Tuesday, 23 December 2014

It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas

After the craziness of the end of the school year, it's been lovely to be back at home with my family.  This basically means loud chatting, baking, copious cups of tea, shopping trips and lunches out.  I always take advantage of staying at my mother's house because she has two ovens...yes, two.  It's absolute heaven.  This necessity arose when I was a teenager and poor Mum would always have to compete to use her own oven.  She'd be wanting to cook dinner but we'd have a batch of something-or-other baking that just couldn't wait.  So the solution to that problem has served me well and I can have TWO different things baking at TWO different temperatures.....it's the best.

I only ever make biscotti at Christmas time.  Not sure why, exactly but it just feels right.  Biscotti, or biscotto, means "twice-baked" and this scrumptious, crispy little biscuit holds its own against a strong cup of coffee and loud family chatter.  I love this particular recipe because it's not too sweet.  The sugar, chocolate and roasted almond crunch complement each other perfectly.
Chocolate and Almond Biscotti
270g plain flour, sifted
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
30g dark cocoa powder, sifted
165g caster sugar
3/4 cup blanched almonds
3 eggs
2 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat your oven to 160 degrees celsius and line a flat baking tray.  Mix together the flour, baking powder, cocoa, sugar and almonds.  Add the eggs and the vanilla and combine to form a dough.  Your dough consistency can range between smooth and sticky depending on the size of your eggs, but don't add any more flour.
Divide the dough in two and lightly knead each piece on a floured surface until smooth - this won't take long.  Shape the logs and flatten slightly.  Place on your pre-prepared tray and bake for 35 minutes.  Remove from the oven and cool completely.
Use a serrated knife to cut the log into 5mm slices.  Place back onto your baking tray and bake for a further 15 minutes until your biscotti are crisp.

Happy baking,
F. x