Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Christmas Biscotti

Christmas Biscotti
Home Cooking

Marc and I have spent the last couple of months painstakingly putting together our new apartment. Items of furniture, appliances, tableware and decorations have gradually arrived and each added a sense of home to the apartment. One of the last items to get here was our TV. It is a perfect example of our materialistic society that two people who don't watch TV and already owned a TV felt it necessary to purchase one just because the entertainment unit looked bare without.

For the sake of using our new possession, I switched the telly on one day and was pleased to find Food Safari on one of the channels. I love cooking shows and Food Safari is great because it's got the cooking element plus a bit of cultural education and a dash of travel. The episode I came across happened to be about Italian cuisine and the final recipe they covered was a very simple biscotti (original recipe here).

I've made a variety of biscotti before and I don't know why I don't bake it more often because it lasts for a long time and it's something I can eat myself on a regular basis. Add a piece of biscotti or two to your daily cuppa and you instantly feel like you're at a cafe rather than your lounge.

I call this version Christmas Biscotti because I baked them for my mum and Christmas time. There are hints of green in the pistachio but they would have been more Christmas coloured with a handful of glace cherries. I halved the original recipe from Food Safari and used triple sec as my liquor of choice. I also reduced the amount of sugar used.

Christmas Biscotti
Makes 20

  • 300g plain flour
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • small pinch of salt
  • 50g flaked almonds
  • 50g pistachios
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • zest of 1 orange
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • zest of 1 lime
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 30ml triple sec (or other liquor of choice)

1. Put the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, nuts and citrust zest in a large bowl and stir together.
2. Add the vanilla, eggs, egg yolk and liquor. Mix until well combined.
3. Roll into logs around 4cm wide and place on buttered trays (I used trays lined with non-stick paper) and refrigerate for 20 minutes (if longer, wrap the logs to prevent drying).
4. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Bake the logs for 10-15 minutes until golden brown on the outside. Allow to cool.
5. Lower the oven to 160 degrees Celsius. Thinly slice the logs, return the slices to the tray and bake for a further 5-10 minutes. Monitor closely to prevent overbaking because they will go hard.
6. Store in an airtight container and serve with tea or coffee.

The best thing about baking these biscotti was the aroma. The trio of citrus zest when baked produced the most alluring scent I've smelt in ages. It's homely and warm but still light. I hope Glasshouse Fragrances finds a way to capture this in a candle.

I had much better success with this batch of biscotti compared to the last I baked that were undercooked after the first baking. This time, the biscuits were uniformly crispy without being too hard and they were ideal for dunking in coffee or tea.

Biscotti are great for gifting because they can be kept, stored in airtight containers for up to several months (although if they last that long you might be doing something wrong ;).

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