Sunday, October 11, 2020

CHOCOLATE CHERRY BISCOTTI: Columbus Day

Columbus Day is a huge deal in San Francisco, and even Covid19 and politics have not put the kibosh on celebrations. There won't be a parade this year, but there are several events taking place over the weekend, sponsored by the Italian American Heritage Association. Columbus Day originated as a celebration of Italian-American heritage and was first held in San Francisco on October 12, 1869. In 1892 President Benjamin Harrison, 400 years after Columbus' first journey, gave a public statement in memory of the 'New World' being 'discovered.' In 1905 Colorado was the first State to recognize an official 'Columbus Day'. From 1921 Columbus Day was observed each year. President Franklin Roosevelt in 1937 declared October 12 as 'Columbus Day', but in 1971, Congress proclaimed Columbus Day a national holiday the 2nd Monday of October.

For many, the holiday is a way of both honoring Columbus’ achievements and celebrating Italian-American heritage. But throughout its history, Columbus Day and the man who inspired it have generated controversy, and many alternatives to the holiday have proposed since the 1970s including Indigenous Peoples' Day, now celebrated in a handful of U.S. states. 

Of course, there's a Columbus Chocolate Connection. Although people tend to associate chocolate with European culture, the confection’s roots are actually a whole lot deeper in the Americas. The trees that grow the cacao beans actually originated in the tropical regions of the Americas. Chocolate didn’t find its way to Europe until Christopher Columbus brought the cacao bean back to Spain from his “New World” adventure. 

So today for Columbus Day, an Italian-American celebration, I'm posting one of my favorite recipes for Chocolate Cherry Biscotti.
 
CHOCOLATE CHERRY BISCOTTI


I originally found this recipe on the Internet in several places, but I've adapted it a bit. I don't like candied cherries, so I use dried cherries. My favorite are from Chukar Cherries. You can't go wrong with Biscotti on Columbus Day or any day. No time to cook? Pick up some Biscotti at your local Italian Bakery or Nonni's White Cherry Chocolate Biscotti.

INGREDIENTS
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
3 eggs
2 tsp almond extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup chopped dried cherries (original recipe uses candied cherries, but I prefer Chukar Cherries)
1/2 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

DIRECTIONS
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease large cookie sheet.
In large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until smooth.
Beat in eggs one at a time, then stir in almond extract.
Combine flour and baking powder; stir into creamed mixture until just blended.
Fold in dried cherries and mini chocolate chips.
With lightly floured hands, shape dough into two 10 inch long loaves.
Place rolls 5 inches apart on prepared cookie sheet; flatten each to 3 inch width.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until set and light golden brown.
Cool 10 minutes.
Using serrated knife, cut loaves diagonally into 1/2 inch slices.
Arrange slices cut side down on un-greased cookie sheets.
Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until bottoms begin to brown.
Turn, and bake additional 5 minutes, or until browned and crisp.
Cool completely. Store in tightly covered container. 

No comments: