If you’re a coffee lover (or even if you’re not), Italian biscotti are some of the best cookies to keep in stock. Follow this simple recipe for a sour cherry and pistachio biscotti, and soon you won’t be able to have your morning cup of coffee without a piece in hand.
The other day, I made a stop at a friend’s house in the late morning. I was there to drop something off, but when I arrived, she offered me a much-needed cup of coffee and a fresh-from-the-oven biscotti for dipping. Hers was laced with almond extract and dotted with M&M’S®. Its crisp texture softened in the warm bath of my coffee as I repeatedly plunged it into the cup.
I walked away from that visit warmed by the delicious combination of coffee and cookie, and I vowed to make biscotti more of a regular routine just as my friend does (she is never without a full cookie jar).
As far as cookies go, biscotti are great to have around. They actually improve with age and can be made very quickly. Oh sure, there’s the two-step baking process, but most of that is hands-off time, and the perfume that fills the house from multiple bakes is well worth the extra effort.
In Italian, biscotti literally means “twice-cooked,” and in their classic form, the cookies are often studded with almonds and flavored with almond extract. But these tasty coffee accompaniments can be made to suit your personal cravings, which is why you won’t see almond extract in my recipe, as I tend to shy away from it. Of course, you can use it if you’d like, just substitute the vanilla extract for almond, or use a combination of the two. For a more subtle almond flavor, consider using two teaspoons of vanilla extract, and one teaspoon of almond.
This simple recipe for dried cherry and pistachio biscotti can stand on its own and pairs great with a cup of coffee or tea, but feel free to use it as a base for your own unique creation. There are so many options when it comes to these delectable treats! You might add bits of dark chocolate to the mix or even finish the cookies with a chocolate drizzle.
Biscotti are the perfect surprise for an unexpected visitor or to accompany that afternoon cup of coffee or tea. Make one batch and you’ll want to keep these cookies as a regular staple in your kitchen.
Dried Cherry & Pistachio Biscotti
Adapted from epicurious.com
• 1 cup sugar
• 1 stick unsalted butter, melted
• 3 tablespoons brandy
• 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
• 1 cup pistachios, lightly toasted, cooled, and coarsely chopped
• 1 cup dried cherries
• 3 large eggs
• 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
• 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
• 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1. Stir together sugar, butter, brandy, and vanilla extract in a large bowl, then stir in pistachios, dried cherries, and eggs. Stir in flour, baking powder, and salt until just combined.
2. Cover and chill dough for 30 minutes.
3. Preheat oven to 350°F with rack set in the middle.
4. Using moistened hands, separate the dough in half and form two 16×2” loaves on a large, ungreased baking sheet.
5. Bake until pale golden, about 30 minutes. Carefully transfer loaves to a rack and cool for 15 minutes.
6. Cut loaves into ¾” slices with a serrated knife.
7. Arrange biscotti cut side down on a clean baking sheet and bake again until golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer to rack and cool completely.
Baking tip: I like to bake my biscotti until they are crisp but not rock hard. I find that they’re more pleasant to eat when I’m not gnawing on them.
Of course, you can enjoy your biscotti as soon as it’s cooled, but you’ll find that the flavors and texture will actually improve over the next several days. They also make the perfect cookie to gift along with some nice tea or coffee beans. At room temperature, you can keep the cookies in an airtight container for up to two weeks. Frozen, these cookies will keep for up to 3 months.
Have you made biscotti before? If so, I’d love to hear about some of your favorite flavor combinations! Now that biscotti is a part of my regular routine, I’m always on the lookout for creative flavors. Let us know what you like to add in the comments!