One of the things I look forward most to when going home to Prince Edward Island is settling in around my parent’s kitchen table with a hot mug of tea and a little sweet after dinner.
Like clockwork, as everyone’s finishing up their last few leisurely bites of home-cooked comfort, you’ll hear the kettle begin to sing its little tune. Nothing but Red Rose orange pekoe for my family, I always (much mom’s distaste) add a nice big splash of milk and a generous teaspoon of sugar, grabbing a few cookies out of the jar on the way back to the table. There’s no calorie counting on PEI, okay folks. I’ve tried, it’s a waste of time. Remember the oreo overload bites I wrote about over the holidays? Yeah…my clean eating habits don’t stand a chance when I’m home.
It’s something about tea and cookies share with friends that can instantly make an insignificant snack-time feel like a valuable quality time (they can also act as the PG/weeknight version of beer and nachos). A reason to meet a friend, nibble, chat, rant, gossip, whatever. Unwinding at the end of a crappy day with a hot tea and a delicious treat can seem to turn the whole trainwreck around. But it takes some damn good treats to do that; I bring you…the almond cherry chocolate biscotti!
Biscotti are traditional Italian cookies, which have simple ingredients and preparation. An extra baking step gives them that crispy, crunchy, perfectly-dunkable texture. They weren’t a cookie that I grew up around, and therefore was intimidated to make for a long time. Once I started, and realized that they’re super easy and so lovely to have around, now I make them pretty often. They make fab gifts too, because they’re hearty and have a great shelf life. Not like these will need them, though. They won’t last!
This recipe is extremely flexible. Sub in your favourite nuts and dried fruits for endless cookie combos!
Almond Cherry Dark Chocolate Biscotti
- 1/4 cup olive oil or melted butter
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 2 eggs
- 1 3/4 cup flour
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 cup dried cherries (or cranberries, apricots, etc.)
- 1 1/2 cup almonds, roasted and coarsely chopped
- 4 oz dark chocolate
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.
Roast your almonds/nuts in a dry frying pan over med-high heat, keeping them moving until toasted and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside.
In a large bowl, mix together oil/butter and sugar until well blended. Mix in the vanilla then beat in the eggs.
Combine flour, salt, and baking powder; gradually stir into egg mixture. Mix in dried fruit and nuts by hand. The dough will be very stiff, do your best to incorporate all ingredients evenly throughout.
Divide dough in half. Form two logs (about 2 inch x 12 inch) on a cookie sheet that has been lined with parchment paper. Dough may be sticky; wet hands with cool water to handle dough more easily.
Bake for 30-35 minutes in the preheated oven, or until logs are light brown. Remove from oven, cover with a dish towel (to slow cooling and prevent the logs from cracking) and set aside to cool for 10 minutes. Reduce oven heat to 275 degrees F.
Cut logs on diagonal into 1 inch slices. Lay on sides on parchment covered cookie sheet. Bake in 275 F oven for another 8-10 minutes, or until slightly browned and crispy.
Once biscotti is totally cooled, melt chocolate in double boiler or microwave. Using a spoon, drizzle dark chocolate over cookies and allow to cool. Store in an airtight container.