Here’s a thought. Make holiday cookies in September and take all photos. Then simply post, post, post in December.
Anyway, just in time for an afternoon break, these wonderful Cornmeal and Dried Fruit Biscotti from Alice Medrich are just waiting for a sip of Vin Santo.
The genius here is the addition of crushed aniseed. The licorice aroma might scare you at first, but steady on. It perfumes the cookies beautifully and is especially nice with the dried cranberries and apricots.
I love cornmeal-based sweets, both cakes and cookies. These do not disappoint. It took willpower not to tinker and add some orange (because I love cranberry and orange so much), but Alice is a master of distinct flavor notes. Girlfriend does not need my help.
These cookies can be fragile so use a sharp serrated knife when cutting the baked loaf.
Cornmeal and Fruit Biscotti
Adapted from a recipe by Alice Medrich, Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy Melt-in-Your-Mouth Cookies
Makes about 30
1 c plus 2 Tbs (5 oz) all-purpose flour
1 c (5.375 oz) cornmeal (I used white)
½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
4 Tbs unsalted butter, softened
1 c (7 oz) white sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp finely grated lemon zest
1 Tbs aniseed, crushed
½ c coarsely chopped dried cranberries
½ c chopped dried apricots
1 c toasted, coarsely chopped almonds*
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment and set aside.
Whisk the flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt to blend.
Add flour mixture, mixing until moistened. Mix in dried fruit and nuts.
Turn the dough out onto the parchment lined baking sheet, and with damp hands, pat and squish the dough into a 12-inch by 2-inch log. Use a spatula or bench scraper to clean up any bits of dough clinging to the parchment around the log. (See pic at right: Pretty loaf on marble – no way to move that sticky baby to the pan. Use the parchment.)
Bake on the center oven rack for 35-40 minutes, rotating pan halfway through, until lightly browned and cracked on top. Cool on the cookie sheet on a rack for at least 15 minutes.
Slide the parchment onto a cutting surface. Use a long serrated knife to cut the loaf on a diagonal into slices about 3/8-inches wide. (If the loaf is too crumbly to cut, let cool completely.)
Transfer slices to cookie sheet, standing them ½ inch apart. Bake 15-20 minutes, until barely beginning to brown. Cool on rack. Once completely cooled, can be stored airtight for about two weeks.
Note: I cut my biscotti slices in half to increase my yield and, because, I don’t really like a long stick of biscotti.