Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Luxury Dried Fruit & Nut Biscotti - The Christmas Hamper Bakeoff

What makes you think more of Christmas than the smell of mixed spices in the air, hot chocolate, mulled wine and cookies. 

Yes, COOKIES. There is little better than Christmas cookies !

Biscotti have to be one of my favourites. Crispy, crunchy, nutty, fruity. Chocolatey too if you want them to be. They store well, are gratefully received and are great for dunking. Pair them up with some homemade marshmallows and a chocolate spoon or two for a match made in heaven.

I love them with the addition of cinnamon (2tsp) - but they are equally good without. The Frangelico can be subsituted with Amaretto, Cointreau or even a bit more beaten egg.

RECIPE - makes approx 75 pieces

425g flour
375g caster sugar
400g luxury mix of dried fruit and nuts
2 beaten eggs
2tsp baking powder
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tablespoon Frangelico

extra flour for rolling

Pre-heat oven to 150deg C Fan

Prepare two baking trays by lining with silicone baking tray liners or baking parchment.

Sift flour, sugar and baking powder, then mix together.

Beat the eggs, vanilla and frangelico and combine with the dry ingredients.

Bring together until a dough forms. If too wet, you can add some more flour. It should be a bit sticky.

Now add in the dried fruit and nuts. The mix I use includes half walnuts, whole hazelnuts, almonds and peanuts. Also dried cranberries, rasins, apricots and cherries.

Separate the dough into 6 equal pieces.

Roll each piece into a long sausage, approx 1.1/2" / 4cm in diameter.

Place 3 sausages on each tray - spaced well apart.

Bake for approx 20 mins until pale but just starting to take on a hint of golden colour.

Remove from oven and allow to cool on the tray for 5 > 10 mins before slicing each log on the diagonal into 1.5cm / 5/8" thick slices.

Place the slices face down on a baking tray and bake for another 8 mins (approx), then turn and repeat on the other side.

Allow to cool on a wire rack.

Once cool, your biscotti can be drizzled with some chocolate or left plain.

Keep in an airtight container or package in cello bags as gifts.

Sarah-Jane Nash, - August 2013

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