Donuts are made for dunking, and so are biscotti, and so here you go. A hybrid: biscotti donuts. Inspired!
Here I've adapted this spumoni (cherry, pistachio and chocolate) biscotti recipe I've been using during the holidays for years. I think any biscotti recipe would work here, but I like this one for the textures and the flavors, and the memories. My mother used to keep spumoni ice cream in the freezer, and I loved it, a lot.
The recipe makes a dozen biscotti donuts. You'll need 2 1/2 c. flour, 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder, 1/4 tsp. salt, 1/2 c. softened butter, 1 c. sugar, two eggs, 1/2 tsp. almond extract, 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract, 1 c. shelled pistachios, 1 c. maraschino cherries, and 6 to 8 oz. melted semi-sweet chocolate, if you want to drizzle or coat the biscotti with it. You'll also need baking spray (or oil/butter and flour) and a large plastic food storage bag to use as a pastry bag to pipe the dough into the pans. A regular pastry bag doesn't have a big enough opening at the tip to handle this dough.
Start by preheating your oven to 325º. While the oven is heating, coarsely chop your pistachios and cut each cherry into quarters. Prep your pans by spraying with baking spray or oiling and flouring.
Stir in nuts and cherries, then spoon dough into a plastic bag, twisting the top of the bag so no dough can escape. Cut one of the bottom corners of the bag to use as a tip around 3/4" wide, and pipe dough into pans. Move slowly and squeeze firmly, allowing the dough to fill out the depth and width of the pan as you go. If you pipe it too quickly, your biscotti may end up too thin, and more cookie than donut-like.
Put them in your 325º for 35-30 minutes until edges and bottoms start to brown. Keep a really close eye on them, as you don't want the too dark. Remove from the oven. When cool enough to handle, remove the biscotti donuts from the pans and place on a cooling rack set over a baking pan. Reduce the oven temperature to 250º and bake the donuts again on the cooling racks for 15-20 minutes more until they are golden and feel dry. Remove from oven and cool completely.
Note: Because of the cherries, there is some leftover moisture in the biscotti that might not normally be there. If you want them really dry, push that second lower temperature cook to 20-25 minutes (but don't over-brown them) and then turn the oven off, crack the door a few inches, and let them cool completely inside the (turned off) oven. I found this suggestion by searching around online, and it worked pretty well.
Aren't they amazing looking?
Guess what, they're amazing tasting, too, and they are nice and dry and stand up to a cup of coffee just like they should.
Of course, for the full spumoni taste we need the chocolate. Melt semi-sweet chocolate in a double boiler or bowl set over a pan of boiling water and dip donut edges into the chocolate, or drizzle the melted chocolate over the donuts. Either way they'll be delicious. Set donuts on wax paper to dry.
These probably would keep for a week or two in the freezer, to help keep them on the dry side. I am thinking I will send them to some of our East Coast friends and relatives this year, with instructions to dry them out one final time in the oven once they receive them. I have a feeling I'm going to be shipping a whole lot of donuts come December!