When moving to Florida in the Fall of 2009, I donated all of my coats, and cast away nearly all of my long-sleeved cozies. I never imagined I would experience a chill again. For the first time, Winter of 2014 (because as it happens, Winter doesn’t truly occur until after the first of the year), I’ve pined for my years of wonderfully warm layers— I’ve acclimated, as they say. I’ve been playing with different steamy drinks and baked morsels to liven each cup! I wanted to share a favorite with a group of friends visiting for a movie marathon over the weekend.
Cardamom & Pistachio Biscotti
Adapted from The Sweet Escape
• 6 tablespoons butter, softened
• 1¼ cups sugar
• 1 teaspoon almond extract (interchangeable with Vanilla, however, personally I think almond pairs best with pistachio)
• 1 ½ tablespoons ground cardamom
• 4 large eggs
• A pinch of salt
• 3 cups, 4 tablespoons flour
• 2 teaspoons baking powder
• 1-1 ½ cup pistachios (in the shell)
What You Will Need:
• Parchment paper (I insist on it with all baking, but it is essentially optional)
• A large baking sheet
• A sharp knife
• A drying rack
• A mixer with dough attachments
Start by removing the shells from the pistachios. It seems tedious, but I really appreciated that since the nuts were stored partially in shell (though slightly cracked) they maintain tenderness and their natural oils, more so than those stored already unshelled. Roughly chop your pistachios. The amount seems crazy by the time you’re finished, but I can’t get enough of them. Set these aside.
Knowing this recipe doesn’t need to be smoothly mixed, I stirred the dough by hand with one of the dough attachments from my hand mixer. Mix the softened butter, sugar, almond extract, salt, and cardamom powder until it becomes lightened in color and quite fluffy. Then incorporate one egg at a time.
Preheat your oven to 350°. Then in a separate bowl, sift the baking powder and flour together with a fork. Bit by bit, maybe a cup at a time, add the dry mix to the wet mix. You are manually mixing, so it shouldn’t cause the same mess as it might with a mechanical mixer. Add your chopped pistachios.
At this point, because the biscuit is a very tough and dry bread, you’ll find that the dough is painful to mix with the attachment any longer. Time to get dirty! Start kneading the dough with your hands, squeezing and working until you feel that the pistachios are all over.
Split the dough and roll each half into a log. Place each on the baking sheet, and flatten with the palms of your hand. The dough does spread, I found, so flatten until the dough is no more than an inch thick. The width of each log is of little consequence. Place the baking sheet in the oven for 10 minutes.
Afterward, remove the baking sheet from the oven, but leave the oven on. Allow the dough to cool for about 2 minutes, so its just cool enough to touch for a moment. Take your sharp, non-serrated knife and cut each log at an angle and into ½ inch strips. Allow to cool for another 2-3 minutes. Then place each strip cut side up on the baking sheet. Bake for another 5 minutes. Turn the strips over, and bake for another 5 minutes. Turn the oven down to 280°-300° and bake until thoroughly golden brown and crisp. Place the strips on the drying rack, and let the biscotti cool completely.
For our cozy get-together, I placed 5 strips of biscotti into each tin-tie gift bag and applied my personalized Casablanca style labels. Biscotti last for weeks in an airtight container; I actually made these a few days ahead! On movie marathon day, I boiled some water, and displayed a dozen or so types of tea out on the coffee table, for each guest to choose which they like best with the flavorful pistachio and cardamom.
More homemade gift ideas from Zoe:
Homemade Milk Caramels Honeyed Cream Cheese Zucchini Bread Carrot Cookies In Oreo Dirt
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