Friday, June 26, 2009

Cranberry Walnut Biscotti

It's official.. I am back in my old stomping grounds of upstate New York, and couldn't be happier. I've fallen asleep to the sounds of laughing neighbors sitting out by a campfire to all hours of the night, the silent beauty of heat lightning in the distance, and a sky so full of stars, it makes me question my memory of how big the universe really is. That's right folks, I am in the sticks. For those uninitiated to the sticks, you might be more familiar with the boonies, off the beaten path, or the middle of nowhere. These here sticks come complete with John Deere tractors on the roads, friendly neighbors that wave when you drive by, and small towns full of charm and personality. What better to do when in my favorite place, than make one of my favorite things.

I've made this recipe a few times since I first ran across it in Food Network Magazine. If you haven't checked out this magazine yet, I cannot give it a strong enough endorsement. I'm a very visually oriented learner, and the layout and photos of the recipes and their components are some of the most visually pleasing I've encountered. This recipe comes from their "Out of the Box Challenge" feature, in which three recipe developers from the Food Network Kitchens are given one boxed or premade ingredient from which they develop their best recipe. This month's feature ingredient is Jiffy Corn muffin mix. The other two featured recipes were Cornmeal blini bites and corn muffin churros. Both look fantastic. This is my slightly tweaked version of that FNM recipe.

Cranberry Walnut Biscotti
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 8.5 oz box of corn muffin mix
2/3 cup sugar
1 cup dried chopped cranberries
3/4 cup chopped walnuts
2/3 cup chopped milk chocolate
2/3 cup chopped white chocolate
1 tsp lemon zest
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
Juice of 1/2 lemon

Chocolate Drizzle
8 oz semi sweet chocolate
1 Tbsp Canola oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Mix the flour, muffin mix, sugar, cranberries, walnuts, lemon zest and both chocolates together. Make a well in the center and add eggs and vanilla. Mix in with a fork, then add lemon juice to form a stiff dough.

Using well floured hands, knead dough until consistency is uniform. Form a 12" x 4" log of dough, and place on baking sheet.

Bake 30 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove and let cool on baking rack for about 10 minutes. Using a serrated knife, slice the log in thin slices (roughly 3/4" wide). Return slices to parchment lined pan and bake for an additional 20 minutes. Cool and add chocolate drizzle.

For chocolate drizzle, place semi sweet chips in top pan of a double boiler. Bring water to a boil and stir chocolate, adding canola oil until smooth. Coat a spoon with chocolate a quickly zig zag back and forth over biscotti, until desired chocolate level is achieved. Cool and dig in.

Cooking Notes:
1. I used cooking spray instead of parchment paper, worked well.
2. The add ins (nuts, chocolate, cranberries) are only limited by your imagination. Just remember the more add ins you use, the more liquid is needed to stretch the dough.
3. Keep the chocolate mix ins a bit larger, especially the white chocolate. I chopped them to about 3/4" chunks. You can't see that the white chocolate is in the biscotti if they are smaller, and it really adds to the appearance and personality of the recipe.
4. The texture of this is quite different than regular crunchy biscotti. I find it to be crisp like biscotti on the outside, and like a thick and slightly moist shortbread on the inside. For me, this is perfect, but if you like yours traditionally crispy, bake the sliced pieces a bit longer.

I've put up a few pictures of the lovely lake I get to spend the next week relaxing on, because well, I couldn't resist. Here's hoping your biscotti are delicious and that you are spending your weekend at your favorite place as well.


Miranda said...

First of all, your pics are beautiful.
I love biscotti and this looks amazing.

Laura said...

Thanks Miranda! They really are pretty delicious... enjoy your weekend :)

Anonymous said...

the sticks look beautiful. though not as beautiful as your biscotti. i think i could eat all 6 in one sitting with a big cup of joe.

CaptnRachel aka Tha Pizza Cutta said...

you make a city girl want to head to the country and eat your biscotti. Thanks for sharing and enjoy your summer!

Danielle said...

That biscotti looks delicious and beautiful, as well as the photo!!

Trish said...

Now interesting. Very yummy biscotti...yum!

Malina said...

these look delicious! I might make these for my birthday.
I bet they will love it!