Simple, elegant baking: How to make Biscotti
So here’s a small departure from the usual ‘how to’s’ you’ll find on the site.
Those who follow the Instagram posts, are one of my team at work, or were at a friend’s 50th birthday party recently will know that I’ve baked a bunch of Biscotti recently; as it turned up in a few of the bread baking resources I’ve been using I decided to give it a go. Considering how much these cost at the coffee shops, I was surprised at how easy and ‘cost-effective’ they are (we don’t do anything cheap).
Anywho, after eating them at work, a colleague asked if I’d post the recipe. I was a bit unsure how it fit’s in as I’m not trying to build ‘another recipe site’. Ultimately though, if I’m getting feedback about the site, it stands to reason that I should provide what the masses want. (In this instance, I’m counting 100% feedback as ‘masses’, even if it’s only one comment!)
So, here’s how I made mine…
This will make about 36 individual biscotti which we’ll split into two different flavours.
- 500g strong white bread flour (although plain will do) plus extra for rolling and dusting.
- 500g Caster Sugar
- 1 tsp Baking Powder
- 5 medium eggs
This is largely up to you and is where you really make the biscotti your own. Nuts and dried fruits (including peel) are the norm and I use 2 good handfuls (around 300g) per flavour. You could also experiment with aromatic herbs and/or spices such as lavender or fennel.
For these I used a handful each of shelled pistachios and cranberries for one flavour, and a handful each of almonds and raisins for the other. The nuts can be toasted, if you wish, and can also be roughly chopped. For mine I didn’t toast the nuts, I also left them whole and with their ‘paper’ on. It’s also possible to add ½ – 1 teaspoon of flavour extract to each batch (such as vanilla, or almond extract) but be careful not to let the dough get too wet.
As with all the items with a ‘beginner’ tab on the blog this is pretty easy. It’s another good one to do with bairns too but don’t let them at the Vin Santo; they can buy their own!
Start by setting the oven at 140°C (275°F, Gas Mark 1) for fan assisted, or 160°C (325°F, Gas Mark 3) for non fan assisted. Line two baking trays with baking parchment / grease-proof paper.
Combine the flour, sugar and baking powder in a bowl and give it a mix; finally making a well in the centre. In a separate bowl, give the eggs a gentle whisk.
Add most but not all of the beaten eggs to the flour mixture and stir it all together.
Give the mixture at least a couple of minutes to combine before deciding if you need the rest of the egg. Your final dough should be reasonably firm and only slightly tacky. Don’t worry too much if it gets too sticky, but it’s easier too work with if it’s the right consistency.
Now divide the dough into two, one for each flavour. Add your chosen flavourings to each batch and knead them well into the dough ensuring they are pretty evenly distributed.
Flour your work surface and your hands. Further divide each batch into two and then roll each piece of dough into sausages that are around 4 – 5 cm (1 ½ – 2″) thick.
Place the logs onto the baking parchment, on the baking trays, a good distance apart (about 5 cm / 2″). The dough will spread while cooking and this should give it enough room.
Bake in the oven for about 35 – 40 minutes until the biscotti has taken on just a little colour. Put the trays on a cooling rack and leave them to cool for twenty minutes before continuing.
Now it’s time to get that familiar shape. Using a serrated bread knife, cut into 1.5 – 2.5 cm (¾ – 1″) slices on the diagonal. Don’t push down too hard and use a sawing action to get through any nuts.
We now put the biscotti back onto the paper covered baking trays, with a cut side up, and bake again for 15 minutes before flipping each one and giving a final 15 minute bake. Finally, put them on a wire rack to cool. Once cooled, they should keep for a few weeks in an airtight container.
So that’s it. I hope you enjoy making yours. Let us know what flavours you tried and how they came out.