It’s been a few weeks since Thanksgiving, with each passing day swiftly bringing us nearer to the holidays. But before the ball drops, welcoming us into 2013, I’d like to reflect upon a gratifying cooking date with Kathe, marking our fifth year cooking together in preparation for Thanksgiving. (I think we can rightly call it a tradition.)
We met that day with a hefty baking agenda including several pumpkin and apple pies, sweet potato casserole and dozens of cranberry biscotti. Loads of pots and pans, cutting boards and baking sheets, bowls and measuring spoons were strewn about Kathe’s kitchen. The flour was flying, sugar sprinkling and eggs cracking as we mixed, blended, and baked to our hearts content. Kathe was a good sport, offering up her just-been-professionally-cleaned kitchen. But with this kind of super-sized cooking we really couldn’t have efficiently cooked in my single oven, four burner stove petite kitchen.
We needed to spread out and fire up the double ovens. Her kitchen is just far better than mine for this kind of baking (or any cooking for that matter). So, she puts up with a double mess, probably holding her breath and praying I’ll clean up after my whirling dervish mess. But I always do. And when I go, hands clutching bags and carrying trays of goodies, I make sure to leave a close to sparkling kitchen behind.
With loads of laughs and good conversation, we have fond memories cooking together for Thanksgiving 2012. And as our children grow and life’s challenges get more complexwe rely on our times together to talk, cry, laugh and cook through life’s busy days. I’m most thankful for this gift.
Cranberry Almond Biscotti with White Chocolate Drizzle
2 ¾ cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
¾ cup sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
2 eggs, plus one egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons butter, softened
1 cup chopped blanched almonds
1 cup chopped whole cranberries
2 tablespoons course white sugar (optional)
1 egg for egg wash
2 bars good quality white chocolate
Pre-heat the oven to 325 degrees. In a food processor fitted with a steel blade, mix together flour, baking soda, butter, vanilla, eggs, sugar and salt until the mixture resembles wet sand. Transfer mixture to a parchment paper lined surface, mix the cranberries and almonds evenly into the dough and mix with your hands. Separate into three pieces and mold into three logs 8 inches long and 1 ¾ – 2 inches wide, pressing down until the dough is about an inch thick. Brush the top and sides of the log with egg wash and sprinkle with course sugar.
Bake in the center rack of the oven for approximately 30 minutes until golden. Remove from oven and cool for about 10 minutes. When cooled, slice into pieces ¼ inch thick on a diagonal. Place the cookies flat side down and bake for about 10 minutes. Flip once and bake the other side for another 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and place on a cooling rack.
Melt half the white chocolate in the microwave for a minute, stirring once. Cook for another 30 seconds on a reduced power until melted. Mix well until smooth. Spoon the chocolate into a small sandwich bag, cut a small piece of the corner and while squeezing toward the opening, drizzle the chocolate onto the biscotti in desired pattern. Allow the chocolate to harden for a few minutes in the refrigerator (or longer at room temperature) and then store the biscotti in an airtight container for several weeks. You can also freeze the cookies. Just make sure to place wax paper between the layers and store in an airtight freezer safe container.
Store the biscotti in an airtight container for several weeks.