Cherry-Almond Biscotti

Cherry-Almond Biscotti
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cherry almond biscotti
Cherries and almonds are a perfect match.

Our Cocoa Nib Biscotti are so tasty that we were nearly afraid to change the recipe to make a new variety. As you can see, we got over our fears and decided on biscotti that combine cherries and almonds, which seems like a perfect pairing. How does that sound to you, fellow scratcher? Good? Good. Let’s get into the Scratchin’ It Test Kitchen and whip some up.

This recipe is nearly identical to the Cocoa Nib Biscotti; we simply substituted dried Montmorency cherries for the cocoa nibs, used almond extract in place of the vanilla and Kahlua, and, for a visual and textural contrast, topped them with sliced almonds. Once you have one good recipe down, your really have dozens of great variations, too.

Cherry-Almond Biscotti

Yield: about 3 dozen biscotti

Cherry-Almond Biscotti


  • 2 cups (280 g) flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup (90 g) Dried Montmorency cherries
  • 1 stick (114 g) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup (150 g) sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 Tbs almond extract
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds

Abbreviated Instructions

Preheat oven to 325°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment or silicone baking mats.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.

Place cherries in the bowl of a food processor along with 2 Tbs of the flour mixture. Pulse and process until chopped into pieces about 1/8 of an inch in size. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter on medium speed until smooth and shiny, about 1 minute. Slowly add sugar and continue to beat on medium until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Scrape down sides of bowl.

Add eggs, one at a time, beating thoroughly (about 1 minute) between additions, scraping down the bowl as needed.

Add almond extract and beat in on medium-low.

Add flour in two additions, pulsing the mixer to start, then running on low just until the flour is incorporated, about 15 seconds.

Add cherry pieces and pulse 8 to 10 times to mix.

Scrape 1/3 of the dough onto a lightly floured piece of parchment. Sprinkle with flour and gently roll into a log about 1 inch in diameter. Roll in sliced almonds and transfer to prepared baking sheets, leaving 3 inches of space between logs. Repeat with the remaining dough to make three logs total.

Bake 40 minutes, rotating from front to back and top to bottom halfway through, or until golden brown and dough is set.

Let cool 20 minutes.

Reduce oven heat to 300°F.

Slice each log diagonally into slices 1/2 inch thick. Place slices on baking sheets and return to oven.

Bake 15 minutes, flip each slice, then bake another 15 minutes, or until dried. Let cool completely before transferring to an airtight container.

Ingredient discussion:

We used dried Montmorency cherries in these biscotti because they’re slightly tart, and we thought that they’d be a good contrast to the sweetness of the biscuit part. Now, we know Montmorency cherries are expensive, even when you buy them in the bulk package (4 pounds), so you could think of using dried cranberries instead of, or for part of, the cherries.

Procedure in detail:

Preheat oven to 325°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment or silicone baking mats.

Whisk, whisk, whisk. No baking powder lumps in our biscotti.

Whisk dry ingredients. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Whisk well, so there are no lumps of baking powder hiding. Set aside.

chopped cherries
We wanted small pieces of cherries in our biscotti; a few whirls in a food processor did it.

Chop cherries. Yes, you could do this by hand, but we placed the cherries in the bowl of a food processor, added a couple tablespoons of the flour mixture (to prevent clumping) and pulsed and processed until they were chopped into small pieces. Set aside for now.

adding sugar
We like to add the sugar as the mixer’s running. It makes it seem as if we’re doing something critical to the success of our recipe.

Cream butter and sugar. So many recipes start with this step that it becomes second nature. Place the butter in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and increase the speed to medium. Check the butter after 60 seconds. Does it look smooth and shiny? If yes, continue; otherwise, let the butter warm a bit more and try again. Once the butter is smooth and shiny, slowly add the sugar. We like to add the sugar at about the rate it gets mixed into the butter, but we’re not sure it makes any difference. We just do it that way because we always have. Let the butter and sugar beat on medium until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes, sometimes longer. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

adding eggs
Beat in the eggs completely; just do it one at a time.

Add eggs. Add the eggs one at a time, beating thoroughly on medium between additions, about 1 minute. Scrape down the bowl as needed.

Add flavoring. Add the almond extract and mix on low until incorporated, about 30 seconds. Scrape again.

adding flour
Adding the flour in two additions helps to keep it all in the bowl when mixing.

Add dry ingredients. Add the flour mixture in 2 additions, mixing on low until just incorporated, about 15 seconds. It helps to pulse the mixer at the beginning; well, it helps to keep the flour from spewing out of the bowl and making a mess. Scrape the bowl between and after the last addition to check for pockets of unmixed flour at the bottom of the bowl.

adding cherries
Pulse the mixer a few times to mix in the cherries. You might have to scrape the beater and bowl to get them well mixed.

Add cherries. Add the cherries and pulse the mixer 8 to 10 times to incorporate. Scrape as needed.

Chill. We find this dough quite sticky and hard to work with, so we use a trick to make it easier: refrigerate it! Just cover and place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to an hour (or overnight).

rolling in almonds
After rolling into a log, roll partway in sliced almonds.
biscotti ready to bake
Place the almond side up, so that, when baked, the rounded top will be coated with almonds.

Shape and roll in almonds. Okay, this dough is sticky, so break out a piece of parchment if you have one; otherwise, just do your best. Lightly flour the parchment and place about 1/3 of the dough on the floured area. Dust your hands with flour and the top of the dough with a sprinkle of flour, too. Gently and lightly, roll the dough until you have a log about an inch in diameter. Use too much force and you’ll have sticky dough everywhere, but, with the right amount of force, and perhaps an additional sprinkle of flour, you’ll be golden. Once you have a log, roll it partly through sliced almonds. Transfer to a prepared baking sheet. Repeat to make 2 more logs, leaving about 3 inches of space between each log. They will spread — a lot.

Bake. Place in the oven and bake 40 minutes, rotating from top to bottom and front to back halfway through, or until golden brown and mostly firm to the touch.

Cool. Place the sheets on a rack and let cool for about 20 minutes.

Reduce oven temperature to 300°F. We’ll dry out the biscotti next. That needs a lower temperature to keep them from browning or burning.

slicing biscotti
Once partly baked, slice on a 45° angle, then bake a second time to dry out the biscotti.

Cut. Slice each log (or loaf) at a 45° angle into slices 1/2 inch thick. Place the slices back on the baking sheets as you work.

Bake again. Back into the oven for 15 minutes, then flip each biscotti, and continue to bake until completely dry, another 15 minutes.

Cool completely. Transfer to a rack and cool completely before transferring to an airtight storage container.

We’re not sure if these are better than Cocoa Nib Biscotti, but they are very tasty. The bits of cherries give these a slightly chewy texture, and the tart plays off the sweet nicely. And, given how easy these are to make, an easy four stars.

Worth the trouble?

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