I was looking for something original to take for this year’s cookie exchange at work. A friend of mine suggested biscotti, which reminded me of the pumpkin and gingerbread biscotti recipes I made a while back and took into work. Granted, people will eat nearly anything you take to the office; but these really were a big hit.
So, I would make biscotti for the cookie exchange. But I needed something original and holiday-oriented. Then I got to thinking: does anything say Christmas more than fruitcake? I did a Google search for “fruitcake biscotti”, and I found some recipes. But nothing that really impressed me. So I decided to invent my own recipe.
I had a few goals in mind. I knew I wanted to use candied citrus peel, dried mixed fruit, and fiori di sicilia. And bourbon. (I know rum would have been more traditional, but I’m partial to bourbon.) Finally, and most importantly, I wanted it to have the essence of fruitcake but not to taste like a dried-out fruitcake. In fact, I hesitated to use the word “fruitcake”, as so many people have negative associations with it. In the end, I stuck with the name, because it was descriptive and, I hoped, might change some opinions about this wonderful holiday treat.
And I think I got it right. Try it out and let me know what you think.
- 1 cup dried mixed fruit
- 1/2 cup candied mixed citrus peel
- 1/4 cup bourbon
- 2/3 cup raw whole almonds
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 3 extra large eggs
- 1/2 teaspoon fiori di sicilia
- 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
- 5 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
- Put fruit and citrus peel in small bowl. Add bourbon and soak for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Toast almonds in a dry skillet over medium-high heat, shaking pan often, until lightly toasted, about 2-3 minutes. Allow to cool, then coarsely chop almonds.
- Beat butter and sugars at medium speed in electric mixer until well blended. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add fiori di sicilia and almond extract and mix well.
- In a medium bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add to butter mixture, and beat well. Add fruit and almonds and mix well.
- Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface. Divide dough in half and roll/pat each half into a log, the length of a cookie sheet and about 2-inches in diameter.
- Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat. Place both dough logs on the baking sheet and flatten slightly.
- Bake for 35-40 minutes, until baked through and lightly browned. Cool on a wire rack until cool enough to handle.
- Slice each log on the diagonal into 1/2-inch thick slices. Use a good, serrated bread knife, and allow the knife to do the cutting.
- Place the slices on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 325 for 10 minutes. Turn slices over and bake for another 10 minutes.
- Cool completely on a wire rack.
Yield: about 3 dozen biscotti
These go great with a cup of coffee or hot cocoa. The fruit is delicious without being overpowering. Same with the bourbon. And the almonds give it a nice crunch.