‘Foodies Column’ – Biscotti!

‘Foodies Column’ - Biscotti!In the colder months, what is better than curling up under a blanket, watching a movie and eating a biscuit with a steaming hot cuppa? This recipe is to make a biscuit that is substantial, flavoursome, easy to make (although a little time is needed) and not too sugary.

Biscotti literally means ‘twice baked’ – baked in a log, and then sliced and baked again. It is an Italian biscuit invented solely for the use of dunking in Tuscan wines. They are a very hard biscuit, barely any moisture, giving it a large shelf life. They were used in the Italian army rations, much like the Anzac biscuit.

Traditional biscotti contains no butter or oil which is what enables it to have such a long shelf life. If you come across a recipe that does include butter or oil, please do not expect to have as long a shelf life as this recipe. Featured here is my favourite type of biscotti for dunking, as it does not influence the flavour of your hot drink. The original recipe calls for whole un-blanched almonds. I don’t like the bitterness of the almond skin, and the slivered almonds handle slicing a lot better and aren’t as large to bite into.

Lightly toasting the almonds brings out the flavour and makes them crunchy rather than soggy in the mix. Some other varieties that can be made are: Chocolate and Almond —substitute 1/4 cup flour for cocoa and drizzle with melted chocolate. Pistachio — substitute pistachios for the almonds. Cherry and Almond — in addition to the almonds, place glacé cherries through the log, and slice a little thinner ( .5cm).

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (220g) caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • Finely grated rind of 1 lemon
  • 2 cups (300g) plain flour, sifted
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 150g toasted slivered almonds

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 170°C and line a large baking tray with baking paper.
  2. Place sugar, eggs and grated lemon rind in a large bowl. Beat with electric beaters until pale and thick.
  3. Fold in sifted flour, baking powder and almonds, then use your hands to lightly knead dough on a floured work surface until the dough is smooth.
  4. Divide the mixture in half. Form 2 long logs about 25cm long x 5cm wide and place on the prepared baking tray, leaving space between the logs. Bake for 20-25 minutes until the dough is firm to the touch and slightly golden. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool completely (about an hour).
  5. Preheat the oven to 140°C.
  6. Once dough is cool, use a small serrated knife to cut each log on the diagonal in 1cm slices.
  7. Lay slices flat on the baking tray and return to oven for 15-20 minutes, turning once, until completely dried out.
  8. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.

Makes about 30, depending on how thick you like to slice them. Can be storeed in an airtight container for 2-3 weeks.

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