Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a large baking sheet, or line with parchment.

  2. In a large bowl, beat together the butter, sugar, salt, vanilla, baking powder, and cardamom, if using, until the mixture is smooth. Beat in the eggs, one at a time; the batter may look slightly curdled.

  3. Lower the mixer's speed and add the flour all at once. Mix until the dough is uniform; scrape the bowl and mix for another 30 seconds. Mix in the nuts and cranberries or cherries.

  4. Transfer the dough to the prepared baking sheet and shape it into a log about 16" long and 2" wide. If you don't have a baking sheet that long, divide the dough in half and shape into two 10 1/2" x 2" logs.

  5. Bake for 25 minutes, until the top is set. Remove from the oven and let rest for 5 minutes. Reduce the oven's temperature to 325°F.

  6. Spray the log with room-temperature water and let it sit for 5 more minutes (this step will significantly improve your slicing experience).

  7. Spray the log with room-temperature water and let the log sit for 5 more minutes (this step will significantly improve your slicing experience).

  8. If baking on parchment, slide the paper, log and all, onto a cutting board. Using a sharp serrated knife, slice the log straight down into 1/2" to 3/4" pieces. Don't press down hard on the knife; rather draw it back and forth through the log and let the blade do the work.

  9. Transfer the slices and parchment back to the baking sheet, standing the slices up and separating them so air can circulate around them in the oven. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes more, until crisp. For a harder cookie, bake an extra 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool completely.

  10. To finish: Dip the bottoms of the biscotti in melted white chocolate, if desired.