Friday, February 15, 2013

Almond Biscotti

I love biscotti.

I love the crunchy texture.

I love the shape.

I love that it's designed to be dunked (traditionally the Italians serve it with wine, but it's tea for me).

I've wanted to try and make biscotti for a long time, probably ever since I had my first bite.

It always seemed like something that was hard to get right at home though.

A few weeks ago I finally decided to give it a go. I combed the internet for recipes and after a lot of research I finally came up with one of my own.

Turns out homemade biscotti is not hard at all.

I made these on a particularly cloudy, rainy weekend and because of electricity trouble I had to move my mixer from the kitchen to the floor of my sister's bedroom.

That didn't stop me though and in the end all the running to and from kitchen and bedroom was worth it.

Almond Biscotti

2 oz butter
⅓ cup sugar
1 egg
1 cup flour
½ tsp baking powder
a pinch of salt
½ tsp vanilla
2 oz almonds, finely chopped

Optional: 2½ oz chocolate, melted (I used Cadbury Bournville, but use your favourite kind)

1. Preheat the oven to 325⁰F (160⁰C).
2. Beat the butter and sugar until light and creamy.
3. Beat in the egg.
4. Sift the flour and baking powder into the mixing bowl, add the salt and stir to combine.
5. Mix in the chopped almonds and vanilla.
6. Form the dough into a log shape on a greased baking tray lined with wax paper. The log should be about about 1 inch high, 2 inches wide and 10 to 12 inches long.

7. Bake for about 25 minutes.
8. Remove the tray from the oven and turn the temperature down to 300⁰F (150⁰) and let the the log cool for a while. When it is cool enough to handle, slice the log either diagonally or across, using a sharp knife, into 1/2 inch slices. (It's best to use a ruler for this to ensure the slices are uniform and they bake evenly.)

(The picture on the left is from an older batch.)

9. Place the biscotti on the baking tray, lined with wax paper or a Silpat (as shown below)...

... and bake for 20 minutes. Then turn the biscotti over onto their other side and bake for another 20 minutes.
10. Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool completely.

If you are using chocolate:
11. Place a large tray lined with wax paper or foil in the freezer.
12. Add the chocolate to a bowl and place the bowl on a saucepan of simmering water (the bottom of the bowl shouldn't touch the water).
13. When the chocolate has melted, remove the bowl from the saucepan. Let the chocolate cool a little and remove the tray from the freezer. Dip the biscotti in the chocolate and place on the cold tray.
14. When all the biscotti has been dipped in chocolate, freeze for 5 to 10 minutes until the chocolate is set. Store in an airtight container.