornmeal
- 1 cup (200 grams) sugar
- Zest of 1 orange
- 1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup (90 grams) whole pistachios, plus chopped pistachios for dipping (optional)
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 1/2 cup Grand Marnier liqueur
- 3 oz. white chocolate, coarsely chopped
- 1 Tbsp. butter
Preheat an oven to 350°F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
Put the cranberries in a small bowl and cover with Grand Marnier liqueur. Soak until plumped, about 15 minutes. Drain, pat dry and set aside.
In a large bowl, combine the flour, yellow cornmeal, baking powder and salt and whisk to mix well. In another bowl, use a fork or your fingers to rub the orange zest into the sugar.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment beat the orange sugar and butter until light and creamy. Beat in the eggs until well blended, about 2 minutes. Add the vanilla extract. Gradually stir in the flour mixture and beat until smooth, about 3 minutes. Stir in the cranberries and the whole pistachios.
Divide the dough in two and shape into two logs about 1 1/2 inch high onto the prepared sheet pan. Bake for 15 minutes until just turning golden brown. Let cool about 15 minutes.
When the logs are cool, transfer them to a cutting board and cut on the diagonal into slices about 3/4 inch thick. Put the slices, cut side down, on the baking sheet and return to the oven. Bake until the slices are lightly golden, about 6 minutes. Turn the slices over and bake until golden on the other side, 5 to 6 minutes more. Transfer the cookies to a wire rack and let cool.
In the top of a double boiler set over but not touching gently simmering water, melt the chocolate and butter. Remove from the heat. Put the finely chopped pistachios in a small bowl. Working quickly, dip one-third of each cookie into the chocolate and then dip the chocolate-covered tip into the pistachios. Return the cookie to the rack until the chocolate sets.
Store biscotti in an air tight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.