I mentioned not long ago that I've been learning to enjoy tea, and it's been especially comforting in these past few winter months. I did however, often crave some sort of snack to go with the tea – something light and simple. I guess that's what tea cookies and biscotti are for! I went in search of a recipe that I would be able to make easily, without the need for almonds or almond extract (since I don't have either of those ingredients in my apartment at school), and without the use of an electric mixer. All I have for nuts are salted pistachios, which are generally not too forgiving in baked goods. I landed on a recipe for cranberry pistachio biscotti that allowed for salted pistachios, which everyone seemed to rave about, and even though I had no dried cranberries, I was determined to make a similar biscotti with what I had on hand (I did need to make several adjustments). Mmm I love the crispy crunchy bite of biscotti, but I especially like them dipped in coffee or tea. It's like dunking Oreos in milk, except the grown-up version :)
Pistachio Chocolate Chip Biscotti (makes 32 cookies) adapted from Allrecipes.com
1/4 cup light olive oil (I used a combination of canola and regular olive oil)
3/4 cup white sugar
3 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup shelled salted pistachios (if using unsalted nuts, add 1/4 tsp salt to recipe)
1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Prepare a baking sheet covered with foil or parchment.
2. In a large bowl, stir together oil and sugar until blended. Mix in vanilla, then beat in eggs.
3. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and cinnamon. Gradually add flour mixture to the egg mixture, stirring to incorporate. Fold in chocolate chips and nuts. (I used whole pistachios without cutting them up, and it worked fine, but you can chop them up for a finer texture).
4. Divide the dough in half and form two logs about 12×2 inches each, laid out on the baking sheet several inches apart from one another (the dough will be very sticky). To handle the dough more easily, I suggest chilling it for 15-30 minutes, and wet hands with cold water when touching the dough.
5. Bake for 35 minutes, or until logs are light brown. They will spread a good deal in the oven. Move logs to a cutting board and as soon as you can, use a sharp non-serrated blade to cut the logs on the diagonal into 1/2 inch thick slices. (Reduce oven to 275 degrees F while you are cutting the logs).
6. Carefully move biscotti slices back onto baking sheet, laying them on their sides. Bake again for about 30 minutes, or until the biscotti feel firm to the touch – they will continue to firm up as they cool. Remove and cool completely on a rack. Store in an airtight container.
I didn't have the time to pursue it, but lots of people like to decorate their biscotti with melted chocolate: either by drizzling it over the biscotti or by dipping tips of the biscotti into melted chocolate. Either way, it sounds like a great snack! I refrained from adding chocolate on top because I already had chocolate chips in the biscotti, and I figured the chocolate would melt into my hot tea when I dunked the cookies in, and that would be odd. So they're not as pretty as they could be, but I loved the flavor! It was not at all too sweet, with a great cinnamon scent and a roasted nutty flavor from the pistachios. They were simply divine dipped in my pomegranate flavored black tea, what a treat! These cookies keep for a very long time too, which is great for me since I now have 32 and can enjoy them with my tea for a long time without having to make more :) Since they store so well, I'm sure they'd make a great gift as long as they were packed properly (the tips are brittle so if you don't pack them correctly they might break off during shipping). I only wish I had a beautiful clear jar to store my biscotti in, just like I see them at coffee shops. But alas, they'll be sitting in my tupperware until I can afford the luxuries of a real kitchen.