Friday, 28 March 2014

Spiced Fruit and Nut Biscotti

I love biscotti. There's something about them that is just a little bit more grown up that a standard biscuit. A bit more refined than a cookie. A lot more glamorous than a bourbon (though let's be honest, I bloody love a good bourbon).

At a team meeting on Tuesday morning, tea and biscuits were provided, as per usual. Less usually, we were in a swanky lounge in a sports stadium, rather than a conference centre. Accordingly, the biscuits were of a much higher standard than your basic "two digestives individually wrapped" fare, and the selection included biscotti.

Because the ones at the meeting clearly contained chocoate (boo), I steered myself in the direction of the homemade ginger nuts. But could I stop thinking about biscotti? No, no I could not. And at 8:30pm on Tuesday night, I went "SOD IT, I'm making biscotti".

From original whim to being put in a tin cold, these took two hours- but that did include a trip to Sainsbugs for supplies, so don't let that put you off. Biscotti are so worth it- crunch, grown up, and they keep for ages if you can resist them. They make great Easter gifts too- I once took a kilner jar full of these to a now-ex boyfriend's parents as a gift when I went to stay one Easter, and they went down rather well indeed- and proved that they also travel well, given that getting there involved a taxi, a train, a bus, a plane, and a car journey. Yeah.

This biscotti recipe is completely customisable too- as soon as I can eat chocolate again, for instance, I'm going to make them again removing the spices and zests, and replacing the almonds and dried fruit with pistachios, dried cranberries, and dark chocolate chunks. You could also soak your dried fruit in rum, or tea, if you fancied.

It's also quite fun baking something where you can see where the name came from. Biscotti comes from the Italian for "cooked twice"- which is exactly what you do here, as you'll soon see. 

Make them, make them now. And eat them with a mug of excellent tea, or excellent coffee- completely worth it.

Spiced Fruit and Nut Biscotti

100g whole almonds
2 large eggs
200g caster sugar
260g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp mixed spice
100g mixed raisins and cranberries
Zest of 1 lemon
Zest of 1 orange

Preheat your oven to 180C

Begin by toasting your almonds briefly in a hot, dry frying pan. Keep an eye on them- this is easier when they're blanched and you can see them changing colour, but basically keep them moving around a bit until they're all hot, then tip them onto a plate and leave to cool. When cool, roughly chop.

Whisk together your eggs and sugar until well combined and pale- either by hand or with an electric whisk. Add all your other ingredients into the bowl and mix well to combine. 

Get two baking trays (or one very large one) and line with baking paper. DO NOT attempt to do this without baking paper it WILL NOT WORK. (Sorry, but it just won't)

Split your mixture into two, and on each baking tray shape half the mixture into a log shape. Bake at 180 for 20-25 minutes or until it looks quite set and a light golden brown. Then remove from the oven (leave the oven on) and put on the side to cool for five minutes, or you'll burn your fingers.

Remove the logs to a chopping board, and using a large knife (a serrated edge works best but anything is fine), slice each log into slim slices- I'd guess mine are between 0.5cm and 1cm thick. Then lie them flat on the baking tray, and pop back into the oven for another 10 minutes until golden brown. Leave to cool, then serve with tea or coffee. 

These keep for up to two weeks, apparently, but I've never had them for longer than three days. 

1 comment:

  1. The biscotti look great, Alice! I love the idea of hot cross bun flavours in there.


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