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COOKING WITH GALA

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BISCOTTI WITH FRUIT AND PISTACHIOS 

2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon grated lemon peel
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon whole aniseed (optional)
1 cup dried sweetened cranberries or cherries, chopped in large pieces
3/4 cup shelled natural unsalted pistachios

6 ounces chocolate, chopped

Preheat oven to 325F. Line 3 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Sift first 3 ingredients into medium bowl, then beat butter and sugar in large bowl to blend well. Beat in eggs 1 at a time, mix in lemon peel, vanilla, and aniseed, then beat in flour mixture just until blended. Stir in berries and pistachios (dough will be sticky) and turn dough out onto lightly floured surface. Gather dough together, divide in half and roll each half into 15-inch-long log (about 1 1/4 inches wide), place logs on prepared baking sheet, spacing 3 inches apart. 

Bake logs until almost firm to touch but still pale, about 28 minutes, then cool on sheet for 10 minutes. (Leave oven at same temperature.) 

Transfer the logs (on the parchment) to a cutting boardand use a serrated knife to cut logs crosswise in 1/2 inch thick slices. Place slices, 1 cut side down, on remaining 2 prepared sheets, bake until firm and pale golden (7-9 9 minutes per side). Transfer cookies to racks and cool. 

Line another baking sheet with waxed paper. Stir chocolate in top of double boiler over barely simmering water just until smooth. Remove from over water. Dip an end of each cookie into melted chocolate, place cookies on prepared sheet and chill until chocolate is firm. Can be made 5 days ahead. Store in an airtight container between sheets of waxed paper at room temperature.) Makes about 40 biscotti.