Tu BiShvat Biscotti
Makes about 24 Biscotti
Tu BiShvat, the birthday of the trees, falls in the middle of winter, on the 15th day of Shevat (around the months of January or February). This occasion coincides with the time of year when sap begins to flow beneath the bark of the trees -- when the temperature rises above freezing during the day, and below freezing at night. It marks the nearing of winter’s end, just before the first sign of new leaves emerging at the beginning of spring.
This biscotti recipe includes fruits from each of the three categories of fruit for Tu Bishvat.
1. Fruits with an inedible outer shell and edible inside (like pistachios, walnuts, almonds)
2. Fruits with an edible outside but inedible core inside (like dates)
3. Fruits that are completely edible (figs, raisins, cranberries)
It uses fruits and nuts that are local to where I live in the Midwest, but you can adjust the mix-ins to include more traditional fruits and nuts that are native to the land of Israel (like almonds, dates, and figs, with a honey icing drizzle).
2 cups (240g) all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp kosher salt
3/4 cup toasted pecans, chopped into small pieces*
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup apricots, cut into small pieces
6 tbsp butter (85g), room temperature
2/3 cup (134g) sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp lemon zest
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
FOR THE MAPLE GLAZE:
1/2 cup (56g) powdered sugar, sifted
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp lemon juice
*To toast the nuts: Spread shelled whole pecans in a single layer on a baking pan and toast in a 350°F oven for 6-8 min.
Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a small bowl, mix together chopped nuts, cranberries and apricots.
Cream butter, sugar, zest and vanilla in an electric mixer until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time. On low speed, add in flour mixture until combined. Mix in nut and fruit mixture.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Place half the dough onto one of the lined baking sheets. Shape the dough into a thin log, about 2 inches wide and 12 inches long. (Use wet hands if dough is difficult to work with.) Repeat with the remaining dough on the second baking sheet.
Bake until golden, about 20 minutes. Remove from oven when the loaf springs back when lightly pressed. Cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Keep oven on.
Using a serrated knife, cut each log crosswise into 1/2 inch thick slices. Lay the slices on their sides back onto the parchment lined pans. Reduce the temperature to 300°F. Return biscotti to the oven and bake until toasted and crisp, about 15-20 minutes, or until dried out. Turn the biscotti halfway through baking. Biscotti is done when it appears dry.
Let the biscotti cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheets, then transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.
To make the maple glaze: whisk together powdered sugar, maple syrup, lemon juice. Add more powdered sugar to thicken the glaze or add lemon juice to thin the glaze. Drizzle over the cooled biscotti and let set.
They can keep up to 2 weeks in an airtight container.