Guest Post: Holiday Inspired Cranberry Pistachio Biscotti


Merry Christmas my friends, can you all believe the holiday season everyone dreams about is finally here for us :D :D :D :D

I hope you are all celebrating with family friends this joyous occasion of 2012, with lots of wonderful festivities, food and laughter :)

I wish I could be here with you all, and I promise to celebrate with you all belatedly but right now, I am with my family in India as I should be during this fabulous time :)

But no fear, no fear, I have some incredible guestposts lined up for you all and I hope each and every one brings a smile to your faces like they did mine – what else is Christmas and New Years about if not grinning? :D

Happy Holidays!!!

P.S. I will not be commenting on ANY blogs for approximately 2 weeks so please do not think I have forgotten about anyone, I will be back on task straight after holidays :)

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3….2…..1…. HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! In a few short hours, the world will be celebrating the beginning of 2013 and I just wanted to wish you all the best for the new years, though I hope to show you all the possibilities it holds when I come home – after all my dear Aztec friends, looks like the world obviously DID NOT end ;)

Now on to the guestpost…
So you all know I have an unhealthy obsession with the deliciousness that is sugar, and butter and everything else as such. You all also know how bad this stuff is for you and therefore can only be enjoyed in small quantities. Since that is not really an option for yours truly with a sweet tooth the size of Everest, I was so happy when I ran into low-carbs expert C.J over at Food Stories Blog.

C.J is seriously one of the most inspiring bloggers I know. You may already have heard of her as the mastermind behind the fantastic Food Stories project as well as the Food Photo competition AND the creator of the Food Stories Award – busy blogger for sure! Besides this, she has so much balance between flavour and healthiness that when you see her recipes (as you are about to) you would not even guess it! I love your blog C.J and am honoured you can share your awesome skills with us today :D :D

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Hello, my fellow foodies! My name is C.J. and I’m from Food Stories Blog. I am a nurse and a food blogger from southern California. Like most of you, I love food and all things food related … especially a great Food Story ;-)

Unfortunately, I’m also a diabetic so I work very hard to moderate the amount of carbs that I eat while trying to focus on healthy, natural, unprocessed, whole foods. Whole foods & low carb can be a delicate balance but for me, it’s a way of life. Now, in all honesty, around the holidays it becomes much more difficult to eat right and I struggle with it. Working at a hospital makes it quite difficult because of the long hours with no breaks and all the food gifts from the patients and their families. Sometimes, I just throw up my hands and enjoy the seasonal fair. This biscotti certainly feels like a splurge but it can be made fairly balanced if you make it right.

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When Uru extended the invitation to blog, I was so excited, practically bouncing off the walls, but I was also worried. Just like my dear hubby, how many people really enjoy eating low carb? Obviously, I’m accustomed to the lifestyle change but many times he just rolls his eyes and wants a “regular” treat so from time to time I do reward him with “regular” treats. For those of you that can hang with me to the end of the post, I promise, you will be rewarded :)

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Biscotti date back to Ancient times. The term literally means “twice baked.” These hard biscuits fueled armies and fed travelers. Flavor variations and culinary techniques evolved according to time and place. The English rusk, German zwieback, Jewish Mandelbrot, British ship’s biscuit, and American hardtack are similar in purpose and method. (Food Timeline)

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Since biscotti are very dry, they are traditionally served with a drink for dunking. In Italy they are typically served as an after-dinner dessert with a Tuscan fortified wine. Outside of Italy, they are more frequently accompanied by coffee or tea.

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I love coffee so it’s probably natural that I love biscotti. Up until now, I had only been a consumer but now I’m a biscotti baker. Uru’s blogging invitation really made me think about what I wanted to share and I immediately wondered if I could make biscotti. Really, it always looked so intimidating but it turned out to be very easy.

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When I do eat carbs from flour, I try to eat the healthiest one’s available so I was thrilled to learn that biscotti really lends itself to whole-wheat flour. The very first recipe I tried worked out great, which almost never happens in my world. The batch that you see here is only my second batch of biscotti and they turned out fabulous. This amazing whole grain recipe was adapted from Whole Grain Baking by King Arthur Flour.

