Tag Archives: apricots

Cranberry, Orange and Chocolate Biscotti

Biscotti is by far my favourite afternoon pick me up with tea.  I don’t bake it much in the summer, but as soon as fall rolls around it’s in the oven pretty much weekly.

biscotti sweetrevelations

When I owned the bake shop, I would make an enormous batch every Christmas Eve.  I always tied a clear bag that was full of biscotti, with some gorgeous Christmas ribbon, and gave it to my customers as they picked up their Christmas baking.  As a way of saying thank you for their patronage each year.  I keep a jar of Biscotti in the cupboard at work too.  I’m all for sharing!   Anyone is welcome to come and grab a piece with their afternoon tea.   It’s kind of like my way of spreading love.

Cookie love.  Chocolate-y, orange-y, crunchy cookie love.

biscotti sweetrevelations

The recipe is incredibly versatile.  I load chocolate chips, cranberries, dried apricots, pumpkin seeds, and nuts in them.  Whatever I have on hand at the time.  This particular version has dried cranberries, chocolate chips, and almonds.  I also, always add orange bakery emulsion or orange zest to the recipe.  It adds just a slight citrus note that makes each crunchy bite even more amazing.  Another fabulous combination includes almonds, white chocolate and dried apricots.  The combinations are endless!

biscottisweetrevelations

Don’t be intimidated by Biscotti.  It couldn’t be any simpler.  The dough only bakes for about 30 minutes.  After that, it’s sliced up into those delicious dipping fingers and left in the oven for the rest of the night.  Other recipes usually call for a double bake, but I slice it up and put it back in the oven and turn the oven off.  Overnight, or several hours later when the oven has cooled down, the Biscotti are nice and crisp.  When I get up, I can throw them in the cookie jar and get on with my day.

One in hand, of course.

Happy Biscotti baking and coffee dipping friends,

Renee

Cranberry, Orange and Chocolate Chip Biscotti

*adapted from a recipe by Julie Van Rosendaal

  • ½ cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 tbsp orange juice
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp orange bakery emulsion or orange zest
  • ½ cup sliced almonds
  • ½ cup dried cranberries
  • ½ cup chocolate chips

 

Preheat the oven to 350°.

  1.  In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, stir together the butter, sugar, eggs, orange juice, orange emulsion and vanilla until smooth.  Add the flour, baking powder and salt and stir just until combined – avoid over mixing. Add the almonds, cranberries and chocolate chips and gently fold in.
  2. I prefer my Biscotti pieces to be about 6-7 inches long.  Place all of the dough on a parchment lined cookie sheet.  With dampened hands (essential),  shape the dough into a rectangle about 6 inches wide and 12 inches long.  It should be just under an inch thick.  Do the best you can, you can’t go wrong here.  Similarly, if you prefer smaller cookies, shape the dough into two logs,  2-3 inches wide and  1 inch thick.  (You should be able to fit both on one same sheet.)
  3. Bake for 30 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes on the cookie sheet, then carefully transfer the whole piece to a cutting board and cut on a slight diagonal into ¾-inch slices with a sharp or serrated knife.
  4. Place the Biscotti back on the cookie sheet, this time laying each piece on its side.  Put it back in the oven, and turn the oven off.  Leave overnight or for several hours without opening the door.   In the morning, you will have crispy Biscotti waiting for you! Store in a cookie jar for several weeks, if they last that long.

 

 

 

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Buttermilk Panna Cotta

I’ve decided to forgo any New Years Resolutions this year because I always seem to disappoint myself and irritate everyone who lives with me.  Instead, I’m going to put my energy into expanding my baking repertoire and my sometimes lacklustre food styling.  Really, at this point in the year this house is cupcaked out!

So I thought to start, I would make some Buttermilk Panna Cotta which I have been really wanting to try since buying my new Miette Book (Meg Ray is living my dream right now!).   Panna Cotta is essentially ‘cooked cream’ paired with gelatin and a few simple flavourings and then left to set for a few hours.   Since I love anything creamy – I heart clotted cream -and I’ve thrown my resolutions out the window, this simple yet elegant dessert is right up my alley.  You don`t have to use buttermilk, most recipes use just heavy cream, but buttermilk gives it a nice tangy taste.  I did a combination of recipes, both from the book and online.  Essentially, the instructions and ingredients are all the same.

