Cranberry-Ginger Biscotti with Chocolate Chunks

This recipe was requested by a dear friend. I started making these based off of a recipe from bon appetite, but changed it of course. I am using the basic instructions from that original recipe, but incorporating my “improvements.” Biscotti are such an easy cookie to make, once you understand the technique – they are great gifts and you can add pretty much anything you have on hand – they are good with nothing in them except some spices- but I do like them best with lots of nuts and dried fruit.

I always make a double batch – they freeze really well for gifts or unexpected guests.

Cranberry Ginger Biscotti with Chocolate Chunks

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon ginger powder (you could add any spices you like- cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, chili powder – I almost always just throw in a mix based on my whim of the moment)
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 cup dried cranberries (you could use dried cherries, raisins, chopped apricots, figs, or other fruit)
1 cup sliced almonds (could use walnuts, pistachios, hazelnuts, etc)
½ cup thinly sliced candied ginger
8 oz or 1 cup chopped chocolate (bittersweet or other type if you like that better)
(other add-ins: toasted coconut, toffee bits, sesame seeds, flavor extracts, whatever you fancy)
Position 1 rack in top third and 1 rack in bottom third of oven; preheat to 350°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silpats. Sift first 5 ingredients into large bowl. Whisk eggs and vanilla in medium bowl to blend. Using electric mixer, beat eggs and melted butter into dry ingredients. Stir in cranberries, nuts, ginger and chocolate.
Turn dough out onto floured surface. Using floured hands, divide dough into 2 equal pieces. Shape each into a long, thin log (about 3-4 inches wide, depending on how long you want each cookie to be). Place each log on a baking sheet.
Bake logs 12 minutes. Reverse position of baking sheets. Bake logs until firm and dry to touch, about 12 minutes longer. Remove from oven. Reduce oven temperature to 325°F.
Transfer logs to work surface. Using serrated knife (or other very sharp knife), cut hot logs diagonally into 1/2-inch-thick slices. This is definitely the trickiest part – if you are not careful, you will destroy the slices. It can be especially hard if you’ve left the nuts or fruits in large pieces – they can snag on the knife and tear through the delicate cakey part. My advice is to go slow, let the loaves cool a bit if necessary, and try several different knives. I have had the best luck using a long carving knife that is super super sharp and slice right through anything. Also, you may have to make thicker slices in order to get clean looking cookies – play around a bit, and don’t worry- you can always eat the “mistakes.”
Place slices, cut side down, on same baking sheets. Bake biscotti until dry and slightly darker, about 10 minutes. Make sure they get crispy, but not burnt. Transfer to racks to cool. I like to put a few into a cellophane bag and tie with a ribbon for holiday gifts.

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