Susan and William Brinson are one of those couples who just kind of blow you away with their combined creativity. William photographs some of the most beautiful food, spaces and people for the likes of Martha Stewart Living and Food & Wine, and Susan is an incredibly talented art director and stylist. Together, they create the blog House of Brinson, brimming with gorgeous food and entertaining inspiration. Oh, and they just moved from their rad midtown loft to this house to embark on a total renovation! Can’t wait to follow along with their new adventure, and couldn’t be happier that the Brinsons stopped by to share one of their favorite holiday treats — this Citrus, Cranberry and Hazelnut Biscotti. Without further ado…
I do a lot of baking around the holidays, and use it as a time to indulge in every sugary sweet cookie that struck my fancy over the past year. But by the end of the season, I’ll often opt for the savory version of a cookie over the sweet one. Biscotti is one cookie that I can make in advance and give as gifts or nibble myself. We spend a lot of time driving during the holidays to visit with family and nothing makes the car ride easier like a coffee and biscotti. This recipe has been part of my go-to collection for years, and you can change out the flavors depending on the season. I went rather savory, but you can use dark chocolate, white chocolate, pistachios or any other hard nut. Remember to toast your nuts if they don’t come that way. Place nuts on a cookie sheet and toast for 10 minutes or so in a 325 degree oven. You know they’re toasted when you can smell the aroma (meaning the oils have been released from the nuts.)
If you’re giving these as gifts, store in an air tight container until you’re ready to package them. I wrap one or two biscotti in a little piece of wax paper with twine. I think this makes them feel a little fancy without a lot of time added. Have all your packaging supplies ready to make a quick job of it. I bought this cute bakers twine in shades of blue this year.
Citrus, Cranberry and Hazelnut Biscotti
- 3/4 cup cornmeal
- 2 cups flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup sugar
1/2 cup toasted hazel nuts, chopped
1/2 dried cranberries
Zest of one orange
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Whisk cornmeal, flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl and set aside.
- Cream eggs and sugar using a stand mixer with paddle attachment. You can also use a hand mixer but might have to stir in the flavor ingredients at the end. This dough is tough!
- After creaming eggs and sugar, add in dry ingredients from the small bowl and combine well.
- Add in your flavor ingredients. You can zest the orange right over the bowl. If you substitute other flavors, use the measurements for the correct dough to flavor ingredient ratio.
- Prepare a cookie sheet by lining with parchment or a silicone non-stick baking mat. Turn your dough out onto the mat and form into one log, about 4 inches x 1 inch x 10 inches. Make sure the ends aren’t too pointy or you’ll have itty bitty biscotti, try and keep it a log and avoid tapering off the ends. TIP: wet your hands of dough is too sticky.
- Bake in a 325 degree oven for about 30 – 35 minutes.
- Remove from oven and let cool a bit, until it’s safe to handle. Using a bread knife (serrated) cut into 1/2 inch slices. Return sliced biscotti to baking sheet and bake for another 25 minutes. Now, my new oven is a bit fussy. I recommend check these half way through to see if one side is getting too brown (turn them over it it is). When I had a convection oven I didn’t need to worry about this, so double check based on your oven.
*photos by William Brinson