Sunday, March 21, 2010

Shimmering Sanding Sugar

I was tempted this afternoon by these jars of sanding sugar at Williams-Sonoma in Bridgehampton. The gold sugar will decorate birthday cupcakes for my daughter next week. Today, I made these Cherry-Vanilla Biscotti and sprinkled them with the white sugar, which gave the cookies a sparkling and deliciously crunchy crust. Here's the recipe:

Cherry Vanilla Biscotti
Makes 48 cookies

3/4 cup pecan halves
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup dried cherries
1/4 cup coarse white sanding sugar

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spread the pecans on a baking sheet and toast until fragrant, 6 to 8 minutes. Set aside to cool, and then coarsely chop. Line another baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Add 2 of the whole eggs, the egg yolks, and the vanilla and mix until a dough forms. Mix in the chopped pecans and cherries.
3. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface, divide into two equal pieces, and shape each piece into a flat log about 18 inches long and 2 inches wide. Place the logs on the parchment-lined baking sheet, at least 3 inches apart.
4. Beat the remaining whole egg and brush it over the dough. Sprinkle with the sanding sugar. Bake until the logs are firm to the touch, about 35 minutes.
5. Let the logs cool for 10 minutes on the baking sheet, transfer to a cutting board, and cut into 3/4-inch-thick slices. Lay the slices on their sides back on the parchment-lined baking sheet and return to the oven to crisp up, 8 to 12 minutes. Transfer the cookies to wire racks to cool completely.

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