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