Holiday Inspired Cranberry Pistachio Biscotti

Yields: about 21 biscotti

Ingredients:

  • 6 tbs unsalted butter
  • 2/3 cup sugar (I use Whey Low Granular, a sugar substitute)
  • 1-1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup cranberries, dried (cranberries are high in natural sugar so I use unsweetened)
  • 1/2 cup pistachios, shelled & chopped

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C)
  2. Lightly grease a baking sheet that’s at least 16 inches long.
  3. Cream the butter and sugar together until smooth.
  4. Mix in the baking powder, salt and vanilla.
Add the eggs in one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl.
  5. Add the flour and mix well.
Add the cranberries/pistachios and mix well.
  6. Scrape the dough onto the prepared baking sheet.
Lightly wet your fingers and pat/smooth the dough into a log about 14 inches long by 2-1/2 inches wide and 3/4 inch thick.
  7. Bake for 25 minutes and remove from the oven.
Reduce the oven temp to 325 degrees F (160 degrees C).
Let the log cool about 15 minutes then cut into 3/4 inch slices with a serrated knife.
  8. For longer biscotti, cut diagonal slices.
Arrange the slices upright on the baking sheet and return to the oven until biscotti are a very light, golden brown. About 20-30 minutes.
  9. Remove from the oven and let cool right on the pan.

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Note:

  • These keep well in an airtight container for about two weeks. Some sources say even longer! All I know is these are great for the holidays and for holiday gift gifting!

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Now, I know this should probably be the end of the post but I just can’t leave Uru hanging without some chocolate-y goodness so I made another batch just for her…

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I call these Double Chocolate Pistachio Biscotti and they were made with all the regular, full carb, chocolate-y ingredients that I knew she would like.

I took the first 7 ingredients from the original recipe and modified it by

  • Adding two extra tbs unsalted butter
  • 1 cup pistachios
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup cocoa
  • 1 tsp espresso powder

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These are so rich/decadent and pair well with a piping hot mug of cocoa. Personally, I prefer coffee or tea but I know Uru likes chocolate on top of chocolate so that’s my official recommendation :)

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C.J. Ludlow, MBA, RN  •  Food Stories Blog

Email: foodstoriesblog@gmail.com  •  Web: http://foodstoriesblog.com

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I think I can hear jingle bells right now and Santa wriggling down the non-existent chimney just to get to these cookies my friend – and what an awesome surprise, the chocolate biscotti were unexpected but very appreciated (virtually ;))

Thank you so much C.J!

This was a fantastic post to show it is possible to eat moderately healthy without losing any flavour whatsoever! If you want more recipes to indulge without indulging, be sure to check out C.J’s incredible Food Stories Blog :D
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65 Comments

  1. Pingback: Guest Post #2: Giving Baked Goods As Gifts | Go Bake Yourself

  2. Kimby says:

    Your guest post was chock full of goodies, C.J. — food history, creative photos (loved the one with The Twelve Days Of Christmas!), dietary adaptations & more — and then you topped it off with a chocolate biscotti version. Many thanks for a terrific guest post!

  3. Thanks for sharing, C.J.! I love the healthier aspects of this biscotti. I’ve never made it before but yours look so perfect, I’m getting inspired ;) Happy New Year to both you and Uru!

  4. I have always loved these dry biscotti and recently tried some sugar and grain free ones and they turned out just as great though, I must admit, I was worried. It’s great to still be able to have sweet treats even if we have digestive issues. Happy New Year!

  5. A_Boleyn says:

    Hello CJ and welcome. Both your biscotti recipes are very appetizing looking. The pistachio/cranberry colours are seasonal and would make a great tasty addition to a cookies and pastry gift basket or even just a mug filled with cocoa as would the chocolate version. I’m sure low carb diet planners appreciate having a treat like your biscotti around the holidays when everyone is indulging.

  6. Wow, CJ! Those biscotti look great! Especially the cranberry pistachio one! Not that the chocolate one doesn’t, but it’s just all festive with the red cranberries and the green pistachios. I think I need to try my hand at some biscotti!

  7. Food Stories says:

    Uru – Thx so much for giving me the opportunity to share with your readers – I had great fun & hope you’re having a great time on your well-deserved break … Happy Holidays!

  8. Pingback: Holiday Inspired Cranberry Pistachio Biscotti | Food Stories

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