Four years ago I began my first timid forays into the kitchen. I was working on a show that was wayyy into holiday gift giving and I realized the only way I could participate without blowing my bank account was to find a homemade gift that everyone could enjoy. A friend and co-worker, who was already an accomplished baker, suggested we make biscotti. We spent a full 12 hours destroying my kitchen making batches of almond, chocolate chip, and this crazy braided peppermint biscotti and putting them in little holiday bags. People at work loved it and it was such a hit I made them again and again all winter long for my friends and family. Making biscotti was truly my first baking success story. I love my tried and true recipe and was a little nervous to try a new recipe but hey, this is the new, adventurous in the kitchen me! I can change things up, throw caution to the wind, use cornmeal in my biscotti?!
Hooray for embracing change because I loved this recipe. The biscotti was crunchy but not too dry, with a delicate crumbly texture. I made the original almond recipe, modified slightly by using just 1/2 teaspoon of almond extract and 1 teaspoon of vanilla.
Then I mixed sliced almonds into half of the batter, and cranberries and bittersweet chocolate chips in the the other. I did revert back to my old standby recipe on the second bake- reducing the oven temp to 325 and laying them on cut side up for 7 minutes on each side. I later melted some leftover chips and drizzled the chocolate over the cranberry/chip biscotti.
I have grand plans for this recipe this holiday season: pumpkin spice, hazelnut with nutella glaze, white chocolate cherry macaadamia...oh the possibilities! I'm gonna need a lot of those holiday bags!