These maple walnut cranberry biscotti by Nora of Buttercream Fanatic are crisp and crunchy, with a distinct buttery-vanilla flavor, sweet maple, chewy cranberries, and tender walnuts.  Enjoy them with a hot cup of tea, coffee, or cocoa!

Today’s guest post is brought to us by Nora of Buttercream Fanatic.  Nora has to be one of the sweetest and most supportive people I’ve met since entering the blogosphere.  I love her approach to food- she’s so scientific about it!  Girlfriend knows what she likes and she makes it happen.  I’m so happy she’s sharing this seasonal biscotti recipe while I’m recovering!  I’d love a couple of these with a hot cocoa while I’m snuggled in my bed healing up!  Whadya say, Nora, maybe you can pop over to Philly for a quick visit and a cuppa?

For some reason, I don’t associate fall with biscotti. Biscotti is a winter comfort food to be dipped in hot beverages, or mayyybe a summer cookie to be stuffed full of dried fruit. This is a totally arbitrary distinction, I admit, and I decided it was time to break free of my biscotti shackles.
I wish I could say that I had some sort of revelation about these flavors. Like “this recipe came to me in a dream….”, but really I just wanted to play around with the maple extract that I bought for my maple bacon cookies. And I don’t know about you, but when I think of maple, after bacon, I think of pairing it with walnuts. So, here we are! I really wish I had a more entertaining story to introduce this biscotti, but I’d rather let the cookies speak for themselves.
In my opinion, there are four important components that can make or break your biscotti. A biscotti quad-fecta if you will. Let’s take it one at a time:
Flavor: Biscotti dough has a very distinct buttery, subtly-vanilla-y taste to it, which must shine through despite whatever other flavors you are adding. In this case, the flavors sort of trade off. First you taste the buttery vanilla flavor, then you start to realize that there is maple at play too, and when you’re least expecting it, you get a burst of sweetness from the cranberries.
Texture: Crisp, but not hard, Crunchy, but not dry. Enough said. In this version, there is also a tender, chewy piece of walnut in every bite.
Size: The biscotti must be big enough that it holds together when dunked, but not so big that it’s hard to bite into it. I’m looking at you, giant Starbucks biscotti. I find that shaping the logs about 3 1/2″ wide, and then cutting the slices about 1″ thick yields a great-sized cookie.
Mix-Ins: They need to complement the texture of the biscotti with some moisture to contrast the dryness, some chewiness to contrast the crispiness, and some sweetness to contrast the subtle vanilla-y-ness of the dough. Dried fruit paired with nuts fits the bill really well.
Overall, I think you’ll be very happy with the way these biscotti perform on all of the above criteria. My only warning is that, when you use dried fruit as mix-ins, you have to be careful that the fruit doesn’t burn – which they will do far sooner than the dough will. That’s why the recipe calls for covering the cookies with tin foil for the last 10 minutes of baking time.

Despite the fact that you have to remember the tinfoil step, and bake biscotti twice, they actually are pretty quick and easy to make. The active baking time is little (cream butter and sugar, throw in everything else but the flour, gently incorporate flour, shape into two longs. Done.), and the yield from this recipe is pretty substantial at about 20 large (but not too large!) biscotti. That, coupled with the impressed reaction you get from the lucky friends and family who get to sample it – biscotti has something of a reputation for being fancy, and people assume that if it’s fancy it must be hard to make. Use that to your advantage! – are my favorite reasons to make biscotti, and this maple walnut version has to be one of my new favorite flavors.

Have you ever made biscotti? What is your favorite flavor to make?

 Didn’t I tell ya?  She knows what she wants, when it comes to biscotti and all the other goodies she bakes up.  You can really get a sense that Nora thinks so carefully when she’s developing a recipe- I have no doubt these biscotti are the ultimate!  Thanks so much Nora, for the fab recipe!  Everybody hop on over to Buttercream Fanatic to see what else Nora’s been up to!  And check her cute self out on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest too!  

photoAbout Nora: I have a regular office job, where a coworker recently referred to me as “a walking encyclopedia” of cooking and food. That characterization is less a reflection of my expertise and more a reflection of my obsession. By day I work as a market research analyst, which I love, but cooking, and especially baking, is my version of meditation. I’m terrible at yoga, anyway.

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Maple Walnut Cranberry Biscotti
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
45 mins
Total Time
1 hr 5 mins
 

These maple walnut cranberry biscotti by Nora of Buttercream Fanatic are crisp and crunchy, with a distinct buttery-vanilla flavor, sweet maple, chewy cranberries, and tender walnuts.  Enjoy them with a hot cup of tea, coffee, or cocoa!

Course: Dessert, Snack
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: maple walnut cranberry biscotti
Servings: 20
Calories: 174 kcal
Author: Nora of Buttercream Fanatic
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 375F. Cover a cookie sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick mat.

  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugar until fluffy, about 5 minutes.

  3. Add eggs and vanilla extract, then add salt and baking powder.

  4. When everything is completely incorporated, add all of the flour, chopped walnuts, and cranberries at once and mix until just incorporated.

  5. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix for a few more seconds to make sure everything is incorporated and the dough holds together when you press it gently. (It should be moist enough to hold together but not sticky.)

  6. Form the dough into two logs on the prepared cookie sheet and flatten slightly. (Make sure to bury as much of the dried fruit in the dough as possible; exposed fruit burns easily.)

  7. Bake the logs for 25 minutes. Cool for 5-10 minutes on the pan before transferring to a cutting board.

  8. Cut slices about 1" thick. (It's not necessary to cut them on the bias (you know, that diagonal-y way) but it is just prettier that way. You can cut them straight across the width of the log if you prefer.)

  9. Place the cut biscotti cut side up on the cookie sheet and bake for another 10 minutes.

  10. Then, cover the entire pan with tin foil (this prevents the fruit from burning) and bake for another 10 minutes.

  11. Allow cookies to cool on the pan for 30 minutes in a cool, dry place (nothing fancy, just put them on the counter. Use a coaster; the pan's hot). This will allow them to crisp up into a more "biscotti-ish" consistency.
  12. If you'd like, drizzle with melted chocolate when the cookies are fully cooled.
Recipe Notes

Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days, or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Nutrition Facts
Maple Walnut Cranberry Biscotti
Amount Per Serving
Calories 174 Calories from Fat 54
% Daily Value*
Fat 6g9%
Saturated Fat 3g19%
Cholesterol 23mg8%
Sodium 72mg3%
Potassium 92mg3%
Carbohydrates 27g9%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 13g14%
Protein 3g6%
Vitamin A 94IU2%
Calcium 37mg4%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.