Friday, May 3, 2013

Whole Foods Feasting: Peanut Butter and Cherry Biscotti

The great thing about biscotti is that the flavor combinations are practically endless. This time around, the cookie is reminiscent of peanut butter and jelly, with dried cherries taking the place of the jelly.

Meanwhile, the cornmeal adds a subtle flavor and texture without being overpowering.

These are great with coffee, in the morning, but the sweetness of the cherries also make them a great after-dinner nibble.

This recipe is easy to customize - use almond butter instead of peanut butter, if you like. Use dried apricots, dates, or any other dried fruit you like. Leave the cherry bits large, or cut them small. It's all good.

Peanut Butter and Cherry Biscotti

3 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
3 eggs
1/4 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup dry cherries, roughly chopped

Preheat your oven to 375. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Combine flour, salt, and baking powder, and set aside.

In another bowl, cream the butter and sugar together. A stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment is the perfect tool for this job.

Add the peanut butter and beat until it's well blended. Add eggs, one at a time, and beat well.

Add dry ingredients, and blend thoroughly (If you're using a stand mixer, doing this is three additions is much less likely to send flour spraying all over the kitchen.) Add the cherries and blend them in.

On the cookie sheet, form the dough into two long, flat loaves about 1/2 inch thick by two inches wide, leaving several inches between the loaves. They will expand when they bake.

Bake at 375 degrees for 20 - 25 minutes. They should be slightly browned and a toothpick inserted in the center of one of the loaves should come out clean. Remove from oven and let cool slightly.

Cut the loaves on the diagonal into approximately 3/4-inch diagonal slices. A serrated knife works best for this task.

Lay these slices on their sides on the cookie sheet and return them to the oven for another 10 – 15 minutes, until they are lightly toasted. ( if you like, flip them over halfway through baking for more even toasting.

Remove the cooking to a rack and let them cool completely.