Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Cranberry-pistachio biscotti with crystallized ginger

Cranberry-pistachio biscotti with crystallized ginger
I have now participated in my first-ever cookie swap ... and it was a virtual one!

(Although a friend recently suggested a Cocktail Swap would be way more fun. I couldn't agree more!)

I signed up this year to take part in the second annual Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap, which was not only just a fun way to exchange cookies and recipes with other food bloggers but also a fundraiser for Cookies for Kids' Cancer.

The premise was simple: once I signed up to participate, I received the names and addresses of three other food bloggers (all new to me, which was cool). I baked each of them a dozen of the same cookies and shipped them off to be enjoyed. In turn, I received three dozen cookies from three other food bloggers (again, all new to me).

So I got a ton of cookies to enjoy and some new blogs to check out: win win.

Today is the day that everyone who participated in the Swap was asked to post his/her cookie recipe. A great idea so that, if you really dug the cookies you received, you'll be able to make them again for yourself!

I chose to make cranberry-pistachio biscotti with crystallized ginger for a couple of reasons:
  • The red cranberries and green pistachios look darned festive together
  • Given its drier nature, biscotti travels well -- ideal for a long-distance cookie swap (my cookies went to Florida, Texas and Nevada)
  • This recipe uses olive oil rather than butter, so I feel a bit less guilty cramming in a whole handful of cookies
  • Biscotti is always a crowd-pleaser, as it makes a lovely dessert cookie but can also be scammed as breakfast  with a cup of coffee or tea

This time, I threw some crystallized ginger into the mix and, I have to say, it completely kicked the biscotti up a notch, gave it that little extra zing that took the cookies from good to great.

In addition to posting my own recipe, I thought it would be fun to show you the cookies that I received and that we've been enjoying all week:

And Deanna gets special props for going the extra mile to send me a second, "make-up" batch of the jumbles after the ever-efficient post office "misplaced" the first batch for a couple of weeks and they arrived a bit past their prime. (They were worth the wait!)

I have no doubt that you'll find one, if not all, of these four cookie recipes to your liking.

Are you a cookie swapper? What's your favorite cookie recipe to bake and swap? The Ninj wants to know.

Cranberry-Pistachio Biscotti with Crystallized Ginger (adapted from All Recipes)
(makes about 5 1/2 dozen cookies but can be halved easily)

3 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup olive oil
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon almond extract
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups dried cranberries, chopped
1/2 cup crystallized ginger, chopped
2 cups shelled pistachios

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Combine the flour, salt and baking powder in a bowl; set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the oil and sugar well.  Mix in the vanilla and almond extracts and then beat in the eggs. In small batches, add the dry mixture to the wet and mix until combined. On lowest speed, mix in the fruit and nuts.

Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface (the dough will be VERY sticky, so feel free to keep sprinkling it with flour to keep it workable). Divide it into four equal sections and shape each section into a roughly 2-inch wide log. Place the logs onto a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper, giving them space to expand.

Bake for about 30-35 minutes or until lightly golden. Remove from the oven and set the logs on a cutting board, while lowering the oven temperature to 275 degrees. When the logs are cool enough to handle (about 10 minutes), cut them on the diagonal into slices about 3/4 - 1 inch thick. Put the slices (you can crowd them) back onto the baking sheet and bake for another 10 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack.


  1. These were DELISH Julianne!! Thank you so much!!

    1. Happy to hear that you liked them, Faith -- hope they arrived intact!