19 October 2014

Marble Biscotti

Biscotti are the hard oblong biscuits that you can buy in upmarket coffee shops to dip in your morning Latte.  Of course such coffee shops are now fairly ubiquitous worldwide but often very expensive, even for expats.   The name biscotti comes from the Italian for ‘baked twice’ because they go into the oven two times, the name is the origin for the word ‘Biscuit’ in British English.  A regional version in Tuscany is called Cantuccini and is traditionally dipped into a fortified wine (Vin Santo).

As good as a coffee shop!
These tasty biscuits make a great treat to enjoy with your morning coffee.  You could also package them in groups of 3-4 with some ribbon and card and use as personalised gifts or to sell at a school bake fayre.
 
Biscotti are baked twice - as a log for the first baking


You will need:
  1. 100g (31/2 oz) plain chocolate, melted.
  2. 85g (3oz) unsalted butter.
  3. 140g (5oz) caster (superfine) sugar.
  4. 2 large eggs
  5. ½ tsp vanilla extract
  6. Rind of one orange
  7. 280g (10oz) plain flour
  8. 11/2 tsp baking powder
  9. 75g (23/4 oz) blanched, flaked almonds.

Time taken: 11/2 hours, difficulty level: intermediate

Cut and baked on the side to crisp up on the second baking
Method:
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 190°C (375F)
  2. Melt the chocolate (either in a water bath or in the microwave depending on your preference).  Set aside to cool.
  3. Cream the butter and sugar until pale and creamy.
  4. Add the vanilla extract and orange rind to the eggs and beat lightly.  Add the mix to the butter and sugar and whisk.
  5. Add in the flour, almonds and baking powder and mix to a soft dough.
  6. Divide the dough into two parts mixing one half in with the melted chocolate. 
  7. Knead the two halves for about three minutes each on a well floured surface.  Divide each half into two again.
  8. Roll each ball into sausages about 30cm (12in) long.
  9. Place a chocolate and a plain roll next to eachother on a baking sheet and twist them around before flattening the combined roll to about 2.5m (1in) thick.  Do the same with the remaining two dough balls.
  10. Bake for about 25 minutes until lightly brown.
  11. Once done remove from the oven.  Turn the oven down to 170°C (35F).  Leave the logs to cool for 15 minutes.
  12. Using a sharp, serrated knife cut the logs on the diagonal into slices about 1cm (1/2 in thick).
  13. Arrange the slices cut side down on the baking sheet and return to the oven for 10 minutes.  Turn and bake the other side for a further 10 minutes until golden.
  14. Remove from oven and leave to cool and harden. 

Perfect for coffee mornings, bake sales or gifts.
Variations:

You could choose to make just the plain version (omit the chocolate) or double the chocolate and make just the chocolate version.  Real chocoholics could replace the nuts with chocolate chips or coat the cooled biscuits in melted chocolate before leaving to set.

Most types of nut will work in Biscotti – try replacing the almonds with hazelnuts or walnuts.  Similarly you could replace the orange with lemon.  The opportunities and experiments are endless - it might be quite fun to design a version for each expat posting - I might use this as a project for the kids one half term!

Click on the picture for more information on the challenges of the expat kitchen.

Ersatz Expat

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