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A few years ago, I attended an event honoring the University of Maryland’s Center for Celiac Research, where dignitaries from Italy were also in attendance. We were celebrating the new parntership forged between the medical schools at the University of Maryland and the University of Salerno, in Italy. The two schools had formed a program where a master’s degree in “Celiac Disease: From Clinic to Management” – the first of its kind – could be earned through the University of Maryland-Baltimore and Scuola Medica Salernitana, one of world’s oldest medical schools.
You might be wondering how biscotti is related to this partnership. Good question!
At this event, caterers were hand-picked who could serve these Italian and local dignitaries appropriately, and could prepare the dishes gluten free. I was asked to donate my All Purpose Gluten Free Flour to the cause, and I also supplied a bread sticks recipe for the tables. Some of my flour went to the caterer making the dessert, and it was used to make a heavenly biscotti unlike any I’ve had before. Crunchy and sweet, with just the right amount of crumble. It was definitely a gastronomical highlight of the evening!
I soon contacted said caterer for the recipe, which he happily provided. This recipe has been among a growing stack of papers on my desk for … let’s just say a couple years, ahem, where it has remained, patiently waiting to be made again by me.
Fast forward to more modern times. As I hope you already know, I have started a wonderful community event called the Gluten Free Cookie Swap on Facebook. Here, anyone can go and search from a ton of wonderful cookie recipes posted by members of our gluten-free community who live everywhere from California to Canada and anywhere in between.
Regular folks who eat gluten-free and have devised delicious ways to satisfy their cravings for good cookies. Bloggers who have tested recipes to pass on. Many of my favorite cookie recipes are there too. It’s just an all around great place to go to find a cookie recipe (and until December 15, 2010, to WIN prizes for having the most “liked” recipe too!).
So, one day I was perusing these recipes, getting quite hungry, when I spied a recipe for Cranberry Biscotti. It was a sign! I just had to revisit that Italian recipe this holiday season and make that darn biscotti!
I set to work and found the recipe, but noticed it contained anise seeds and anisette liqueur. I usually try to make my recipes as easy as possible and to have as few “odd” ingredients as can be, so as not to deter others from trying them! So, I checked that reader’s cranberry biscotti recipe and decided I’d morph the two to create my own Cranberry-Almond Biscotti! And boy was it delicious!
Easy, tasty and pretty to give as gifts this holiday too! I hope you enjoy!
Preheat oven to 325 F. Measure out 1 1/4 cups blanched almonds. Spread across a parchment-lined baking sheet and toast in the oven for 13 minutes, or until lightly browned and smelling heavenly.
Leave oven on, but remove almonds at this point. Cool slightly on a wire rack. Finely chop 1/4 cup of the almonds into a coarse-ground meal. Remeasure to be sure you have 1/4 cup. Set aside these ground almonds. Coarsely chop (pulse one or two times on a food processor) the remaining 1 cup toasted almonds. Set aside.
Cream the butter with the sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and almond extract – mix until incorporated. Stir in the flour, almond meal, corn meal, baking powder and salt. Lastly, stir in the coarsely chopped almonds and cranberries until well-distributed. The dough should be somewhat sticky, but pull away from the sides of the bowl — add flour by the tablespoon if necessary to get the dough to come together.
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Divide the dough into 4 sections. Scoop each section individually into your floured hands to prevent it from sticking. Form a log with each ball of dough — approximately 3/4 inches high by 2 inches wide (the logs will spread when baking, so leave space between them).
Repeat with other sections of dough to form 4 logs — two on each baking sheet. Pat the tops down gently so they are slightly less rounded. Sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar, if desired.
Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes, or until set and lightly browned. Remove to cool on wire rack for 5-10 minutes, until able to be sliced. Slice at a slight angle to form 1/2 inch thick slices and return each slice, cut-side down, to the parchment-lined baking sheets. The biscotti will harden as they cool.
Yield: approximately 2 dozen cookies.