Hands up who’s a Great British Bake Off fanatic? Oh, me, me, meeeee! So considering how much of a general baking fanatic I am as well, I’m rather surprised that I’ve never tried the whole ‘Bake with Bake Off’ thing. Thing is, I’m good at the things I know really well, but I don’t often adventure out of my ‘safe zone’. Hence why this year I’ve decided to experiment more and have a go at some of the challenges on the show that I’ve never tried before myself.
Last Wednesday’s episode was all about biscuits, with one of the requirements to produce 20 pieces of biscotti. I’ve scoffed a fair amount of biscotti in my lifetime and it’s always been one of my favourite coffee shop go to biscuits. Turns out the basic recipe is fairly simple, it’s getting the timing of the bake right that’s a bit trickier.
Makes 20 biscotti.
250g plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
200g golden caster sugar
3 medium eggs, beaten
100g mixed dried fruit
75g hazelnuts, chopped
1. Heat your oven to 160 degrees celsius (150 fan) and line a baking tray with baking paper.
2. In a large bowl mix the flour, baking powder and caster sugar. I had (unbelievably) run out of baking powder so substituted with 1/4 tsp cream of tartar and 1/8 tsp bicarbonate of soda.
3. Add in the beaten eggs a little at a time. You’re looking for a sticky consistency, but something that will still hold its shape. Biscotti are also rather forgiving, so if you find that your dough is too dry or wet at this point you can add a bit more egg or flour respectively.
4. Add the fruit and nuts and gently knead into a dough.
5. Split your dough into two and form even log shapes on the baking tray. Leave a couple of inches in between them to allow for a bit of spreading in the oven.
6. Bake for 25 minutes, then remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly. If you don’t let the biscotti cool enough at this point it’ll just crumble when you try and slice it. I left mine for about 10 minutes until it was cool enough to handle but still fairly warm inside.
7. Slice each log into 10 even slices each and lay flat on the tray. Depending on the size of your tray you might need a second one at this point.
8. Return the biscotti to the oven and bake for a further 15-20 minutes or until golden brown, turning halfway through. The second bake will remove even more moisture from the biscuit giving it its distinctive crunch as well as allowing them to be stored for at least several weeks.
9. Finally, remove from the oven and allow to cool completely. Enjoy either by themselves, or with your favourite hot beverage. I have to say they make for one fantastic dunker!