When an email arrived from the lovely Claire behind the website, Claire K Creations, I jumped at the chance to join in on the Foodie Secret Santa. It was kind of nice to have an excuse to take a break from work and the hectic rush before Christmas, especially when the said excuse entails baking in the kitchen. As part of the secret santa, I was asked to send a little food package to 3 randomly selected foodies. I would, in return, receive 3 gifts in the mail. How exciting, postal gifts! Food gifts are always welcome to my address however, they never really last that long.
I decided to bake biscotti using a recipe given to me from Derek’s mum. She is an almighty brilliant baker and when she mentioned the small Italian biscuit recipe is easy to make, I needed no further convincing. You can always trust that a baker has tried and tested a recipe. I baked two varying batches, just in case one was involved in an unfortunate accident but luckily both turned out okay – Almond and Cranberry, and, Sultanas, Almond and Cinnamon.
The recipe is surprisingly simple to make and produces around 60 aromatic biscotti! They really are delicious with a black espresso or tea and also quite versatile. Derek tried spreading Nutella on two of the biscotti to create a biscotti sandwich, he gives the thumbs up for this. You can also be a little creative and decorate vanilla ice cream with a couple of the biscotti. Of course, they are just as yummy on their own.
I packed the biscotti into a little santa box bound for the eastern states, they were nicely snug in the box and being quite hard in texture I thought they would survive a few tumbles in the postal journey.
Many thanks to Claire for organising this wonderful Foodie Secret Santa, such a fantastic idea! It didn’t take long for my gifts to arrive in the mail and the whole process turned me into a little excited child. I posted a picture of each gift up onto my instagram account. I received orange spiced macadamia and holiday spice in a jar, chilli jam and peanuts, and, mushroom salt. I like the idea of reusing the cute little jars.
- 2 cups plain flour sifted
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder, sifted
- 3/4 cup caster sugar
- 3 eggs, lightly beaten and room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon finely grated orange rind
- 1 cup dried cranberries
- 1 cup blanched almonds toasted
- Preheat oven to 160C. Place almonds on a tray and toast in an oven for approximately 10 minutes or until you can smell the beautiful nutty aroma. You may wish to carry this task out the day before.
- Pull out and set aside to cool.
- Preheat oven to 160C
- Sift flour and baking powder into a bowl. Add the sugar. Mix to combine.
- Add the almonds, cranberries, eggs, vanilla and orange rind. Mix until it forms a sticky dough.
- Place the dough on a well floured surface and knead until a smooth consistency is achieved.
- Halve the dough and roll into 2 x 20cm- long logs and flatten the top slightly.
- Place the logs on a large lightly greased baking tray and bake for 30-35 minutes or until cooked.
- Set aside to cool completely.
- Cut the logs into thin 3mm slices with a sharp serrated knife and place on a baking tray lined with non-stock paper
- Bake for 8-10 minutes or until golden and crisp. Note that the biscuits will continue to bake for a few minutes after pulling out of the oven.
- Allow the biscotti to cool completely on trays
A few variation ideas to the Almond and Cherry Biscotti;
- Replace the almonds with hazelnuts or pistachios
- Add Australian sultanas for a caramelized flavour
- Reduce caster sugar by 1 teaspoon and add 1 teaspoon of cinnamon