Turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, blah, blah, blah. If you're anything like me, your favorite part of the Thanksgiving feast is dessert. I've been in charge of it every year for as long as I can remember, and I tend to go a little bit overboard. I famously baked three pies on the first Thanksgiving I spent with my fiancé's family. This wouldn't seem that outrageous, except that there were only four of us at the meal. We were all so full I think we left one pie completely untouched.
Which brings me to the other thing I love to do on Thanksgiving (aside from bake): to draw the meal out for as long as humanly possible. I spend all year looking forward to my favorite holiday, and I want it to last! After a leisurely meal, I like to wait a solid two hours before having dessert. It prolongs the festivities, and, more importantly, gives everyone time to digest and make even more room for pie.
But it can be hard to get up from the table without having at least a little something sweet. That's why this year I will be serving these Cornmeal Biscotti with Dried Cranberries and White Chocolate as a pre-dessert. (Yes, that's right, a pre-desert.) One piece is the perfect accompaniment to those last sips of wine, but it won't spoil your appetite for the apple, pumpkin, and pecan-studded extravaganza to come.
The cornmeal in these biscotti makes them extra crunchy and gives them a slightly nutty, toasty flavor. For an all-fruit version, swap out the white chocolate for 3/4 cup of raisins or chopped dried figs. Of course, you should also feel free to throw in a few handfuls of chopped, toasted pecans or almonds. Just keep the total amount of add-ins to around 1 1/2 cups.
This recipe makes about three dozen biscotti, which is enough for three small "Happy Thanksgiving" gifts. If you are going to be a guest as someone else's holiday table, consider giving an entire batch as a hostess gift. Best of all, you can make them up to two weeks in advance. Store them in an airtight container at room temperature.
About the author: Lucy Baker is a freelance food writer and the author of the forthcoming cookbook, The Boozy Baker: 75 Recipes for Spirited Sweets.