About a year ago, I shared a recipe for healthy orange breakfast muffins following our friends’ purchase of a house with huge orange and lemons trees in the backyard. Having dinner together recently, these same friends invited us back over to pick some of our own citrus. Their trees were full of fresh fruit – many the size of softballs and ready to be enjoyed. We brought home a big bag of oranges and lemons. As I cleaned them off, I started pondering recipes to make. I remember (and thinking constantly about) the delicious combination of orange and dates from a delicious appetizer I had once and thought how delicious a dried date and orange biscotti would be.
I ran a test batch just to make sure. I’m a big fan of my lemon almond biscotti and it’s usually pretty tough to replicate their deliciousness, but these orange biscotti are certainly giving them a run for their money. The bits of date add a nice chew, occasionally. The extra vanilla sweetens the tang of the orange zest without making the biscotti too sweet. It’s a rather perfect combination!
At this point, I’m firmly of the opinion that perfect biscotti needs a citrus zest of some kind. With little in the way of fat in this recipe, it can easily become a sweet, carby recipe which isn’t bad, but it’s not great! The zest of the citrus adds just that bit of tang to balance it all out. And I just love the addition of the chopped dates. Dried dates give off a flavor of chocolate, so it seems like a chocolate chip, orange biscotti. In reality it’s much lighter and healthier than that!
ORANGE BISCOTTI w. DATES
I LOVE homemade biscotti. I usually just switch up my traditional lemon almond biscotti recipe a bit and it never fails. These orange and date biscotti are one such switch that was too good not to share. They seem far more indulgent than they really are, which makes them pure perfection in my book!
- 2 cups flour
- 3/4 cup cornmeal
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 eggs
- 2 tablespoons orange zest about 2 large oranges
- 1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup dried dates finely chopped
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Line baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large measuring cup or bowl, mix together flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt.
In stand mixer, or large bowl, beat sugar and eggs until pale yellow. Mix in orange zest and vanilla extract. Add in flour. Mix until just blended (dough will be sticky). Stir in dates. Let dough rest for five minutes.
Divide the dough in half. With wet palms (just run under faucet), shape dough into two flat "logs" - about 1" high.
Bake for 35 minutes until lightly browned. Cool for five minutes.
Using a serrated knife, carefully cut the cookies diagonally, crosswise into 3/4-inch-thick slices. Arrange the biscotti cut side down on the sheet.
Bake about 25 minutes. Let cool completely.