I’ve long been a fan of dried cherries. They’re plump, sweet, and nicely chewy. It might not sound like a ringing endorsement, but their texture has always reminded me of gummy fruit snacks that I ate when I was little. My roommate Sarah hails from Michigan and brought back some lovely Michigan dried cherries with her after Thanksgiving. Neither of us had ever made biscotti and she found this recipe from Martha Stewart.
Martha’s recipe calls for blanched almonds, chopped. We used whole almonds with the skins on, which I think makes for a prettier appearance, as the almonds get chopped anyway when you cut the logs into slices. We also substituted almond extract for amaretto, which gave the entire cookie a fragrant almond flavor. After they’re cooled, a dip in chocolate and a sprinkling of almonds makes for elegant presentation, but taste-wise, the biscotti are good enough without it. If you tend to stay away from biscotti for its notoriously rock-hard consistency, these are much more jaw-friendly. They are sturdy, as biscotti should be, but much softer and more moist than biscotti you find in a coffee shop.
Cherry Almond Biscotti
adapted from Martha Stewart
- 1 3/4 cups dried cherries
- 2 tsp almond extract
- 3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
- 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 4 large eggs (3 whole, 1 lightly beaten)
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup whole almonds
- 3 tablespoons coarse sanding sugar
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Put cherries in a microwavable bowl with water just so that cherries are submerged Microwave 2-3 minutes until cherries have softened, pausing once to stir. Drain, reserving 2 tablespoons liquid.
- Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt into a bowl. Put butter and granulated sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; mix on medium speed until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Mix in 3 whole eggs, one at a time. Mix in reserved cherry liquid, almond extract and the vanilla. Reduce speed to low, and gradually mix in flour mixture. Stir in cherries and almonds.
- On a lightly floured surface, halve dough. Shape each half into a 12 1/2 by 2 1/2-inch log. Flatten logs to 1/2 inch thick. Transfer to a baking sheet lined with a parchment paper. Brush logs with beaten egg; sprinkle with the sanding sugar.
- Bake 35 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through. Transfer to wire racks to cool, about 20 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 300 degrees.
- Cut each log on the diagonal into 16 to 18 pieces, or for thinner biscotti, cut into 24 pieces. Transfer pieces to racks, laying them on sides. Set racks on baking sheets. Bake 8 minutes; flip. Bake 8 minutes more. Let cool until crisp. Cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature up to 1 week.