1 stick butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 lemon, zested
1/2 cup whole blanched almonds, toasted
3/4 cup dried cherries
1 large egg white
2 Tablespoons turbinado sugar
Chocolate Ganache, optional, recipe follows
4 dozen mini pretzels, optional
Red and green sprinkles or smashed candy cane pieces, optional
2 cups semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips or chopped block chocolate
Preheat the oven to 300║F.
In a mixing bowl, combine the butter and sugar and beat together until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
Scrape down the sides of the bowl periodically.
Beat in the eggs 1 at a time.
Add the vanilla.
Gently mix in the flour, baking powder, salt, and lemon zest.
Once the dry ingredients are incorporated, fold in the almonds and dried cherries.
Divide the dough in half and roll the dough into 2 logs.
If the dough is sticky, dust with a little flour.
Roll the logs to the length of a sheet pan.
Beat the egg white with a splash of water.
Brush the logs with the egg white and sprinkle with the turbinado sugar.
Transfer to a sheet pan and place at least 3 inches apart.
Bake in the oven for 30 minutes.
Remove from the oven let cool for 10 minutes.
Remove logs to a cutting board and slice on the bias about 3/4 inch thick.
Lay the biscotti back on the sheet pan and return to the oven for another 10 minutes.
This will harden the biscotti.
Cool completely on a rack.
Bring a saucepan with 1-inch of water in it to a boil.
Put the chocolate in a large metal or heatproof glass mixing bowl and place on top of the saucepan with boiling water.
Pay careful attention that the mixing bowl does not touch the surface of the boiling water.
Stir the chocolate until it is almost completely melted.
Remove it from the saucepan and continue stir until the chocolate is completely melted.
This entire process should take no more than 5 to 10 minutes.
Line a cookie sheet with parchment or wax paper.
Dip each biscotti or pretzel in the chocolate to cover half of each and then dip in the sprinkles or candy cane pieces.
Set each piece on the lined cookie sheet to allow the chocolate to harden.
Store in a cool place in air-tight containers.
Try not to eat them all at the same time.