Traditional Christmas baking biscotti or cantucci in a basket on a wooden table copy space
Happy Holidays from Tuscan Women Cook!
'Tis the season when homes fill with friends, family, gifts and goodies!

All your friends at Tuscan Women Cook send you our very best holiday wishes  along with this Italian recipe that will take you and your taste buds back to the Tuscan countryside.  

Biscotti are a deliciously crunchy holiday sweet to bake and deliver to friends and family. It's much more than a cookie. This authentic Italian treat, possibly around since ancient Rome but since the 19th century associated with the city of Prato near Florence, is often enjoyed at the end of Italian dinners with a glass of the dessert wine Vin Santo, into which they are dunked. Biscotti ingredients can be easily adapted with your favorite flavors. We like to add cranberries or currants, almonds or pine nuts. For an extra zing, add lemon zest or fennel seeds.

Our thanks to our Tuscan Women Cook friend and baker Joyce Konigsberg, who created this colorful recipe to celebrate the season and the tricolors of the Italian flag.

Buon Natale e Felice anno Nuovo!

Say YES! to visiting Montefollonico next year in Italy with Tuscan Women Cook.

--Coleen Kirnan & Rhonda Vilardo
Tuscan Style Biscotti for the Holiday Table
1/2 cup finely chopped dried cherries
1/4 cup almond liqueur
1/4 cup sweet butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs
Grated zest of 1 small orange
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
2 1/4 cups flour, sifted
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cinnamon
1/4 cup coarsely chopped pistachios
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Soak cherries in liqueur for 30 minutes. Lightly grease 2 cookie sheets. Strain cherries and set aside, reserving 2 teaspoons liqueur. In a large bowl, cream butter, sugar, and eggs. Add zest, reserved liqueur, and extract. Stir and set aside. Sift flour again with baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Combine the dry ingredients with the eggs mixture. Add pistachios and rehydrated cherries. Mix together with a fork. Shape the dough into a ball by hand. Lightly flour a board. Knead dough on floured board for a few minutes. Split dough in half. Form each half by hand into a 1-inch-thick rope-like roll. Flatten each roll until it is 3 inches wide. Place on cookie sheet 2 inches apart and bake for 40 minutes until lightly browned. Remove to a breadboard, and cut diagonally while warm into 1/2-inch-wide slices. Place slices, cut side up, on second cookie sheet. Bake on the top shelf of the oven until toasted, turn, and toast the other side. Makes about 2 dozen.

( optional) While the cookies are cooling, lay out aluminum foil or waxed paper. Melt the chocolate. Dip other side of the biscotti into the chocolate and set, plain side down, on foil until chocolate hardens.

Serve with Vin Santo. Enjoy at Tuscan Women Cook in Montefollonico!

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