Apricot White Chocolate Biscotti

I’m one of those rare people who both defends the meticulous execution of family traditions, yet also embraces and creatively introduces new ones.  And I gotta say, my family traditions are a hoot.  There’s no hiding from the laughs when one starts to unfold.

For as far back as my family photos show, a few years before the images my memory can recall, we have had a family Easter egg hunt.

And innocently enough, it began as something naïve and joyful with three little munchkins trotting around the house in search of bright plastic, goody-filled eggs hidden in the most inconspicuous of places (ex lying camoflagued in noen pink in the middle of the family room floor).

And as the young children grew, so did the traditional hunt.

The game became so mature that the now almost 30-something women return with nail scratches as badges of victory in battle for remaining eggs. These eggs now even contain clues where the minds of masters must be applied to crack the location of the next one.

This year perhaps a new tradition has hatched.  I hosted my own rhyming-clue egg hunt for two of my friends.

Although it started a bit rocky as the bewildered adults awkwardly deciphered the hidden meanings of funny clues, it ended with loads of laughs, perspiration and of course, fabulous prizes.  It seemed that no matter how hard they tried to contain that little child inside who was prepared to push their opponent face first into a bunny hole to grab a plastic egg, resistance proved futile.

And I have to say that seeing my friend sitting proudly on the couch donning her bunny ears and swigging her bright pink liquor straight from the bottle while eagerly examining the remaining gifts left in her basket, I couldn’t help but begin strategizing more ways to bring my family traditions to new territory.

So I flung myself immediately into something new to keep the fresh excitement rolling: biscotti.  I was hoping it would be special enough to stick around year after year just like our traditions- and boy will it be here to stay!

Crunch, soft sweetness and tart apricot combine for a harmonizing moment in your mouth.  I hope to transport this treat into a tradition in your home as well.

Hop along with me:

Naturally dried apricots- wholesome and crinkly.  You won’t miss the orange glow of phony.

Stare back at your glaring wet ingredients and acknowledge them with a mix.

The wet waits patiently until the dry is mixed in.

Time to texturize.

Round 1.  Recover.  Round 2.

Eat one warm.  Trust me.  Let crunch settle upon the rest. Yum!

Apricot White Chocolate Biscotti

I started playing with allrecipes‘ biscotti recipe and found a big time winner combining an adapted version of theirs with an irresistible flavor profile.  The varying shades of white bring an elegance to this Italian cookie and the soft, tart apricot is a welcomed, refreshing pop that pulls it all together.

1/4 C extra light olive oil

3/4 C white sugar

1 T vanilla

2 eggs

1/4 tsp orange zest

1 3/4 C all purpose flour

1/4 tsp fine sea salt

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 C dried apricots, chopped to the size you want them in your biscotti

fresh squeezed orange juice, about 1 T

1 C slivered almonds

1/2 C white chocolate chips

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.  Line a large baking sheet with a silpat mat or parchment paper.
  2. In a small dish, toss apricot pieces with just enough orange juice to coat them all but not to be pooling at the bottom.  Set them aside for at least 20 min before moving on.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk the oil and sugar thoroughly for a few minutes.  Add vanilla and eggs and whisk.  Then mix in orange zest.
  4. Separately, mix all the dry ingredients- flour, salt and baking powder.
  5. Add all of the dry ingredients into the wet and then mix until combined, but do not overmix..  The dough will be sticky.
  6. Hand mix in the chocolate chips, apricot pieces and almonds.  Clean your hands.
  7. Divide the dough in half and form each half into a roughly 9″ x 5″  with a flattened, even top (these will be big biscotti).  Wetting your hands slightly will help the dough to not stick to them.
  8. Bake in preheated oven for 35 minutes then remove from oven.  Moisten two paper towels and then wring them out until they are just damp. Cover each loaf with the damp paper towel and allow to cool for 20 minutes.  This will help to prevent cracking. While they are cooling, lower oven temperature to 275 F.
  9. Use a large, sharp knife (not serrated) and slice into 1 inch thick slices while loaf is horizontal.  Slice just the top until you break through, then push down without sawing through for the cleanest cut.  Place each piece on its side back on the baking sheet with parchment/silpat mat.
  10. Bake at 275 F for 15-25 min until each piece has baked through the center just as it looks on the outside and is now a very pale golden.  Smaller pieces may finish sooner than the center cuts, so as you check on them you can pull those out earlier.
  11. Cool on cooling rack completely and enjoy!  – Store in an air tight container and if serving the following day, you can dry them out again in a 275 oven briefly to get the crunch back in case they have become slightly chewy.  Yum!


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