I knew when I read this recipe that it would make a nice transition from some of the savory cookie recipes I’ve given you. This is Bakewell Biscotti, a Dominique Ansell inspired treat. A biscotti sandwich with a very decadent filling – almond cream and sweet jam – in my case genuine East Coast Partridgeberry Jam. Not too sweet, just the right amount of fruit taste for the biscotti and enough flavor to complement not overwhelm the almond cream. Here is Christmas Cookie #4 – Bakewell Biscotti.

I will tell you that the filling is way too much for this batch of cookies. If you follow the quantities below, I suggest using the balance for little tarts (or, I posted a Frangipane recipe http://www.foodinspires.com/2014/06/05/frangipane-tarts/, use this for a more accurate quantity – either way, delicious yumminess!).  You could also wrap the extra almond cream in puff pastry – turnover style, for a more decadent treat. Dust the baked filled puff pastry tarts with icing sugar and it screams Christmas. I also used whole almonds in my version. I knew it wouldn’t materially change the taste, if anything, only make it better – but in hindsight, more difficult to cut into thin strips – moral, don’t use whole almonds in the mix!

Almond flour is just ground almonds. You can buy it ready ground or buy almonds, blanch to remove the skins, dry and then toss in a food processor and pulse until you get a fine grind. Stop well before the almond butter stage please. I got the Partridgeberry jam from my good friend Georgina. She has a pantry filled with east coast goodies.

The biscotti on its own is an excellent recipe. My Italian friend and nonna asked me which Italian bakery I bought this from. I told her I made it – she loved it! It is fiddly, you know how much I love fiddly (not!) – I didn’t know this when I started so it was quite a surprise. You must cut the biscotti fairly thin without breaking the pieces. After all, it is to be a sandwich cookie so too thick and it becomes hard for your guests to eat. I did mine about 1/8” thick. Some pieces broke at the ends. I think if I had kneaded it just a bit more, it would have been a firmer log and probably cut better. If you do decide to use almonds, make sure none stick out of the dough as it makes it more difficult to cut clean slices, or use sliced almond. I also used bread flour, I recommend using this. This cookie is a nice treat and a welcome surprise when you bite into it.

You will see from the pictures below, some sandwiches and some open faced almond cream biscotti. That’s when the fiddly got to me – still delicious, still so good! Make this when you have some time on your hands, not when you have Christmas Cookie #5 and #6 in the oven. As always – enjoy!

2 1/2 cups bread flour, plus more for dusting
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon fine salt
1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted Churn 84, European Style butter, softened
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
3 large eggs
3/4 cup dried sour cherries, chopped
Optional – 3/4 cup whole almonds

½ cup unsalted Churn 84 European Style butter, softened
3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups almond flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon dark rum
Partridgeberry jam, for spreading (or your favorite jam)

Preheat the oven to 350°
Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper
In a medium bowl, whisk the 2 1/2 cups of bread flour with the baking soda and salt
Using the paddle attachment beat the granulated sugar with the butter and lemon zest at medium speed until pale and creamy, 2 minutes
Beat in the eggs one at a time until incorporated
At low speed, beat in the dry ingredients until the dough just comes together, and then beat in the dried cherries (and almonds if using)
Scrape the dough onto the prepared baking sheet and, using lightly floured hands, shape it into a 15-by-5-inch log. Bake for about 35 minutes, until golden and just firm, let cool completely on the baking sheet
Using the paddle attachment beat the butter with the confectioners’ sugar at medium speed until smooth
Beat in the eggs one at a time until incorporated; scrape down the side and bottom of the bowl
Beat in the almond flour and cornstarch until combined, and then beat in the rum
Transfer the almond cream to a medium bowl and refrigerate until just set, about 20 minutes
Transfer the baked log to a cutting board
Using a serrated knife, cut it crosswise into 1/8” thick slices
Spread a small amount of the almond cream on half of the slices and arrange them on a tray
Spread a teaspoon of cherry jam on the other half of the biscotti
Close the sandwiches with the remaining slices
Bake the biscotti sandwiches for about 15 minutes, until lightly browned and nearly crisp
Let cool completely before serving
The biscotti sandwiches can be stored in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

Shaped logs, ready for the oven!

Almond Paste on one side, Partridgeberry Jam on the other – patience, it’s worth it!

Out of the oven, 2nd bake complete. They need to cool before eating – not! Enjoy!

The money shot!