Guest post: Biscotti, by Clarinda @Highland Diary

My OH’s Mum has very kindly agreed to guest-post on Interestingthymes again – her sourdough baps post last year has been very popular (and rightly so)!

This Biscotti recipe is based on Paul Hollywood’s recipe – and sounds lovely 🙂 My OH made a chocolate and hazelnut version quite recently, and I know from that batch that the texture and crispness are perfect, so I really recommend you try this recipe out!

Anyway, enough from me, and over to Clarinda – thanks for this awesome post!

BISCOTTI – Little Pieces of Italian Heaven

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I feel very honoured to have been asked by yuppiebaker to write another guest post for this exciting blogspot. It is not just because I am the SO’s mother that I find this site so stimulating, it is more because I know how busy these young folk are with work and life in general, but they still find time to cook and bake for themselves. An example to us all! I am a bit of an inveterate, blogger having two sites of my own – http://www.happiness-by-design.com and http://www.highlanddiary.co.uk and I enjoy writing for both of them, but this week I have abandoned them so that I can write this post which is on the subject of Biscotti – those deliciously crunchy Italian biscuits.

 

I had never made Biscotti before, but I had recently bought Paul Hollywood’s excellent book on baking and the recipe in the book looked fairly straight forward. Of course, when I looked in the cupboard, I had very few of the ingredients mentioned recommended in the recipe! – but I also thought that it didn’t really matter what the added fruit and nuts were as there must be as many recipes for Biscotti as there were ever cooks to bake them! Paul had made three sorts: pistachio and cranberry, hazelnut and dates and chocolate, almond and orange. I only had enough flavourings for two varieties, but found that dividing the dough into two made life easier – so no regrets! The biscuits looked perfect when finished, were not difficult to do and were much enjoyed by Himself and the ladies of my spinning group. Here is what I did:-

 

 

Start by making the base dough:-

 

250g plain white flour

½ tsp baking powder

250g caster sugar

2-3 medium eggs, beaten

 

Heat the oven to 140° for a fan oven or 160° for conventional. Paul recommends a conventional setting for these biscuits, but I found that they worked fine in our fan oven.

 

Mix the flour, baking powder and sugar together in a bowl. Stir in the beaten eggs, a little at a time, making sure each addition is incorporated before adding the next. Continue until you have a firm dough; it may not be necessary to add all of the egg. The dough shouldn’t be at all sticky. Kneed it a wee bit and divide it into two (or three) if you intend to make different sorts.

 

Now it’s time to add your chosen flavouring and really there is little necessity to be too careful about weighing these ingredients out. I used roughly 60 gm cranberries and 110 gm almonds for one half chopping them up into reasonably small pieces, and a tablespoon or so of cocoa powder, 25 gm chocolate chips and 60-65 gm chopped walnuts for the other half, but really you can use what you like.

 

Work these ingredients gently into the halves of dough and turn them out onto a floured surface. Roll each piece into a long log, roughly 2 ins in diameter. Place both logs on the lined baking tray, spacing them apart as the mixture will spread a bit. Bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes.

Leave the logs to cool on the tray for 10 minutes to allow the dough to firm up slightly, then transfer to a board. Cut the logs, on an artistic diagonal, into slices approx 2 ins thick.

 

Place the slices, cut side up, back on the lined baking tray. Return to the oven for 20-30 minutes, or until the biscotti are dry through to the centre, turning them over halfway through. Have faith that they wont burn! Transfer to a wire rack and leave to cool completely. They keep well in an airtight container. ENJOY…

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