Gourmandistan

Boozy cherry almond biscotti demonstrate thinking inside and outside the box

Boozy Cherry Almond BiscottiMany years ago, Steve had his first day at a new advertising agency, receiving a t-shirt with the company logo and the slogan, “think outside the box.” Steve received it politely but did not wear the shirt in public, as the clichéd slogan struck him as kind of silly. (They weren’t alone in their platitudes, as Steve’s previous agency liked to boast it “put the client at the center of everything we do.”) However, a recent batch of biscotti Michelle whipped up literally went “outside the box,” as she strayed from the directions found inside a package of almond paste with delicious results.

Boozy Cherry Almond Biscotti

The original recipe was called “Double Almond Biscotti,” but Michelle decided that even though almond paste itself was a bit unusual for biscotti, more could be done. Having considered some other biscotti directions (the urge, of course, came from Michelle’s searching for something sweet), she decided that macerated cherries might make the biscotti a bit more special. She soaked some chopped dried cherries in cherry brandy and added them to the biscotti batter. The biscotti were a bit more crumbly and buttery than “traditional” biscotti, but who needs tradition when you can go “outside the box”? Though, we must admit, it helps to have a box in the first place.

BOOZY CHERRY ALMOND BISCOTTI

  • Servings: about 20 biscotti
  • Print

(adapted from this recipe on a box of Odense almond paste)

  • 1 c. dried cherries, chopped
  • 1/2 c. kirsch (cherry brandy)
  • 7 oz. almond paste
  • 1-3/4 c. flour
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 stick (8 TB) butter, cold, chopped into small pieces
  • 1/2 c. slivered almonds, toasted and cooled
  • 4 large egg whites
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350° F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment.

Soak dried cherries in kirsch for about an hour, then strain.

Grate almond paste into a large bowl. Add flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and butter. Mix well, using a pastry cutter, as if you were making a pie crust. When mixture is crumbly and butter is incorporated, add almonds and drained cherries and toss to distribute.

Whisk egg whites and vanilla together in a bowl until frothy. Add to dry ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon. Then, using your hands, mix until dough holds together in a ball.

Turn dough out onto a clean, lightly floured surface. With floured hands, roll the dough into a 2″ thick log. Cut in half, then roll each into a log 10″ long. Place the logs on the parchment-lined cookie sheet, several inches apart. Flatten the logs to a 3/4″ thickness.

Bake in the center of the oven for 25 minutes, turning the pan once halfway through cooking time. Remove pan from oven and let cool on a rack for 10 minutes.

Reduce oven temperature to 300° F.

Carefully pull the parchment containing the cookie logs onto a cutting board. Using a serrated bread knife, but sawing no more than necessary, slice the biscotti on the diagonal into 3/4″-thick slices. Using the knife, carefully transfer the cookies to two parchment-lined cookie sheets. Return to oven and bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven, turn each cookie upside-down and bake for about 15 minutes more. Cool on a wire rack.

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28 comments

  1. Very good idea indeed…rules would not be made if they were not meant to be broken. I remember my first day at an advertising agency (Y&R, London) which was only 48 hrs away from my last day…it only took them that time to realise I hadn’t grasped the concepts of “team player” or “work ethic”. I treat that “firing” as a badge of honour:)

    • I’ve generally been ok with the “work ethic” thing. It was the “team player” that got me every time. No, thank you, I don’t want to be on your stupid softball team… 😉

    • Merci, Nadia! I don’t like those ones that practically break one’s teeth. So was pleased at how these turned out. (We took some to Steve’s Italian mom, though, and I’m not sure she’ll agree with me.)

  2. I am glad to hear that Steve has such standards about hackneyed phrases! And I’m glad to hear about crumbly, buttery biscotti–that sounds better to me than the traditional!

    • I’ve never been a fan of dipping cookies. I don’t know why. God knows if you’ve read this blog for a while you know I’m game for trying most anything. 😉 But how about a piece and a glass of wine? That’ll do.

    • We took some to Steve’s Italian mother (well, aunt, really, but you get the idea). Quite different than hers, which are the traditional oh-god-I-might-break-a-tooth-if-I-don’t-dip-this-in-something variety. I’m not sure she’ll approve!

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