NOVEMBER RECIPES: Cranberry Brown Butter Pecan Biscotti

 Welcome to the new leader of our culinary team, Chef Brendan Murphy.  The Chef has transformed the dinner menu at Starky’s with creative and flavorful dishes that will knock you out!  Chef Brendan makes fresh pasta and pizza dough daily and creates a Chef’s Special featuring local products in the area. each day.  Each dish is paired with a wine from our easy to navigate wine list.  Desserts are show stoppers with our own rich custom roast from Rockford Coffee.  Drop in and meet the Chef, taste something wonderful, and have a great evening of dining @ Starky’s Downtown Bozeman!

NOVEMBER 2013

“The Sunday Chef’s Test Kitchen” Food Report

November is cranberry season and these tart little gems are all over our menu at Starky’s.  We are crazy for cranberries in the Starky test kitchen where food testing happens on Sundays; a leisurely day to explore new flavors & ideas without the hubbub of a noisy commercial kitchen.  Sunday food should be slower & more delicious with details that a weeknight quick fix just doesn’t accomplish.  Here’s what the Sunday Chef is sharing with you this week:

Cranberry & Brown Butter Pecan Biscotti

biscotti 7

Starky’s Sunday Chef Recipe:

2 cups flour

¾ cup sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon sea salt

3 eggs

2 Tablespoons Orange Liquor

1 Tablespoon Vanilla

Zest of one medium size orange

8 ounces dried cranberries (about 1 cup)

8 ounces Pecans (Walnuts or Pistachio)

1 teaspoon unsalted butter

Raw or Coarse Sugar for sprinkling

 

biscotti step 2

First Things First:  Get all of these ingredients out on your counter and measure them out.  Preheat your oven to 300 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper (because we hate scrubbing pans).

So, lots of little bowls helps, but even if you just get everything out and measuring tools standing by, it will feel easier when you start mixing. Nothing’s worse than getting half way done mixing and you’re out of something!

Start by chopping up the nuts of your choice.  We like them big and chunky, but you can chop them however you like.  A chef’s knife is our preferred tool, but if you are careful, pulsing them in a mini food processor does the trick.

biscotti pecan size

If you have one of those little cheapy non-stick frying pans, it works great for toasting the nuts.  THIS IS A STEP THAT YOU SHOULD NOT SKIP!  Toasting nuts takes any baked product from Zero to Ten.  Place the chopped nuts in your pan, turn heat to low, and shake them, flip them, stir them or swirl them until they smell fragrant and are starting to get toasty.  Don’t saunter off during this step, nuts can burn quickly.  Add your teaspoon of butter, swirl the nuts around and let the butter get bubbly and slightly browned.  Remove your pan and let them cool.  Your house will smell terrific.

Now that you have toasty nuts, set them aside and start the batter.  Grab a bigger bowl and add all your dry ingredients.  Whisk them around with a wire whisk or fork.  Now grab a smaller bowl and crack the eggs right in.  Add the flavorings & zest and give it a good whisking.  Now pour those wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and with your trusty spatula, fold together until a batter forms; it will be really sticky.  Over mixing makes tough baked goods, so go easy!  Toss in your toasty nuts and cranberries & stir until they are mixed in.

biscotti log

A little spritz of pan spray or olive oil on your hands makes this next part a little easier.  Scrape the batter from the bowl onto your prepared baking sheet and form into a long flattened out log.  Sprinkle that log generously with super crunchy raw sugar pop it into the oven for a long, slow bake.  Set your timer for 35-40 minutes.  The cookie log should look golden on the sides and springy to the touch.

Remove the baking sheet and let the cookie log rest a few minutes.  Transfer the entire parchment sheet to a cutting board and begin to slice the cookie log into very thin slices, maybe half or one-third an inch.  Thicker is okay too; but these biscotti get pretty crunchy and we don’t want emergency dental attention (dunking in coffee, tea, wine or hot chocolate takes care of that)

biscotti slice

We truly love our “super slicer” to slice biscotti, but any serrated bread knife or slicer will work.  The knife cuts right through the cranberries and nuts to make tidy little cookies.  Place the cookies on a replacement parchment sheet and return to the oven for 15 minutes.  Some recipes say to turn them over half way through the second bake, but it seems to work just fine without the effort.  Depending on your slicing style, this recipe yields about 30 perfectly crisp biscotti.  Of course, there are chocolate dipping possibilities if you want to be fancy or even a drizzle of orange juice and powdered sugar if you want more sweetness, but these are pretty perfect for drinking with coffee, wine or just plain snacking.

Change up your ingredients at will!  Any dried fruit, nut or chocolate combo works…chopped dried apricots and pistachio, dried cherry and chocolate chip, crystallized ginger and macadamia…endless possibilities.  Happy Baking!  Stay tuned for next week’s trio of recipes for Thanksgiving Appetizer Spreads!