Did you know that leprechauns are fairies? I love St. Patrick’s Day. Not for the beer drinking necessarily but for the sheer fun of it. It’s a day to believe in faeries, shamrocks, 4-leaf clovers, and the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Dress in green, give a pinch here and there, and tell Irish jokes, which to me are always the funniest.
I’m celebrating this year by making one of my favorite Italian cookies, biscotti, and giving them an Irish twist. Studded with pistachios and white chocolate chips, these tender cookies make a great dessert or breakfast dipping biscuit. I follow the Williams Sonoma recipe and have always had perfection. The recipe makes a lot of biscotti so I have plenty to share with friends and still keep a few to nibble for myself.
Now back to the leprechaun story. Leprechauns, by trade, are gifted shoemakers, providing faeries with exquisite dancing shoes. Because faeries love to dance, the leprechauns keep busy making their shoes to generate a steady source of income. This allows them to accumulate multiple pots of gold that they keep hidden in the countryside. These “wee folk” are musically inclined, love to dance, sing, drink moonshine and play practical jokes. The best time to spot one is daybreak or sunset. Watch out! Because of their magical powers, they are able to vanish at first sight.
Pistachio and White Chocolate Leprechaun Biscotti
Adapted from Williams Sonoma Holiday Baking recipe for Hazelnut Biscotti (I could not find this recipe online or would have included a link)
Preheat oven to 325 degrees
8 oz. or 1 stick unsalted butter (I use Kerrygold Irish butter of course!)
1 ½ cups sugar
3 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
1 cup coarsely chopped or whole pistachios
1 cup white chocolate chips or chunks
More chopped pistachios for decorating
Melted white chocolate for drizzling
Green and white sprinkles for decorating
Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, beat butter until soft. Add sugar and beat until light-colored and fluffy.
Add eggs, one at a time, beating between each addition.
Combine flour, baking soda and salt in separate bowl.
On low speed, gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture just until combined. Do not over mix.
Stir in pistachios and white chocolate.
Divide dough in half. With your hands, shape each half into a log about 12 inches long and 3 inches wide. They do not have to be perfect, as they will spread out as they cook.
Bake for approximately 35-45 minutes. Check for a nice golden top.
Remove from the oven and let cool about 15 minutes.
While still warm, carefully slice the loaves at an angle, in 1-inch increments, using a serrated knife.
Place sliced biscotti flat on a baking sheet and let cool completely. Some recipes call for putting them back in the oven to dry out and become crispy. I prefer a little give in my biscotti so usually eliminate this step.
For this recipe, my Mom and I drizzled melted white chocolate on the edges of the cookies, and then sprinkled them with either chopped pistachios or the green and white sprinkles, with shamrocks of course.
The best part is, they keep in a tightly closed container for weeks!
I have adapted this recipe many times, using almonds and orange rind, hazelnuts and chopped dark chocolate, the sky’s the limit!
Sláinte or cheers in the land of the Leprechaun!
Wherever you go and whatever you do, may the luck of the Irish be there with you!
Laughter is brightest where food is best. Old Irish proverb
Ciao and love always,