Every so often I look through my cupboards or my refrigerator and see items that I realize are on the verge of going bad. This happened the other day; I opened up my cupboards and found dried figs and apricots that I had forgotten about and were now starting to look a little on the soft/mushy side. A rush of panic came over me – I did not want to lose these guys! They’re just too tasty and even too pricey to waste. I instantly switched gears and began searching for a good recipe. I found one from Leite’s Culinaria for fig, apricot, and nut biscotti that I adapted. The first two things I decided would have to be omitted from my biscotti, to my chagrin, were the hazelnuts and pistachios. My husband does not like various types of nuts, hazelnuts and pistachios included. Trust me, I’ve tried sneaking crushed nuts in here or there and every time, without fail, he notices. After giving me a “stern” talking-to, I promised him I wouldn’t try to dupe him with the nuts again (don’t worry… he’s not allergic). However, he does like peanuts, so I decided I’d crush up some peanuts and that would have to do. So I made fig, apricot, and peanut biscotti. I also decided to dip them in white chocolate because white chocolate makes a lot of things tastier, biscotti included.
The result? The saltiness from the peanuts combined with the sweetness of the white chocolate was the perfect balance; not too sweet, but not too salty either. The fig and apricots added a burst of color to the biscotti, not to mention an Italian flavor that reminded me of Cantucci I’ve had in Siena. Make this recipe for an after-dinner treat or a perfect accompaniment to tea or coffee. To make this biscotti truly authentic, Italian biscotti, add anise, almonds, or hazelnuts.
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup peanuts, coarsely chopped
- 1/4 cup golden raisins
- 4 dried apricots, cut into small pieces
- 4 dried figs, cut into small pieces
- Freshly grated zest of 1 small lemon
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1/2 c white chocolate chips
- 1 TBSP vegetable oil
- Preheat the oven to 300°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Mix the flour and baking powder into a large bowl. Stir in the sugar, peanuts, raisins, apricots, figs, and lemon zest.
- Pour in the lightly beaten eggs and mix well until you get a dough-like mixture. Wet your hands with cool water and, using damp hands, bring the dough together into a ball. It will be quite sticky. Transfer the ball of dough to the prepared baking sheet.
- Wet your hands lightly with water again and pat the dough into a log (you can use a sheet of parchment paper to help shape the sticky dough, if you wish), flattening it slightly so that it is about 3 inches wide.
- Bake for 24 to 30 minutes. To check if the block of biscotti is ready, press very lightly on top. If it springs back, you can take it out of the oven. If it feels firm, leave it in the oven for a few more minutes. Let the block of biscotti cool on the baking sheet for about 10 minutes. Leave the oven on.
- Transfer the biscotti to a cutting board and, using a large, serrated bread knife, slice it into 1/4-inch-thick slices.
- Lay the slices on their side on the baking sheet and return to the hot oven until pale gold, turning them halfway through cooking, about 10 minutes total. The biscotti should appear dry; if not, leave them in the oven for a couple more minutes on each side.
- Remove from the oven and let cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.
- In a small bowl, mix the white chocolate chips and vegetable oil and microwave for 1 minute or until chips have melted. Stir until smooth and dip biscotti tops into white chocolate.
- Allow to cool completely on parchment paper.