Cranberry Pecan Biscotti

Biscotti!!  Finally!  It’s about time I posted a biscotti recipe.  I figured it wasn’t quite right to have a blog called “Hottie Biscotti” without at least one biscotti recipe.  


Last week, I found myself rummaging in my pantry and cabinets for something to bake.  I found some cranberries and a bag of pecans.  So, the search began for a biscotti recipe.  I found this on, a site I had never been to.  This recipe is from Todd English, and the ingredient list sounded delicious, cardamom and nutmeg, so I gave them a try.

I made half the batch with just pecans and half with cranberries and pecans.  I preferred the plain pecan, but the tartness of the cranberry with the pecans is a really nice combination.  The original recipe calls for orange zest, which I left out.  If you’re into that, then just add 1 tablespoon of zest when you add the flour.  

I will definitely make these again, but will bake the uncut loaves for the full 35 minutes.  I made the mistake of baking them for only 25 minutes, and the middle was a little underbaked and hard to slice.  I had to bake them for a bit longer after slicing them to make a good crunchy biscotti.  

Cranberry Pecan Biscotti


1/2 cup unsalted butter, cold
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup light brown sugar
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus additional for flouring
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground cardamom 
3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup dried cranberries
1 1/2 cups pecans, coarsely chopped


1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment or wax paper.

2. Place the butter and sugars in a large bowl and blend until light. Add the eggs and vanilla and blend until thoroughly combined.

3. Add the flour, baking powder, salt, cardamom, and nutmeg, and stir to combine. Add the cranberries and pecans and stir.

4. Transfer to a floured work surface and knead until the dough just comes together. If necessary, add more flour to the work surface. Divide the dough into 2 halves and shape each into a 12-inch loaf.


5. Place 1 loaf on the prepared baking sheet and bake until it starts to crack and is a uniform light brown, about 35 minutes. Set aside to cool. Repeat with the remaining loaf.


6. Lower the temperature to 300 degrees.

7. Place the loaves on a cutting board and, using a serrated knife, cut each on the diagonal, into 20 to 24 slices, 1/2-inch thick, or, for a more delicate biscotti, 1/4-inch thick. Place on the baking sheet and bake until lightly toasted, about 10 to 12 minutes. Turn over and bake until dry and crisp, about 5 minutes.

8. When cooled, store in an airtight container up to 10 to 12 days.

Hike, Eat, Love

Happy Valentine’s Day!   What better way to celebrate than with big pink plastic lollipop lips?


Valentine’s weekend was great.  Our good friends from law school made the trip to Amarillo to spend the weekend.  We began Saturday with pastries from The Village Bakery.  After breakfast we headed out to Palo Duro Canyon for a hike.  We made good use of our new Texas State Parks pass by getting all 9 of us in for “Free!” instead of $4 per person.


It was a beautiful day.  I had never hiked in Palo Duro before, only driven through.  We all agreed that being this close to Palo Duro makes living in the Panhandle worth it!  Our dog, Ginger, all 6 pounds and 7 weeks of her, kept up with us all 4 miles of the trip and still had energy left over afterwards.  We were pretty impressed with her stamina.  Our goal was to see Lighthouse rock.  After about 2 miles on the trail the little girls were tired and we thought that we wouldn’t have time to go all the way to the rock.  So, we headed back to the car.  We checked out the trail map when we got to the trailhead and found out that we were almost there when we’d turned around!  So, Ben was right and I was wrong.  Next time we’ll have to hike all the way to Lighthouse.  It seems like an incredible formation.  After the hike, we headed back home to prepare Valentine’s Day dinner.



I must say that this meal was one of the best we’ve put together.  The company was lovely, so maybe it was partly the people we ate with, but the food…it was wonderful.  The baked brie is courtesy of my Aunt Vivie.  She made a similar appetizer at Christmas.  She used almonds, cranberries and honey inside her puff pastry so the one we made was a bit different.  The thyme and cranberry with the brie was buttery and sweet.  I’m glad we served the brie with the water crackers.  Their clean flavor did not distract you from the rich flavors in the brie.  The salad dressing and spiced pecans is a recipe from Rather Sweet Bakery.  The recipe for the entree came from Fine Cooking.  I used flank steak instead of the skirt steak, and we grilled the steak.  The steak and relish were absolutely incredible.  The flavors really complemented each other as did the textures.  The steak was delicious and tender.  The slight crunch of the vegetables in the relish was a perfect match.  The potatoes were simple.  We all agreed that a meal can be overdone if everything is complex, so the simple roasted potato was a great side.  

