Italian Biscotti with Pistachios and Cranberry

Ingredients:

6 large eggs

1 1/3 cup granulate sugar (300 g)

½ pound (2 sticks ) unsalted butter (225 g )

5 ½ cups all- purpose flour, divided (687g)

2 teaspoon baking powder (9g)

1 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract

½ cup pistachios (55 g)

½ cup hazelnuts ( any type of nut will work, can us 1 cup pistachios instead ) ( 55 g )

¾ to 1 cup dried cranberries (80 – 120 gr)

For chocolate coating:

2 to 3 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips (350-525 g )

½ cup white chocolate chips (87 g )

Shortening , 1 teaspoon

Diced pistachios

Instructions:

1-      Preheat oven to 350 F . spray a large baking sheet with non-stick-spray. Remove butter from refrigerator and let stand at room temperature for 15 -20 minutes before using in recipe.

2-      Place eggs and sugar into a mixer bowl and whisk on high speed until light in color and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Cut butter into small pieces, butter needs to be firm, not melting or runny. Swap mixer whisk to a flat beater and add the butter, mix for 3-4 minutes. Add vanilla or almond extract.

3-      Combine 4 cups of all –purpose flour with baking powder. Add approximately 2 cup of flour to mixer bowl and beat batter for 3-4 minutes until smooth and creamy and butter is well-incorporated into the batter. Add remaining 2 cups flour.

4-      Using a spatula, fold in 1 more cup of flour by hand. Turn cookie dough out onto floured work surface. Knead in the remaining ½ cup flour by hand. Dough should remain very soft but not sticking excessively. Lightly flour surface and knead dough for a few minutes until uniform and smooth. Shape dough into large rectangle. Sprinkle desired nuts and cranberries over the top (any type of nut or dried fruit /berry will work; I love to use chopped, dried apricots, too). Fold dough over nuts and knead to evenly incorporate.

5-      Divide dough in half. Shape long logs, approximately 20 inches long. Place onto prepared baking sheet. Using rolling pin, flatten logs to form bars approximately 1 inch thick and 5 to 6 inches wide. Bake in preheated oven for 20 -25 minutes until tops of cookie bars turn light, golden color.

6-      Remove bars from baking sheet and using long, serrated knife, cut into ½ inch to ¾ inch thick cookies. Return cookies onto baking sheet, spacing them about 1/2 centimeter. Set oven to 270 F. Bake cookies for 2 hours, 1 ½ hours for slightly softer cookies, 2 ½ for crunchier. Remove cookies from oven and let cool completely before garnishing with chocolate.

7-      For chocolate garnish: melt chocolate either using a double boiler or microwave. Place chocolate into glass bowl and add 1 teaspoon of shortening. The shortening will ensure that the chocolate melts smoothly. If using microwave, set power level to 50% and stir every 30 seconds until smooth. Do the same for the white chocolate. Transfer white chocolate into a disposable pastry bag.

8-      Dip cookies onto chocolate and place onto parchment paper. Can also dip into diced nuts, if desired. Use white chocolate to garnish the top of each cookie. Let chocolate set overnight at room temperature.

9-      Important: to keep the cookies fresh and crunchy, keep them stored in an air-tight container! Good for several weeks.

Desert, snacks and small bites