Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Blueberry Almond Biscotti

I needed an antidote to the dreary weather we've had this year. What do you do when Spring is cool, gray and damp? day after day? week after week? I know, I know - "ignore the weather" is the recommended Pacific Northwest option. Go outside and do something fun or useful. But my inner California Girl core yearns for sunny Spring weather that lasts longer than one day in a row.

The Capt. put on his rain gear and installed a new bilge pump in the dinghy, but I chose to remain inside, busy in the galley where I could bask in the warmth of the oven. I thought the bright flavor of lemony blueberry biscotti might boost my spirits. Baking could add a little cheer to the day, while I waited for Mother Nature to take the hint. 

Surprise! it almost worked! The clouds lifted after lunch, spots of blue sky appeared (overhead at least) and the rain stopped. It was a temporary, but a very welcome occurrence. Hmmm, these could be awesomely powerful cookies. Maybe I should bake more often.

Blueberry Almond Biscotti
adapted from a Giada De Laurentiis recipe for Holiday Biscotti
Yield: 2 dozen cookies
Prep Time: 25 minutes                         Cooking Time: 55 minutes (split)

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest (or 1 tsp lemon extract)
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
3/4 cup almonds, thinly sliced or coarsely chopped
2/3 cup dried blueberries (I love the Costco packages)
1 tablespoon granulated sugar to sprinkle top (optional) 

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or use a silpat. 
  2. Whisk the flour and baking powder together in a medium-sized bowl: set aside. Using an electric mixer, beat the sugar, butter, lemon zest or extract, and salt in a large bowl until well-blended. Beat in the eggs one at a time. 
  3. Add the flour mixture and beat just until blended. Fold in the almonds and blueberries.
  4. Wet your hands slightly (to keep the dough from sticking) and form the dough into a log, about 13-inch long, 3-inch wide, on the prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle lightly with sugar, if you choose. 
  5. Bake until light golden, about 40 minutes. Cool for 30 minutes.
  6. Place the log on the cutting board. Using a very sharp serrated knife, cut the log on a diagonal into 1/2 to 3/4-inch-thick slices. 
  7. Arrange the slices, cut side down, on the baking sheet. Bake the biscotti until they are pale golden, about 15 minutes. Transfer the cookies to a rack and cool completely.
The biscotti hold well. Store them in an airtight container for up to 4 days, or wrap them in foil and freeze in resealable plastic bags up to 3 weeks... but only if you have strong willpower and no one else finds the secret stash.

Notes: the original recipe called for... 
   - dipping one end of each biscotti into melted white chocolate. I skip that part since we prefer them undipped, but a stiff frostinglike lemon juice and powdered sugar mix for dipping would be quite tasty. 
   - adding dried cranberries and pistachios instead of blueberries and almonds. We enjoy that version equally as well. 

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