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Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2007 08:21 pm

Biscotti? That’s amore!

Rock your world with rock-hard cranberry-pistachio treats

Untitled Document My friend Maura is far from a cook. She’ll tell you so herself. But a baker? Damn straight. So what if she’s a one-hit wonder — Maura makes some mean cranberry-pistachio biscotti. These dried-fruit-and-nut-studded biscuits earned her approval (and, ultimately, love) from a group of people she now calls her in-laws. That was three holiday seasons ago, when Miss Catholic Girl fell in love with Jewish Boy Wonder and was asked to bring a baked treat to what perhaps was her first Hanukkah gathering. Reindeer cookies wouldn’t exactly make a good first impression, so she asked me for input. A sucker for love, particularly if the lure is culinary, I told her even a beginning baker can’t go wrong with biscotti. Apparently she rocked the house with her decidedly rock-hard treats (that’s why you dip them in coffee, silly), because soon she was invited to Passover Seder and then — whaddya know? — Hanukkah rolled around again, with a request for those biscotti.

Culinary questions? Contact Kim O’Donnel at kim.odonnel@creativeloafing.com.

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter Four eggs, plus an additional beaten egg 2 teaspoons vanilla extract 3 1/2 cups flour 1 teaspoon baking powder 1/2 teaspoon salt 1 cup dried cranberries 1 1/2 to 2 cups unsalted pistachios, shelled and chopped
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. With a food processor or electric mixer, cream sugar and butter until lighter in color and a bit fluffy. Add four eggs and vanilla until blended. Add flour, baking powder and salt. Pulse until mixture is just combined. Transfer dough to a large mixing

bowl. Add dried cranberries and pistachios and mix with your hands to integrate.
Shape dough into logs at least 12 inches long and at least 2 inches wide; think rectangle, not round, but it’s up to you. Place on baking sheets that are lined with parchment paper. With a pastry brush or a rubber spatula, lightly coat the top with beaten egg. Bake until half-done, about 25 minutes. If the center is still doughy, return sheets to oven. Cool slightly and then cut logs on a diagonal, using a serrated knife, into approximately half-inch slices. Turn slices so that they are lying down and spread evenly on your baking sheets. Return sheets to oven to finish baking, about 15 minutes. Cool completely before storing. Stored in an airtight container, biscotti can keep for a few weeks.
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