I made two sauces to try.  The first was a simple Apricot and Honey Compote from Martha Stewart.  Hello delicious.  So simple and it`s thick enough that as it was cooling I could envision a gorgeous spoonful atop a buttermilk scone.   The second was a Red-Wine Poached Rhubarb recipe.   I`ll have to post those pictures at a later date.

Okay, the apricot got me.  It was pretty yummy.

On a cold winters day, some Buttermilk Panna Cotta with Apricot and Honey Compote is like a little ray of sunshine.  Top with some slivered almonds for a little nutty crunch.  Bye bye winter blues!

Panna Cotta is like a blank canvas.  There are so many options for toppings although I do think simple is best sometimes.  Any ‘in season’ fruit would be a treat.

Buttermilk Panna Cotta

  •  2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup of sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
  • 1 ½ tsp unflavored gelatin powder
  • 2 tbsp warm water
  • 1 cup of buttermilk

1. Place the water in a small bowl and sprinkle gelatin over the surface.  Let sit for at least 10 minutes.

2. Combine sugar and cream in a saucepan over medium heat and whisk until the sugar is dissolved.  Add in the vanilla bean and seeds, remove from heat and allow cream to steep for 30 minutes.  Bring back to heat and almost to a boil. 

3. Stir in the gelatin until dissolved.

4. Add the buttermilk to the cream mixture and continue whisking. 

5. Remove from heat and strain the mixture into a glass measuring cup.

6. Pour the strained mixture into cups, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 4 hours or until set.

Top with Apricot and Honey Compote and slivered almonds.   Serve immediately.

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Stone Fruit Upside-Down Cake

Yesterday we went on our annual road trip through Niagara Wine Country.   It’s miles and miles of scenic estate wineries and orchards.   Niagara-On-The-Lake is a quaint place with beautiful boutiques and restaurants.

We go every year to get some fresh peaches and of course wine.  Yesterday we stopped at a local orchard and picked up a variety of stone fruits.  And then off to none other than The Great One, Wayne Gretzky’s Estate Winery.    All perfect ingredients for some Stone Fruit Upside-Down Cake and White Wine Sangria.

Stone Fruit Upside-Down Cake

*adapted from Cake Goddess

  • 2-3 medium peaches, halved, pitted, skinned and thinly sliced
  • 2 apricots, halved, pitted and thinly slice
  • 6 cherries, halved and pitted
  • 4 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon table salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • 12 tablespoons (3 ounces) unsalted butter, softened (4 for bottom of pan, 8 tablespoons for the batter)
  • 3/4 cup  granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk, room temperature

Heat the oven to 350°F degrees.

1.  In the bottom of a springform pan pour 4 tbsp melted butter.  Sprinkle the brown sugar on top.  Place sliced fruit, slightly overlapping, to cover the entire bottom of pan.

2. In a small bowl, mix together the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and nutmeg.  Set aside.  In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the sugar and rest of the butter until fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating for 30 seconds between each addition.  Add lemon zest and mix well.

3. Slowly add the flour mixture and buttermilk to the butter mixture in 5 additions.  Start and end with flour mixture.  Mix last addition of flour by hand.

4.  Pour batter over fruit mixture and bake for 55-60 minutes until toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Serve with a dollop of cream.

White Wine Sangria

  • 1 Bottle of white wine (Riesling, Gewürztraminer, Sauvignon Blanc)
  • 1/2 cup Peach Schnapps
  • 2 sliced peaches
  • 1 sliced apricot
  • handful of cherries
  • 1/2 liter of ginger ale (if preferred)

1.  Pour wine and Schnapps in a pitcher and add sliced peaches, apricots and cherries.  Chill mixture for at least one hour.  Add ginger ale just before serving.

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