Dessert really is not a top priority in our house. We generally only have dessert when we have company visiting or on special holidays and at those rare times I really do enjoy the novelty of baking a few special treats. My husband in particular does not crave sweets of any description, and therefore it is best if I simply do not bake on a regular basis or else I’ll be the one left to consume those extra calories (and heaven only knows I DON’T need the extra calories!). The one treat my husband does love however are crisp, Italian style biscotti. Every night after dinner, he’ll head to the biscotti jar to get his daily fix and he’ll nibble his way through one or two biscotti while our little dog perches at his feet hoping for a bite.
One of the responsibilities that I seemed to have inherited being the head cook and bottle washer in my house was to keep my husband’s biscotti jar full. Although he would be quite happy having the same old plain almond biscotti every week, quite frankly I get bored baking the same thing over and over so I am always trying out new variations of biscotti which generally always get his approval. This Polenta Biscotti With Dried Cranberries turned out really well and has a really nice crisp bite due to the addition of the cornmeal. I also added almonds into the mix to increase the nutritional value and seeing how quickly our biscotti jar emptied of these crispy treats I’d have to say they were a hit.
Deborah Mele 2011
- 2 Cups All-purpose Flour
- 1 Cups Sugar
- 1/2 Cup Finely Ground Cornmeal
- 1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
- 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
- 3 Large Eggs
- 3 Tablespoons Light Olive Oil
- 1 Teaspoon Almond Extract (Or Vanilla)
- 1 Cup Whole Blanched Almonds
- 3/4 Cup Dried Cranberries
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
- Coat one large baking sheet with cooking spray or a silicon sheet.
- Whisk together the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, and salt in one bowl.
- In a separate bowl whisk together the eggs, oil, and vanilla until frothy.
- Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture with the almonds and cranberries and stir until just mixed.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and shape into one log about 14 inches long and 2 inches high.
- Place the log onto your prepared baking sheet.
- Bake the log until lightly browned and until the top just begins to feel firm when gently pressed with your finger, about 30 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and cool for 20 minutes.
- Reduce the oven heat to 300 degrees F.
- Place the baked log on a cutting board, and using a serrated knife, slice diagonally into 1/2 inch slices.
- Lay the biscotti flat on the baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes.
- Turn and bake an additional 5 to 10 minutes or just until they begin to brown on both sides.
- The biscotti will continue to crisp as they cool. Once cool, store up to 2 weeks in an airtight container.