Christmas 2013 shall be known as the Year of the Biscotti at our house.  Victor came up with some awesome variations of the original recipe this year – totally awesome!

We’ve always made a couple different types of biscotti every year, but this year, they seemed to really come together.

It started with a pistachio biscotti – a new flavor for us. When we were in Italy last year, we picked up a trinket bottle of a pistachio cream liqueur. It was in a bottle shaped like the Italian boot with an “I” and a “♥” hot glued onto the front and “Italy” written in a black Sharpie. It may have cost a euro. Maybe. We had no thoughts of ever actually drinking the stuff – it was just a tacky little souvenir.

The basic biscotti recipe calls for about 3 tbsp of anisette and we always add something when making the variations, so when Victor said pistachio, I grabbed the little bottle. Wouldn’t you know… It had exactly three tablespoons of liqueur in it! Our lucky day.

In it went, and into the oven they went. And out of the oven came the hit of the season!  A totally outrageously good cookie! We knew we needed to make more – but we had used up all of the liqueur. We went online and found several brands available. Sadly, living in the backwater Commonwealth of Pennsylvania means dealing with The State Store. Naturally, they didn’t stock it or even know what it was. But we had seen a recipe for making it at home. I bought a bottle of Everclear.

We made our own.

Pistachio Biscotti

  • 2 3/4 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cube (stick) butter
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 tbsp cream of pistachio liqueur
  • 8 oz pistachios, roasted – unsalted
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Sift together dry ingredients.  Cream sugar and butter, add eggs one at a time. Add vanilla and pistachio cream. Stir in flour. Stir in pistachios.

Divide dough in half.  Shape into logs.  Place on greased cookie sheets and bake at 350° for 18-20 minutes.

Cool completely.  Slice into 1/4 to 1/2″ slices and toast on both sides in 350° oven.

Pistachio Cream Liqueur

  • 8 oz pistachios, roasted and coarsely chopped
  • 750ml Everclear or 100 proof vodka
  • 1 1/2 qts whole milk
  • 3 lbs sugar
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract

Pour alcohol over pistachios and let sit for a week to infuse. Shake or stir now and again.

On day 7… Bring sugar and milk to a boil and simmer until sugar is dissolved – about 10 or 15 minutes. Remove from heat and cool completely.

Strain pistachio alcohol through several layers of cheesecloth. Discard pistachios.

Mix cooled milk syrup with liquor. Add vanilla.

It’s done.

The liqueur itself tastes pretty good. Over ice it would make a nice martini of sorts…

The next cookie is the basic – the mother cookie from whence all others are created. This is Uncle Rudy’s recipe and it has never failed us.

 

Traditional Anise Biscotti

  • 2 3/4 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cube (stick) butter
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 tbsp anisette (or more…)
  • 1 tbsp toasted anise seed
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Sift together dry ingredients.  Cream sugar and butter, add eggs one at a time. Add vanilla, anisette, and anise seed.  Stir in flour.

Divide dough in half.  Shape into logs.  Place on greased cookie sheets and bake at 350° for 18-20 minutes.

Cool completely.  Slice into 1/4 to 1/2″ slices and toast on both sides in 350° oven.

Next is another newer variation this year – Orange Macadamia. We’ve done apricot macadamia in the past but this year, the apricots are being used elsewhere…

 

Orange Macadamia Biscotti

  • 2 3/4 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cube (stick) butter
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 tbsp Cointreau
  • 8 oz Macadamia nuts, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Sift together dry ingredients.  Cream sugar and butter, add eggs one at a time. Add vanilla and Cointreau. Stir in flour. Stir in macadamia nuts.

Divide dough in half.  Shape into logs.  Place on greased cookie sheets and bake at 350° for 18-20 minutes.

Cool completely.  Slice into 1/4 to 1/2″ slices and toast on both sides in 350° oven.

And then the boy got crazy. He decided to try stuffed biscotti!  Total genius!

First up was a Walnut Biscotti stuffed with a date and bourbon paste. This was an unexpected surprise. It totally worked.

 

Walnut Biscotti Stuffed with Dates

  • 2 3/4 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cube (stick) butter
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 tbsp bourbon
  • 8 oz coarsely chopped walnuts
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Sift together dry ingredients.  Cream sugar and butter, add eggs one at a time. Add vanilla and bourbon. Stir in flour. Stir in walnuts.

Divide dough in half.  Shape into logs and flatten with rolling pin. Spread thin layer of filling along center. Roll up jellyroll-style and place seam-side sown on greased cookie sheets and bake at 350° for 22-25 minutes.

Cool completely.  Slice into 1/4 to 1/2″ slices and toast on both sides in 350° oven.

And then the last of the biscotti – for now. Apricot-stuffed Almond Biscotti.

We always have some of Aunt Emma’s filling left over and this was the perfect venue for using it up!

 

Apricot-Stuffed Almond Biscotti

  • 2 3/4 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cube (stick) butter
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 tbsp amaretto
  • 8 oz sliced roasted almonds
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Sift together dry ingredients.  Cream sugar and butter, add eggs one at a time. Add vanilla and amaretto. Stir in flour. Stir in almonds.

Divide dough in half.  Shape into logs and flatten with rolling pin. Spread thin layer of filling along center. Roll up jellyroll-style and place seam-side sown on greased cookie sheets and bake at 350° for 22-25 minutes.

Cool completely.  Slice into 1/4 to 1/2″ slices and toast on both sides in 350° oven.

The possibilities really are endless. Any combination of nuts, fruit, and liquors or liqueurs can be used – and we plan on using a lot of them in the years to come.

Enjoy!

And Happy Holidays to All!

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