Everyone always says that baking is a science, that it is exact, and that there’s no wiggle room. Well, I have my own version of this claim. I stick to the recipe, for the most part, but I hardly ever have the very exact measurements, and I often minimize, substitute, or cancel out certain ingredients according to my personal preference, what’s in my pantry, or to my level of caloric guilt that day.
I have made biscotti a few times before, and having ‘mastered’ the technique of rolling out the dough into 2 oval-shaped logs, I knew I had run into some sort of dilemma when my logs weren’t sticking together. At the point of cutting the logs into 1/3″ slices, the dough simply crumbled. I am a novice baker, mind you, and I blamed this lack of firmness on the fact that I had used organic cane sugar instead of regular granulated sugar. I decided to soldier on, as not to waste the ingredients, and continue the process regardless of how quickly the logs were falling part. So I sliced the logs as best as I could, allowing them to give way (“TIMBERRR….” ran through my head. Now I’m talking to my half-baked biscotti…), and I threw whatever was a solid piece and whatever was a crumb into the oven as equals. All for one and one for all, these crumbly, toasted bits and pieces of pistachio, dried cherry, and crisp and crunchy dough wafted through my house like the rising steam in ‘Stella Nonna.’ This is a good-smell recipe. This smell will give you the fuzzies.
As soon as I retrieved my biscotti gone awry from the oven and tried a piece (okay, a few pieces), I knew this was accidental genius. The best part is, you don’t have to worry about keeping track of how many biscotti you are eating. Take a handful of crumbles and you’ll feel half as guilty and doubly satisfied. Absolutely addicting, these crispy crumblies hit the spot for both crunchy, sweet, and savory cravings. And hey, with rolled oats, dried cherries, and raw pistachios included, they’re not all bad!
Recipe adapted from Karen DiMasco’s Pistachio and Dried-Cherry Biscotti.
Ingredients: 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, about 1 cup organic cane sugar, 1/2 cup old-fashioned oats (I used thick rolled oats because that’s what I had), 1 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp baking soda, pinch of kosher salt, 2 large eggs (cracked into a bowl before you add them to the mixing bowl), 3 tbsp canola oil or other non-flavored vegetable oil, zest from one orange, 1.5 tsp pure vanilla extract, 1/2 tsp almond extract, 1 cup dried cherries, 1 cup unsalted shelled pistachios
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Combine the first 6 ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle. Blend on low until just combined.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, canola oil, orange zest, vanilla extract, and almond extract. Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and beat until just combined. Don’t overbeat or the dough will get tough. Mix in the cherries and pistachios.
Put the dough on a lightly floured surface and divide in half. Shape each half into a log with a rounded top and transfer to the baking sheet. Flatten the logs with your palm so that it is about 2 inches across. Bake for about 30 minutes until browned. Let cool for 15 minutes. Transfer the logs back to the cutting board and cut on the diagonal into 1/3 inch slices. This is where I ran into trouble and experienced serious signs of crumbling. Continue to cut on the diagonal regardless of how it is crumbling, and transfer everything back to the baking sheet, pieciness and all. Bake for about 40 more minutes or until as crisp and browned as you desire. You will not be able to stay out of the kitchen when these come out of the oven.
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