These hard biscuits have become popular in the past few years and are often served in cafés with coffee. They originated in Tuscany, Italy, and the name ’biscotti’ actually means ’twice-cooked’.
Traditional biscotti are made using both ground and whole almonds. Because they are hard, they make a perfect dunking biscuit. They look very attractive in large glass jars and they store well for a long time as long as the container is airtight.
Several ingredients can be added to a basic recipe, including nuts, dried fruits or other flavourings such as chocolate, orange zest, lemon zest and spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger.
Spiced Orange Fruit and Nut Biscotti
These biscotti are quite soft to handle and contain a high proportion of baking powder, which makes them very light. They contain apricots, but this can be changed for other fruit for example dried cranberries at Christmas.
Pinch of salt
Grated zest of 1 orange
1. Place the almonds and pistachio nuts on a baking sheet and toast for 78 minutes or until pale brown. Cool and then chop roughly.
2. Melt the butter and allow to cool.
3. Sift the flour with the salt, baking powder and cinnamon.
4. Beat the eggs then stir in the butter, sugar, orange zest and vanilla. Stir this into the flour mixture and add the nuts and apricots. The mixture will be quite soft. Use extra flour to bring together if too soft.
5. Shape roughly into two logs on a baking sheet lined with parchment, leaving room for them to rise. Bake in a 180C oven for 30 minutes or until they feel firm to the touch. They will be golden brown. Allow to cool. Lower the oven to 140C.
6. Slice the logs on a 45 diagonal into 1cm-thick slices, using a serrated knife. Place on two baking sheets and return to the oven for 15 minutes. Turn over and bake on the other side for a further 15 minutes or until they have dried out and are golden brown.
7. Cool and store in an airtight container.