Sunday, 4 January 2009

Biscotti


Biscotti in many flavours! I have been wanting to make biscotti for a long time, probably about 18 months, ever since J and I went to Italy and she enjoyed some almond cantucci with an cappucino in a cafe. You can see them in the picture below. The displays of biscuits in the pasticchieri are gorgeous and I could help but take pictures and peer longingly into the windows. However, this particular treat had to wait for me to be in baking mode. The joy of making my own biscotti is that I can make them without the nuts present in all bought versions. Inauthentic? very likely, but at least I can eat them!


You will see from the first picture however, that the two lower pictures do indeed contain nuts. These were another part of J's Christmas present 2008 and she enjoys eating nuts. The recipe comes by way of Kevin at Closet Cooking, a really interesting blog that I've been reading for some time now. When I spotted this recipe it fitted the bill exactly. I knew I wanted to make a couple of different flavours and other recipes I've seen call for around 3 eggs, which doesn't halve easily, whereas this one required just one egg and didn't make masses.

I decided to go for the following flavours:

- double chocolate and brazil nut
- cranberry and pistachio
- raisin, cranberry, orange and spice
- double chocolate and cranberry

You can see the different stages above - first of all the biscotti are baked as a large log, then sliced and dried out at a low temperature. It may sound like a hassle, but I didn't find it a problem. The log can be difficult to slice neatly, depending on the size of your fruit/nut pieces, but I don't think there's a way around this.

I found that the raisin, cranberry and spice were the better of the two flavours. The addition of orange made them really fragrant and they really tasted 'Christmassy', perfect for the time of year! I liked the double chocolate and cranberry, but felt that the chocolate-y flavour wasn't as pronounced as I would have liked. I think this may be because there was no added fat in the biscuits to carry the flavour of the cocoa powder. J enjoyed the nut ones as part of her present this past Christmas, and they didn't last very long. Very more-ish indeed.
Kevin's recipe is in cups, but I prefer to work in grams, so I converted the recipe as I went along. I suspect these conversions won't be exactly the same as others on the web, but they worked for me.
Biscotti
Ingredients
140g plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
70g sugar
1 egg
Flavourings:
(One of)
20g cocoa, 40g dark chocolate (chopped), 40g dried cranberries
20g cocoa, 40g dark chocolate (chopped), 40g brazil nuts (chopped roughly)
40g dried cranberries, 40g pistachios
40g dried cranberries, 40g raisins, grated zest of 1/2 orange, 1tsp mixed spice
Method
1. Mix the dry ingredients; flour, baking powder plus any flavourings eg cranberries and pistachios, in a bowl.
2. Mix the sugar and egg in another bowl.
3. Mix the dry and wet ingredients until they come together. Kevin notes that he needed to add a bit of water here, I didn't - perhaps my egg was bigger or I've weighed one cup of flour wrongly!
4. Form the dough into a rough log about 10 inches by 3 inches on parchment paper.
5. Bake in a preheated Gas 4/180C/350F oven for 30 minutes.
6. Cut it into 1/2 inch slices.
7. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes per side at Gas 3/160C/325F.
8. Allow to cool on a wire rack.
Enjoy!!!


Perfect served with an espresso as a mid-morning or mid-afternoon pick me up.

1 comment:

thumbbook said...

That really looks delicious. I'd like to invite you to take some time to drop by at Foodista and share your delicious recipe with us. We have launched an online food and cooking encyclopedia ala wikipedia. Add a recipe and you can win a $100 gift card to Sur la table. Don't forget to register first so we know who to thank the recipe for. Thanks!

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