Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Almond, orange and chocolate biscotti

My baby-growing app (because it's impossible to be pregnant without one in these modern times) measures the size of the child within in terms of French pastries and desserts. This week, Baby Cake-To-Be is the size of a creme brulee. So I made some. Because yum!

The recipe I used was this one (okay, technically a very close cousin of creme brulee), which is super easy to put together, but I wanted a little extra something to go with it. Keeping with the citrus trend I went on the hunt for a zesty biscotti, and stumbled upon this Paul Hollywood recipe.

I tweaked it a little, as the original recipe calls for two or three eggs, but two was too dry and three was too sticky, and it seemed daft using 2.5 eggs. I used size 6, so if your eggs are smaller hold aside a little of the flour until you see if the dough comes together, and if you have larger eggs you can try with two, or use three and add a little more flour until the dough isn't sticky.

The other difficulty I encountered while making it was that someone, who shall remain nameless (but wasn't me!) pinched some of the chocolate from the baking shelf, so when I came to weigh out the 100 grams I needed I experienced this calamity:

13 grams short! Woe is me!
Luckily I had some fancy milk chocolate (eating chocolate, not baking chocolate - there are separate categories in this house) stashed away, so I pillaged some of that to make up the recipe. The volume of chocolate in the recipe is reasonably subtle, so I didn't want to short-change it, even by 13 grams. ;-)

Biscotti is pretty straightforward to make and suits all sorts of different flavours. It also lasts for ages, which makes it a great gift food - you can make it in advance, and the recipient need not feel obliged to scoff it immediately. This recipe has a definite festive vibe with its orange and almond flavours too.

Because it's double baked it suits a day when you're pottering around in the kitchen. It worked well interspersed with dinner prep for me - I made the dough, popped the logs into the oven, prepped dinner, took the logs out and sliced them and they went back into the oven while we ate. A rare moment of housekeeping synergy for the Cake household, made possible by the simplicity of this recipe.

Do you have a favourite biscotti flavour combo? And do little fairies ever creep into your pantry and pinch your baking ingredients?

Almond, orange and chocolate biscotti (modified from Paul Hollywood)
330g flour, plus extra for dusting
½ tsp baking powder
250g caster sugar
3 size 6 eggs, beaten
100g chocolate (milk or dark depending on your preference)
125g blanched or roasted almonds
Zest of 1 orange
½ tsp vanilla extract or vanilla paste

Preheat oven to 160 C, or 140 C if fan bake. Line a baking tray with baking paper or a liner.

Mix flour, baking powder and sugar together in a bowl. In another bowl, beat the eggs, then gradually add to the dry ingredients, ensuring that the egg is fully incorporated between each addition. Continue until you have a firm dough. The dough shouldn't be sticky, so if you are using large eggs either start with just two and see if it's enough, or add more flour until the dough is firm.

Melt half the chocolate, then cool until tepid. Add the melted chocolate to the biscotti dough and stir until evenly incorporated. Bring the mixture together to form a firm dough. Chop the remaining chocolate roughly, then add to the dough along with almonds, orange zest and vanilla extract. Mix these ingredients in with your hands until well combined.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and divide in half. Form each half into a long log, roughly 4cm diameter.

Place on the baking tray, ensuring there is at least 5cm between them as they will sink and spread as they cook. Bake 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 and cut into slices about 2cm thick.

Lay the slices on the baking tray. Bake for 15 minutes, then turn over and bake for a further 10-15 minutes, until they are dry. Cool completely, then store in an airtight container.


  1. Hope some of this is coming south this Christmas?


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