Sour Cherry, Cardamom, and Almond Biscotti--Alice Hawkins

Makes 3 dozen biscotti

½ cup dried sour cherries
½ cup fresh orange juice
1 cup sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
zest of 1 lemon
¼ teaspoon of salt
2 large eggs
1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 ½ teaspoons almond extract
1 ¾ cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
¾ teaspoon ground cardamom seeds
½ cup whole blanched almonds, roughly chopped

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

  1. In a small saucepan over a low heat, combine the cherries and orange juice and bring to a simmer.  Remove from the heat, cover, and let the cherries reconstitute.
  2. Cream the butter, sugar, salt and zest until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the vanilla and almond extract.
  3. In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder and cardamom.
  4. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture in three separate batches, mixing well after each addition.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  5. Drain the cherries, discarding the juice.  Stir the cherries and almonds into the dough.
  6. Turn the dough out onto the prepared cookie sheet, flatten, and refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour.
  7. On a lightly floured work surface, divide the dough in half.  Using a little extra flour if the dough is sticky, roll each half into a log about 14 inches long.
  8. Position the rack in the center of your oven.  Preheat the oven to 350F. Line the cookie sheet with a new lining of parchment paper.
  9. Place the logs about 4 inches apart on the prepared cookie sheet. Bake for 30 minutes, or until the logs are lightly golden and still firm.  Remove to a wire rack to cool. Turn the oven down to 275F.
  10. As soon as the logs are cool enough to handle but still warm, about 10 minutes, carefully peel back the paper and transfer to a wooden chopping board.  Using a serrated bread knife, gently score the logs at ¾ inch intervals on a 45-degree angle to the axis of the roll.  After scoring, cut through each scored line in one motion with a sharp chef’s knife, slicing the logs into pieces.
  11. Carefully transfer the cookies to a freshly lined cookie sheet, not touching each other. Bake for an additional 50-60 minutes, rotating the cookie and cookie sheet after 25-30 minutes. Remove to a wire rack to cool at room temperature.