In addition to being nominated for the Baltimore Sun Mobbies (don’t forget to vote daily until November 14th!), several of our photos and recipes have been featured in an article on Babble.com. Our Chili Spiced Mango Biscotti with Chili Flavored Dark Chocolate and Homemade Chipotle Almonds and our Candied Bacon with Fresh Rosemary Biscotti were included in a recipe roundup about cookies that incorporate herbs and spices. You can read it here. It got us thinking about how to incorporate more fresh herbs into our biscotti.
We’ve (okay I’ve) also been thinking a lot about the Ricotta Pear Cake in Dolci: Italy’s Sweets, but was having a hard time justifying buying an entire bottle of pear brandy for the two tablespoons called for in the recipe. Yet, if we also used the brandy in some biscotti it would be worth the purchase, right?
With pear brandy in hand and sage in the fridge, our Sun-Dried Pear, Fresh Sage, and Almond Biscotti with Pear Brandy were born. The fresh sage lends a subtle earthy tone and an overall fragrant aroma, while the chewy pear and crystallized ginger contrast with the crunchy almonds. The pear brandy infuses each bite.
We love the idea of creating herbal infused sugars. So, for this recipe the kids rubbed the sugars and fresh sage together with their fingers to release the oil from the sage leaves to flavor the sugar. Herbal infused sugars are a wonderful addition to baked goods, tea, rubs, or oatmeal. You can make herbal infused sugars with a quarter cup of chopped or crushed herbs to two cups sugar. The longer you let the mixture sit, stirring occasionally, the more flavor the herbs impart in the sugar.
We were pleasantly surprised how much of a difference the fresh sage made and how the flavors in these biscotti complement each other. We will definitely be making these again. And since you will have plenty of pear brandy left, you may want to use it in a Thanksgiving Cider Sangria.
Sun-Dried Pear, Fresh Sage, and Almond Biscotti with Pear Brandy
YIELD: approximately two dozen
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup packed dark brown sugar
10 large sage leaves, chopped
2 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons double-acting baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
10 large sage leaves, chopped
2 eggs and 2 egg whites
3 tablespoons pear brandy, plus 1 tablespoon for the topping
½ cup chopped sun-dried pears
¼ cup diced crystallized ginger
½ cup almonds, roughly chopped
Herbal Infused Sugar
1. Place sugars and chopped sage leaves into a small bowl. Use your hands to mix and rub the sugars and sage together to release the herbal oils. Set aside.
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and place the rack in the middle of the oven.
2. In a large flat-bottomed bowl, whisk together the herbal infused sugar, flour, baking powder, and salt.
3. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the eggs, egg whites, and brandy.
4. With a rubber spatula, stir the egg mixture into the flour mixture until the dough just starts to come together. Dust your hands with flour and knead the dough in the bowl until all the ingredients are incorporated and the dough is tacky.
5. Add the pear, ginger, and almonds. Knead the dough until incorporated, about 10 – 20 times.
6. Separate the dough in half. Form two logs, approximately 3 inches wide and 1 inch high on a parchment lined baking sheet. Leave several inches between the logs, the dough will spread as it bakes.
7. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of brandy over both logs and spread to coat with your hands. Sprinkle with plenty of sugar and press down lightly.
8. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 30 minutes, or until the tops begin to crack or split. Transfer logs to a wire cooling rack to cool completely.
9. Transfer biscotti logs to a cutting board. Slice the biscotti on a diagonal and place cut-side down on the same parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for an additional 20 minutes, turning the biscotti once halfway through. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.
What to do with the ends #45: Coat the ends with peanut butter and roll in bird seed to make a homemade bird feeder.