Valentine’s Day


Baked Brie with Thyme and Cranberries


Salad with Spiced Pecans, Goat Cheese and Balsamic Vinaigrette


Smashed New Potatoes


Flank Steak with Radish, Red Onion and Carrot Relish



Baked Brie with Cranberries and Thyme

  • 8 oz wheel of brie with top rind removed
  • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 2 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1 package plain water crackers
  1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 425°F.
  2. On a sheet of waxed paper or parchment, roll the pastry out to a 12-inch square and cut two 6-inch rounds from it. Put one of the rounds on a small rimmed baking sheet.
  3. Sprinkle with half of the dried cranberries and thyme, leaving a 1/2-inch border around the edge, and gently press them in.
  4. Set the Brie, rind side down, on top of the pastry, sprinkle with the remaining cranberries and thyme, and cover with the other pastry. 
  5. Crimp the edges together to seal in the cheese. 
  6. Bake until the pastry browns, about 20 minutes. Let cool for 15 to 20 minutes and then serve.

The Lovebirds

Here are the dinner guests!  Jason and Carrie, Christian and Lisa, and me and Ben.  


Puff Pastry Goat Cheese Bites with Rosemary and Lemon

The origins of this hor d’oeuvre are quite interesting.  I am usually very good about not only writing down a detailed grocery list, but also double checking on amounts and types of ingredients I need before going grocery shopping.  This particular Saturday morning I walked in to HEB on the cell phone and spent the next half hour on it…while shopping.  It should come as no surprise that I got home with 4 wrong ingredients…2 of which were needed for this recipe.  Just my luck.

I did a little tweaking and ended up with a decent replacement.  This did not require too much culinary skill due to the use of puff pastry.  I could have put dirt in these pastry shells and they would have tasted good.

The origninal recipe was a goat cheese and rosemary tart.  I was suppossed to buy puff pastry sheets, but grabbed the puff pastry shells; mistake # 1.  Then the goat cheese, which should have been plain, had red piquillo peppers in it; mistake # 2.  The mistakes were worth it, though.  I think these individual pastries were better as an hor d’oeuvre than the tart would have been.

1 package frozen puff pastry shells
4-6 oz. goat cheese (any kind!)
2 tablespoons cream
chopped fresh rosemary
grated lemon zest



Preheat oven to 400 F

  1. Mix the goat cheese and cream in a small bowl until well combined.  
  2. Prepare the pastries according to the package directions on a cookie sheet.
  3. Halfway through the baking time (8-12 minutes or until pastries have puffed up), remove the shells from the oven and pop the centers out.  
  4. Fill each shell with a rounded teaspoon of the goat cheese.  
  5. Top each with a sprinkle of rosemary and lemon zest.
  6. Bake until shells are golden brown and cheese is warm; 8 minutes more

Daring Bakers- Lavash Crackers and Almond Spread

This is my first month with the Daring Bakers and I am a day late in posting…hopefully I will not be kicked out (fingers crossed)!  I have to admit that I wasn’t too thrilled that my inaugural challenge would be vegan crackers.  Anyway, I warmed up to the cracker idea since it would be something I had never done before.  I have never had good luck with bread dough and all the kneading involved, so I was nervous about this part of the cracker.  I chose to be a little lazy and let Kitchen Aid’s dough hook do the kneading for me.  Then I let it rise.  

Rolling out the dough to a paper thin sheet wasn’t easy.  The second half of the dough rolled much easier as it had some time to rest.  Sarah rolled her dough out much better and they really crisped well.

I made the mistake of not reading the part about spraying the dough with a little water before sprinkling salt and spices.  As a result all the fennel and caraway seeds came tumbling onto the baking sheet instead of sticking to the cracker.  Sad day.



The Tahitian Almond dipping sauce sounded really interesting so I decided to give it a try.  Almond butter, pine nuts, garlic, cilantro, orange juice and honey.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t find almond butter at my small town grocery, AND I forgot to get orange juice.  Carrie the problem solver to the rescue!!  Well, kind of.  I figured that almond butter was nothing more than ground almonds, so I decided to make my own almond butter in the food processor…not so easy.

It kinda came to a butter-ish consistency so I continued on using water instead of orange juice…hmmm.  Maybe I should have been better prepared and used a little more common sense.  Lesson learned.



After all was said and done my sister Sarah and my husband Ben said they thought it was a success.  I may not make my own crackers again.  I am just fine to go to the store and settle for a box of water crackers.  I am glad that I was, in a way, forced to try them.  I will probably try to make the spread again with the ingredients the recipe calls for.  Maybe then it won’t look quite so much like green sludge.