“I have long believed that nobody actually makes fruitcakes. I believe that all fruitcakes were formed thousands of years ago by some kind of horrible natural catastrophe involving: fruit, cake, and a radioactive meteorite,” ― Dave Barry
Clearly Mr. Barry never had fruitcake biscotti.
But we know fruitcake has a bad reputation. Perhaps deservingly, or undeservingly so, you be the judge. The mass-produced version is loaded with ingredients, some questionable at best, artificial at worst, and it has so much sugar that your dentist would cringe if they only knew. It’s the butt of holiday jokes and hated by most people who are on the receiving end when gifted.
So let’s focus instead on something most everyone loves: biscotti. Because I have yet to meet anyone who doesn’t like a good biscotto. Certainly dipped in an espresso, anisette liquor, or vin santo, and you have a perfect treat!
But how can we change them and make them more “Christmassy?” Hazelnut and almond biscotti are great, but they are so “every day” that they hardly scream “holidays.” So how about some fruitcake biscotti? Now, I know what you might be thinking. But “I HATE fruitcake!” But unlike the dreaded fruitcake, these are delicious and crisp, and hit the spot during this time of year! Other than the candid fruit, the rest of the ingredients are basic, and you likely already have them in the fridge and pantry. I use Paradise Old English Fruit and Peel Mix for the fruit mix. This fruit mix is just right in size, very small, and perfect for these biscotti. And amazingly, the mix is not overly sweet.
Generally, biscotti are double-baked, and these crisp up and get a bit chewy from all the fruit after the double-bake. However, left un-toasted, (as I actually prefer them) they remain a bit cake-like and much softer.
Add these to your holiday dessert table this year for a new twist on a classic treat!
3½ Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
3 Cups all-purpose flour + 1 additional tablespoon
1½ cups sugar
Pinch of salt
2 Teaspoons baking powder
1½ cups fruit cake mix (mix of candid citrus peel, cherries, pineapple)
2 Large eggs
4 Large egg yolks, divided
Zest of 1 orange
1 Tablespoon honey
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and set the oven rack to the second to last position from the bottom. Prepare two baking sheets with parchment paper and set them aside.
- In a large bowl, sift the three cups of flour. Add the sugar, pinch of salt and baking powder and mix all the ingredients with a fork. Set them aside.
- In a medium bowl, add the candid fruitcake mix and add the 1 remaining tablespoon of flour. Coat the fruit pieces with the flour and set them aside.
- In a stand mixer, mix the two eggs and three egg yolks. Add the orange zest and honey and mix well.
- Slowly add the flour mixture to the egg mixture, alternating with the cooled melted butter, and mix all the ingredients well until combined.
- When the biscotti dough is well mixed and combined, reduce the speed of the mixer to the lowest speed and add the candid fruit. Mix just until incorporated. Move all the dough to a floured surface and continue mixing and combining all the ingredients by hand.
- Divide the dough into three equal logs. You can weigh each piece on a kitchen scale for accuracy, if needed.
- Shape the dough into 14-inch logs and place them on the prepared cookie sheets. Do not add more than 2 logs per cookie sheet, as they tend to spread during baking. Slightly flatten the logs.
- With a fork, mix the remaining egg yolk. Using a pastry brush, brush the logs with the egg. For added crunch, sprinkle some granulated sugar on top, if desired.
- Bake the biscotti logs for 23 – 25 minutes, until they are golden in color. Remove from the oven and allow the baked logs to cool for 5 minutes. Using a serrated bread knife, slice the logs into 1-inch biscotti and transfer them back to the cookie sheet, cut side down.
- Lower the oven to 300 degrees and re-toast the biscotti for an additional 5 minutes per side. Alternatively, you can skip the double-bake and enjoy them a bit softer. Fruitcake biscotti will last for several weeks when stored in an airtight container.
What to Pack for Italy
Cosa Mettere in Valigia per l'Italia
Everyone is always asking me what they should pack for Italy,
so I’ve created a quick reference guide that you can use for your next trip.
Hint: You don’t need nearly as much as you think you do!