I work with some pretty awesome people, most of them are very supportive of my baking adventures because it means there is always a treat on Monday. One of my coworker, who used to be a diving instructor so we will call her DiverA, invited me over to hers to bake some biscotti. I have never baked at other people’s house before, so this was exciting.
I have also never made biscotti before. I am not a coffee drinker, and biscottis are usually something you have with your coffee. Yeah yeah, I am aware you can have tea with it, but I find their flavours usually do complement coffee a bit more. So it is never quite on my radar of things to make. DiverA and I brainstormed a bit about flavours: she liked the idea of a Christmasy flavour, like cranberry and white chocolate. We also liked the idea of a nutty chocolatey one, so hazelnut and chocolate chips. Personally I would have also love to do a gingerbread one, however that could require a different dough altogether and I felt like that is pushing some extra challenge on an already unfamiliar ground. So we settled on just the two flavours.
All I know about biscotti is that you have to bake it twice. First time to shape, and second time to dry out to make the perfectly crunchy texture. … but what is the perfectly crunchy texture? I have only had experience with biscotti that break your teeth and you will have to eat it after dipping it in a hot drink. I am guessing that isn’t supposed to be the right texture.
No one told me the dough is so sticky! I was going to work it like I do bread and just turn the dough out to mix the flavourings in. But if you are making one full serving of dough with each flavour you are better off just putting all the ingredients in a bowl and mix inside of the bowl.
The recipe also calls for dividing up each dough into two logs. When I portioned the dough out the logs looked too small to be the correct size for a regular biscotti. So I just made one large log instead.
… which probably was a mistake as the log did spread in the oven and became quite big after the first baking. So when baking more than one log make sure you leave a lot of space between the logs so they won’t get stuck to each other.
The two logs also baked up differently. The cranberry one was very, very sticky and was quite difficult to carve it up into slices. The chocolate one was a lot more manageable, probably because more flour was in the dough? Also, DiverA’s kitchen is very, very warm. It is possible because it was too warm in there for the dough to cool and firm up?
Though, with the same bake time the cranberry one ended up being a lovely texture that I can eat without dipping it in a coffee. The chocolate one was …. well a bit comical when I tried to eat it. DiverA didn’t have any issue breaking into either of the biscottis so it could very well just be me.
If you do want to coat the biscotti with chocolate, I would of course, highly recommend you temper the chocolate so it will set and not make a mess. Grating the chocolate or use tiny chips in the microwave in 10 second bursts worked super well. But if you don’t intend to save any for latter then I guess it wouldn’t matter if the chocolate sets.
I think they are good as they were without the chocolate. I even had a coffee to go with them. The chocolate one was superb with a cup of nice coffee. Made the coffee nicer to drink with some extra chocolate too. :>
Recipe adapted from Paul Hollywood’s Trio of Biscotti
For the Biscotti base:
250g All Purpose Flour (+30g Flour for Chocolate biscotti)
1/2 Tsp Baking Powder
3 Eggs, beaten
Cranberry Orange Biscotti:
125g Dried Cranberries, chopped
Zest of 1 Orange
1/2 Tsp Orange Extract
~85g White Chocolate for dipping, if using
Chocolate Hazelnut Biscotti:
50g Dark Chocolate, melted and cool to room temperature
25g Semi-sweet Chocolate Chips
200g Hazelnuts, chopped
1/2 Vanilla Extract
~85g Dark Chocolate for dipping, if using
1. Preheat your oven to 160°c/320°f. Line a baking tray with parchment.
2. Mix the dry ingredients together, then add the beaten eggs a little a time. Keep mixing until you have a firm dough. According to the recipe, this dough is not supposed to be sticky and the dough should be firm. It says you didn’t have to add all the eggs, maybe that’s where we did wrong? If making the chocolate biscotti, add the extra flour and the melted chocolate now.
3. Add the rest of the flavouring for whichever dough you decide to make. For the dried fruits and nuts, you can chop them to the fineness of your liking. It can be rough or fine, whichever you like. Mix the dough with your hands until it is fully incorporated.
4. Once you have the mixed dough, turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead gently and divide them in two.
5. Roll each half into a long log about 4 cm in diameter. It looks small but as I mentioned, they do spread and get bigger. Put the logs on your baking tray and make sure to leave at least 5 cm between them. Or they will spread enough to touch each other. Bake for 35 minutes.
6. Take the logs out of the oven and let cool for about 10 minutes to firm up. It might take longer if your kitchen is warm. Cut the logs diagonally into about 2-3cm thick slices, at this point the shape of the slices won’t change much, so just cut them into the biscottis of your dreams.
7. Place the slices cut side up back onto the baking tray and bake for another 20-30 minutes. Turning them over half way through, if your oven has a hot spot, turn the trays around as well to make sure the slices are baked evenly. When done, the slices should be dry all the way through. Once done, place the slices on a cooling rack to cool completely especially if you wish to dip them in chocolate, make sure they are completely cool before you start.
8. Have a coffee, eat up!