Saturday, August 22, 2009

Apricot Almond Biscotti

Moving out of a house full of chocoholics has been a liberating experience for me (baking wise ) because it’s meant that I get to experiment with flavours and use a lot of ingredients that I like, but may not go over well at home.
One such example is dried fruits like the dried apricots in this recipe. I enjoy heir chewy tanginess in quick breads and muffins and they make an excellent addition to biscotti.
Whenever I bake anything with dried fruits and /or nuts I wish I could share them with my mom, even though she lives a few provinces away. So when she came to visit me this summer I knew I had to make these almond apricot biscotti especially since I have had this recipe bookmarked for a long time.
I made these so my mom would have a treat after her flight, since I find after the stress of airplane travel I always need a cookie.
This recipe is not as crunchy/crispy as your typical biscotti due to the milk in the batter. Even after the second round of baking they firmed up but did not harden, rather they had a texture similar to very crumbly shortbread. These are an excellent cookie to eat as is or to dunk into coffee. The cookies are studded with crunchy, slivered almonds and chewy, dried apricots and dipped into melted white chocolate to add a creamy counterpoint to the tangy apricots. The recipe comes from the Canadian Living Holiday Best magazine from 2005, but the original recipe used macadamia nuts. I used almonds instead because I prefer them, but any nut or dried fruit could be used as a substitute in this recipe.
The recipe was a definite hit with my mom (and me, of course).

Apricot Almond Biscotti

Adapted from: Canadian Living Holiday Best 2005

Time: about 2 hours
Makes 30 -48 biscotti

• ½ cup butter, softened
• 1 cup granulated sugar
• 2 eggs
• ¼ cup milk
• 2 teaspoons almond extract
• 3 cups all-purpose flour
• 2 teaspoons baking powder
• ½ teaspoon salt
• 1 cup almonds or macadamia nuts
• 2/3 cup dried apricots, chopped
• 12 oz white chocolate, melted

1.Line 2 rimless baking sheets with parchment paper or grease; set aside.
2.In a large bowl beat butter with sugar until fluffy; beat in eggs, milk and almond extract. In separate bowl, whisk together flour baking powder and salt; stir into butter mixture. Stir in nuts and apricots.
3.On lightly floured surface, form into four 2-inch logs. Place, 3-inches apart on prepared pans. Bake in top and bottom thirds of 350 degree F oven, rotating and switching pans halfway through, until light golden and firm, about 22 minutes. Let cool on pans for 10 minutes.
4.Transfer logs to cutting board. Using chef’s knife, cut diagonally into ½ inch wide slices. Stand slices upright, ½ inch apart on prepared pans; bake in top and bottom thirds of oven for about 10 minutes on each side, switching pans halfway through, until biscotti are dry. Transfer to rack; let cool. (careful to watch the biscotti—apricots burn)
5. Dip half of each biscotti into white chocolate; return to rack and let set.

To make ahead:
Layer between waxed paper in airtight container and store for up to 5 days or freeze for up to 3 weeks.)

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