This week's SMS was chosen by Tracey of Made by Tray Tray: sour cherry and almond biscotti! Even though I'm not a huge biscotti fan, I really like making them - they're fun and just a little more special than regular cookies. Plus, since they're such good keepers (at least a week), I didn't have to worry about finding someone to give them to immediately. He doesn't know it yet, but I'm planning to bring these to Shane's dad when I see him at Shane's race today. (It's the big day for the half-Ironman and although I am dreading the 3:30 am wake up call more than I can put into words, I'm really excited to go and cheer Shane on!)
These biscotti incorporate many great flavors - dried cherries that are reconstituted in orange juice, whole almonds, almond extract - yum! I briefly considered substituting dried cranberries (which I already had on hand) for the cherries but Jeannette convinced me otherwise. Did anyone else think it was weird that the recipe called for fresh orange juice and the zest of a lemon? I figured since I was already using the juice, I'd just use the orange zest too. I rubbed it into the sugar with my fingertips (a trick I use often since learning it from Dorie). The dough is refrigerated before being shaped and baked, but even cold I still found it quite sticky. I shaped it roughly using well floured hands and then switched over to a rubber spatula to finish the job. Like all biscotti, these are baked once, then cut and baked a second time. I was wary about the second baking time here, which seemed long at an hour, but it wound up being perfect.
I sampled the dough before I baked the biscotti and it was delicious and not surprisingly, when I tried a bite of one of the cookies after it came out of the oven, the flavor was great! I think these would be wonderful dunked in coffee or tea as they're quite crisp. Thanks to Tracey for hosting this week! She will post the recipe on her site or you can find it on pages 72-73 of The Sweet Melissa Baking Book.