Day 18: I can’t believe how quickly December is flying by. The sweet Helen from The Busy Mamas has come back to us, with an utterly delectable recipe for Biscotti (and having been a recipient of her amazing soaps from last year, I may have to start canvassing her for a tutorial on that some time too!) Thanks so much Helen xxx
And with a few decorations made, my mind is turning towards pressies. Every year I like to make some homemade gifts and this year is no different. I have a lovely batch of soaps curing in the kitchen and am now thinking of a few edible gifts. The last two years I’ve made little bags of sweets – treats like Cranberry Fudge, Peppermint bites and Coconut Caramels. They went down a storm – though a few fillings may have been worked loose by my slightly over chewy toffees! I’ll definitely make some sweets again this year, but the other little treat on my ‘making and gifting’ list (a nice way to describe a pile of half scribbled post-its) are these lovely Chocolate and Almond Biscotti.
These Biscotti are nice and simple and go brilliantly with a nice cup of coffee or drinking chocolate. They are lovely and crunchy and chocolatey and almondy. What more can you ask of a little biscuit?
Biscotti are a great gift because, being twice baked, they have very little water in them and store really well, so you can make them a bit in advance. I’ve made these and stored them in an airtight container for up to two weeks and they were perfect. I have read that they can be kept for up to 4 weeks but, my sweet tooth and a penchant for last minute rushes, means I can’t verify that I’m afraid. The secret to gifting these little fellas will be keeping them in airtight storage. I’ve shown below two options for gift wrapping – one a fancy Christmas pack I bought the other day in Home Store and More and the second a reusable glass jar. The packaging is pricey – three for €4 on sale, and needs a second sealed plastic bag inside to make sure the biscuits last. The jar is my favourite. Funky, chunky and reusable these air tight glass jars are found in Tesco and Ikea for as little as €1 each and will last long after the Biscotti are gone. Tie a cute little tag and ribbon on and these would make a great looking gift to go under the tree.
Chocolate and Almond Biscotti
Makes 15 to 20
100 g caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla paste / vanilla essence
4 drops almond essence
125g plain flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
50g sliced almonds
75g dark chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 170C (fan) / 180C (conventional).
Whisk the eggs and sugar into a pale, mousse-like paste. This takes about 5 minutes with the electric mixer, until the whisk leaves a ribbon-like trail on the surface.
Add the vanilla and almond extracts.
Gently fold the flour, baking powder and salt into the mixture, one spoon at a time.
Fold in the almonds and chocolate chips.
Spoon the dough onto a large sheet of greaseproof paper on a baking tray, creating a long shape about 30cm x 5cm, that tapers slightly at each end.
Cook in a preheated oven for c. 25 minutes until the loaf is a pale brown colour.
Remove from the oven and leave to cool for 5 minutes.
Using a sharp serrated knife (a bread knife is ideal) cut diagonal slanting slices about 1cm thick along the length of the loaf.
Place each of the ‘finger-like’ slices flat side down on the baking tray and return to the oven for 10 minutes. Turn and cook for 5 more minutes.
Remove from the oven and cool on a rack.
Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.