Sunday, July 11, 2010

SMS - Cranberry and Almond (and Flax Seed) Biscotti

First, I'm saddened by the fact that my home country lost the World Cup today - in sympathy, I colored this announcement Orange... :o(

Ok, back to baking business... This week's Sweet Melissa Sundays recipe was chosen by Tracey of Made by Tray-Tray. She selected Sour Cherry and Almond Biscotti, however, I turned them into Cranberry and Almond Biscotti. I already have a favorite Cranberry and Almond Biscotti recipe in my repertoire but I was curious how Melissa's recipe would compare. Although hers are pretty tasty too, they didn't trump my recipe. Regardless of that, a big thanks to Tracey for such a great pick and a chance to experiment with a new biscotti recipe.

Yummy! Cranberry Almond and Flax Seed biscotti.

Click on the link below to continue reading the rest of this post...

As you might have come to expect from me, I've made a few changes to both the recipe and the instructions. At the grocery store, I came across a good sale on organic Golden Flax Seeds and talked myself into buying them as they would be great in the biscotti. They would make the biscotti healthy. Maybe just a little bit health-IER but every bit counts, right? I added the flax seeds to the dry ingredients.

I melted the butter and added it to the eggs after I beat them with the (reduced) sugar to a pale and fluffy batter. The cranberries were reconstituted in hot water for 15 minutes and, along with the coarsely chopped almonds, added to the batter at the last minute.

Very coarsely chopped almonds

I found the batter too soft and was afraid it would spread too much in the oven and turn into 2 large biscotti cookies. So I added about 1/2 cup of extra flour to the entire batter. I formed the 2 logs and put them in the fridge while the oven was preheating. Right before baking them, I brushed them with egg wash because that's why I always do when making biscotti. After 30 minutes in a 350 degrees F oven, they looked like this:

Biscotti logs after the first 30 minute bake in the oven

After 15 minutes or so, I cut the biscotti diagonally into 1/2" pieces (a little smaller than prescribed), and laid them flat on the cookie sheet for their second bake.

 Ready for the second trip to the oven

I thought 1 hour for a second bake was way too long and so I baked mine in a 350 degrees F oven for 15 minutes on one side. I then flipped the cookies over, and baked them for another 15 minutes. That's it.

I got almost 4 dozen cookies which I took with me to an-girls gathering today. It was a big success and I got recipe requests :o)

My biscotti tower :o)

Final thoughts/tips:
  • I liked these biscotti a lot, even though they don't replace my current favorite biscotti recipe. The aroma from the lemon zest was noticeable in the dough but once it was (twice) baked, I couldn't discern it anymore. I'll probably increase the zest next time. Hubby liked it too but noted that these biscotti were crunchier than what he prefers but still found them to be quite tasty. He gave them an 8 out of 10.
  • To the dry ingredients, I added 2 Tbsp of golden flax seeds for texture as well as nutritional value.
  • I reduced the amount of sugar to 3/4 cup (instead of 1 cup).
  • Adding 1/2 cup more flour and using melted butter made making this recipe a breeze, allowing me to bake them almost right away without refrigerating the dough for 1 hour first.
  • I didn't use almond extract. Instead, I increased the vanilla extract to a total of 3 tsp.
  • Don't forget to check out the SMS blog roll to see how others liked this recipe.
  • If you would like to try this recipe for yourself, you can find the recipe HERE on Tracey's blog.


  1. Your biscotti look picture-perfect. I love the changes you made, and of course you need to share your go-to recipe if it is better than this one!

  2. We were rooting for Netherlands today too and were all wearing orange in support.

    Your biscotti look delicious. It's hard to trump a favorite recipe. I really enjoyed this recipe and especially after the first baking. I agree that the lemon zest got lost after the second baking. This will be a fun rcipe to play with though. So many options!

  3. Bummer about the World Cup game. I'm sad it's over, it's been fun to watch!

    Your biscotti look awesome Hanaa, and I love the changes you made. Great tip about brushing the top of the biscotti with egg wash. I've never thought to do that, but I bet it adds a nice golden color to the cookies even if you don't bake them quite as long as the recipe suggests. Nice pictures too :)

  4. Condolences on the World Cup. That would have been a nice thing to celebrate. I've wanted to try biscotti for a long time. Will you link to your favorite recipe?

  5. My home country (Germany) ended up in third place, I was hoping they'd go all the way this year. Oh well, there's always next year!!

    Your biscotti look great, even if they didn't trump your go-to recipe.

  6. You made some great changes on this recipe. I notice that your biscotti, like mine, are not flat. Did you bake it on both sides. Mine, after the first baking, had two brown sides so I skipped the second baking. We don't like crispy so I made mine, ever so slightly softer...not soft but not crisp. They were heavenly.

  7. @The Bahens: thank you! I will try to post my favorite biscotti recipe soon. When I do, I will let you know, for sure!

    @Gloria: awww thanks Gloria!! I appreciate the support :o) I’m glad your biscotti was a big hit too. I wasn’t too keen on eating any after the first bake because they looked too pale.

    @Tracey: yes, the World Cup was fun to watch indeed. Brushing the biscotti with egg wash does add a nice golden color to the cookies. One time, I was out of eggs and used reconstituted egg white and instant espresso powder. Surprisingly that worked too, without giving off a coffee flavor.

    @Vicki: thanks for the sympathy, Vicki. As for my fav biscotti recipe, I haven’t posted it yet. I will try to do that one of these days. When I do, I will let you know!

    @Jeannette: es tut mir leit! Actually, the World Cup is every 4 years so we’ll have to wait a little longer :o) The biscotti was a big hit!

    @Sweet and Savory: thanks. My changes didn’t seem like much at the time of making the dough, but after writing them up, it amounted to quite a bit :o) I did bake mine on both sides (15 minutes each, at 350).

  8. I wish I would have cooked mine a little bit less too! I loved the flavor, but they were just a little crunchy for my tastes.

    To answer your question, the Flaxseed definitely counts as healthier as does the oatmeal that I often put in my cookies :-)

  9. Disappointment all around here as well! (our team played a lousy game though..but I'm not supposed to say that am I?)

    Love home-made biscotti; the tower looks grand!

  10. Biscotti looks fab - wish I could have some of that!

  11. Great job on the biscotti, the look perfect! I just bought some flax seeds and haven't used them yet. Have you posted your favorite biscotti recipe? I liked these, but I pretty much like all biscotti:)

    Sorry your team lost, at least you got to cheer for them until the end.

  12. Your biscotti look delicious! Love the plate and the photos!

  13. Yes, I was rooting for your team because of you and Marthe, so I was sad, too!

    Your biscotti are picture perfect! I'm going to remember your tips and try them again Or maybe I'll just remake the Lenox Almond Biscotti from BFMHTY.


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