Cranberry Orange Pecan Biscotti

Biscotti get a bad rap for being dry and hard. It’s almost like you’re forced to dunk them in your coffee or tea so you don’t break a tooth.  This recipe is oh so different.  It must be the magical combination of the cranberries and pecans… creating a much softer and more delicate cookie. Now you can choose whether you want to dunk or not:) Of course, I still eat them with my coffee for breakfast. Coffee makes everything better, amiright?

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Orange Pecan Cranberry Biscotti
  • 6 tablespoons butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • zest of 2 oranges, chopped
  • 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups pecan halves
  • 1 cup dried cranberries

In a stand mixer, beat the room temperature butter and sugar until light and creamy.  Add the eggs one at a time and beat at medium speed for a couple of minutes.  Now, add in the orange zest. (I like to zest my orange to obtain long zest strips and then cut them up into nice small (1/8 inch or so) pieces.)

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Now, mix in one cup of flour along with the baking powder and salt. Once combined, add the remaining flour. It will be fairly think at this point. Finally, add in the pecans and dried cranberries. You can either mix for just a few seconds with the mixer or give a quick stir by hand.

Place the dough in two piles on a parchment paper covered cookie sheet.  One very simple trick is to wet your hands, which will make it much easier to form the logs.  It really keeps your hands from sticking to the dough!

This batter will become wider as it bakes. I like to shape them into about 4″ wide logs, anticipating that I will end up with about a 6″ wide final loaf.  Bake at 350F for 30 to 35 minutes, until they turn a light golden brown.

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Let the logs cool on the tray for about 10 minutes and then transfer to cooling racks to rest for another 20 to 30 minutes.  Once the logs are almost completely cooled, use a sharp serrated knife to saw the logs into slices.  I like to cut them at an angle. Use a back and forth sawing motion so you don’t rip the big pieces of pecans out of the soft loaf. Once sliced, place the biscotti back on the cookie sheet.

Lay them on one side and bake for about 6 to 8 minutes, then flip them over and bake another 4 to 6 minutes on the other side, depending on how you like them. (I like to re-bake these slightly less than my other varieties of biscotti to keep them soft, for a different texture.  If they are all the same, what fun is that?)

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Finally, place your biscotti on a cooling rack for 30 to 60 minutes.  They will keep in an airtight container for 1 – 2 weeks or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Mrs. Perotti’s Apple Pear Pie Cake

I have never met anyone yet who has eaten an apple pear pie cake. This dessert seems confused about its identity, but it is not exactly a cake and in many ways not like a pie!

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I believe this unique recipe originates from my childhood neighbor, Mrs. Perotti, and I’ve been making it ever since!  The apple-pear mixture combined with the layers of soft dough creates so many wonderful flavors.. I hope you’ll give it a try!

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Continue reading Mrs. Perotti’s Apple Pear Pie Cake

Nona’s Chocolate Cake

Birthday cakes are really important to us. They might even be the most important birthday decision, and they are definitely the most delicious present. In our family, my Nona’s chocolate cake is often the birthday treat of choice. Boston Cream Pie or berry trifle sometimes make an appearance, but this cake celebrates birthdays with us at least a couple of times a year. We don’t know exactly where the recipe came from, but my Nona (grandmother) used to make it for me all of the time when I helped out at her house as a kid.

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While it may look like your average chocolate cake, this recipe is truly the ultimate. The cake is incredibly moist, perfectly chocolately, and destined to be paired with delectable cream cheese frosting. We have tired to make it in different types of pans, but the tube pan is the only one that does justice to our favorite chocolate cake. Continue reading Nona’s Chocolate Cake

Red Velvet Cupcakes

Here is a short and sweet, only slightly belated Valentine’s Day post! These red velvet cupcakes were a simple treat to bring into the office and share with co-workers for a holiday potluck. Luckily, red velvet is always a hit, so you can make these any time of the year!

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  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup butter
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons red food coloring
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Whisk the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt in bowl and set aside.

Cream the butter and sugar in a mixer for a few minutes until nice and fluffy.  Add in the eggs one at a time and beat for 30 seconds.  Mix in the sour cream, milk, food coloring and vanilla.  (Yeah, it gets a “little” red.  Don’t worry, the cocoa in the flour mixture will calm it down later.  You can add more food coloring if you like the classic red velvet look or less if you just want a hint of red.)  Now, mix in the flour mixture and beat slowly until just incorporated; don’t over beat the mixture.

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Note: While making this batch, I thought I had sour cream, but alas, I was all out.  So I poured 1 1/2 cups of milk in a glass bowl, added 1 tablespoon of vinegar, and let it set for about 10 minutes.  I used this 1 1/2 cups of sour milk in place of the 1/2 cup milk and 1 cup sour cream.  Still tasted great!

Place paper cupcake inserts into a muffin pan. Fill each cup about 2/3 full with the batter.

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Bake at 350F for about 20 minutes.  Test to see if a tooth pick comes out clean or if the top bounces back. Let the cupcakes cool for about 2 minutes in the pan. Then, remove them from the muffin pan and let them cool on cooling racks.  Make sure you let the cupcakes cool to room temperature before frosting.

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  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 1/2 cups confectioners sugar

Mix the cream cheese, butter, sour cream and vanilla and beat until fluffy – about 3 minutes.  Add in the confectioners sugar and beat another 5 minutes, until it is nice and smooth.

I like to pipe the frosting on the cupcakes to get a nice thick layer, or in this case, in the shape of a heart.  Add some red sprinkles and you’re good to go!

Almond Biscotti

Sarah snuck that short rib post in here, but I hope you didn’t put your stand mixer away for too long. Let’s return to the sweeter side of life, with one of my most requested and perfected recipes – biscotti!

I can’t think of anything more relaxing than sitting inside on a cold day with a nice cup of coffee or tea and one or two kinds of biscotti…or maybe three or four…

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I decided to crank up the biscotti machine today (wouldn’t that be cool if there was such a device?) and make four different flavors. My wife thinks a quadruple biscotti day is a little insane, but once I get on a roll, I just keep on baking:)

Each cookie deserves its own post, so let’s start here with my quintessential recipe that sparked by biscotti obsession – almond!

Continue reading Almond Biscotti