Cranberry Orange Biscotti

Cranberry Orange BiscottiCrazy Cookie Lady
My daughter and I fought the crowds this past weekend not because we were trying to find the best deals on the latest 75-inch flat-screen, but because we needed to stock up on cookie tins. Now, you would think that this is a pretty straightforward mission. They’re just cookie tins, after all. But, you would be wrong because when it comes to cookie tins and cookie gifting I am very high maintenance, my friends. I have serious issues.

Here’s the deal… I want anything I give to people to look a certain way, whether or not it’s cookies. I have been known to drive great distances to achieve this goal. From the boxes (or tins) to the ribbon, everything has to be just right. Unfortunately for my daughter, she had to go with me on my journey because she wants to give cookies to her friends. You might be surprised to know that finding cookie tins on the first weekend in December can be a challenge. This is mainly because all of the other cookie bakers with issues, who are better planners than I am, have already stocked up leaving a less than abundant selection in their wake.

Finding the right tin takes much thought and consideration. Do you go with the round tin which is traditional but darn near impossible to put a ribbon on or the square version? What about the tin’s color and decoration? Will it be a monochromatic holiday this year or something more whimsical? Then there is size to consider. Just how many of those tasty treats are you willing to part with? And, would it require a deeper tin? So many options it makes your head spin!! And last but not least, do you get a matching mini tin for the toffee you plan to make? It’s madness! Madness I tell you!

Anyway, we managed to find the tins that meet all of our needs. Now for the hard part, narrowing down the list of cookies we want to fill them with. For my family, it’s not the holidays without our Swedish Ginger Cookies. And, you can find multiple lists of cookie possibilities on our Christmas Cookie Collection post.

This year I am definitely including Cranberry Orange Biscotti. I tested a batch about a month ago and my kids went crazy for them…

Cranberry Orange Biscotti
Adapted from King Arthur Flour
Yields 24 to 30 biscotti (depending on cut size)

6 tablespoons butter, salted or unsalted
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Zest of one orange
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2 large eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour (we use King Arthur Brand)
3/4 cup dried cranberries

Preheat the oven to 350°F and lightly grease on a large baking sheet (about 18″ x 13″) or line it with parchment paper.

Make the dough
In a medium-sized bowl, beat the butter, sugar, salt, vanilla, orange zest, and baking powder until the mixture is smooth and creamy.

Beat in the eggs. The batter may look slightly curdled. With your mixer set on low speed, add the flour, stirring until smooth. The dough will be sticky. Gently fold in the cranberries.

Form the loaves
Plop the dough onto the prepared baking sheet. Divide it in half, and shape it into two 9 1/2″ x 2″ loaves that are about 3/4″ tall. Straighten the loaves, and smooth their tops and sides—you can use a wet spatula or even your wet hands.

Bake the loaves
Bake the dough for 25 minutes. Remove the loaves from the oven.

Using a spray bottle filled with room-temperature water, lightly spritz the loaves making sure to cover all sides as well as the top and bottom. This will make slicing the biscotti much easier.

Reduce the oven temperature to 325°F.

Slice the loaves
Allow the loaves to sit for 5 minutes to absorb the moisture. Then, using a sharp chef’s knife or serrated knife, cut the loaves crosswise on a diagonal into 1/2″ to 3/4″ slices. Be certain to hold your knife straight up and down, perpendicular to the pan to be certain the slices are of an even thickness from top to bottom. This will make them able to stand on end during their second bake.

Bake the biscotti
Stand the biscotti up on edge on the prepared baking sheet so only the bottom is touching. Return the biscotti to the oven, and bake them until they feel very dry and are beginning to turn golden (about 25 to 30 minutes). They will still be a tiny bit moist in the very center if you break off a piece, but the biscotti will continue to dry out as they cool.

Remove the biscotti from the oven, and transfer them to a rack to cool.

Store the biscotti
Store the biscotti in an airtight container at room temperature and they will stay fresh for weeks.

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