That’s my usual war cry every time I head out to the Farmers’ Markets. You see I love my biscotti – so much that in any one weekend, I’d happily lay down three-digits of cash for biscuit stash.
Obviously heading out to the markets and stocking up on biscotti goodness can’t be part of my everyday routine (this addiction can get mighty expensive). And as much I’d love her to, chocolatesuze doesn’t do 2am biscotti deliveries when a craving beckons. Sometimes, I *gasp* have to make it myself!
My favourite is always almond and pistachio for the nuts and dried apricot and sometimes date for the fruit. But you could also try walnut, hazelnut, macadamia or dried cranberry. Vanilla is also a staple flavour, but you could spice things up with ground ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, chocolate or even coffee. Any combination imaginable is at your mercy.
This night I threw in a Middle Eastern influence in one biscotti batch and paired pistachio and date together, added a hint of cardamom and substituted the vanilla extract for orange blossom water* (though rose water* would also work). I also love the colour combo of green and brown and the aroma of pistachios, the spice and the ambrosial orange blossom as it was baking was extremely intoxicating. With the other batch, I opted for a traditional favourite and used almond, dried apricot and vanilla extract.
This is the recipe for the Middle Eastern-style biscotti (with the substitutions included for almond and apricot biscotti) but obviously you have free rein here to change the recipe to your own liking.
*Orange Blossom or Rose Water is available from gourmet food shops, delicatessens or Middle Eastern grocers.
Cardamom-spiced Date and Pistachio Biscotti / Almond and Apricot Biscotti
1 C caster sugar
1 tsp orange blossom or rose water / 1 tsp vanilla extract
a pinch of ground cardamom (for the Date and Pistachio biscotti)
100gm of pistachios / almonds
90gm dried dates / dried apricots (roughly chopped)
2 C plain flour
½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
1. Preheat oven to 175°C.
2. In a bowl, combine the flour, salt and baking powder.
3. In a large mixing bowl, whisk the eggs and sugar together with an electric mixer (at least for 5 minutes) until slightly thick, creamy and pale yellow.
4. Add the orange blossom water or vanilla extract, ground spice (if using), nuts and dried fruit and give it a couple of light stirs to combine.
5. Working in small batches, pour a little of the flour mixture over the surface of the egg mixture and gently fold until just combined. Continue until all the flour is added. Do not over mix the batter.
6. Divide the dough into two batches, give them a brief knead to bring it together and shape them into loaves approximately 5cm x 25cm and place them apart on a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper.
7. Bake in the oven for about 40 minutes, rotating the tray after 20 minutes. Biscotti is ready when cracks appear on top of the biscotti. Don’t let the cracks get too large because that’d mean you’re over baking it.
8. Remove from the oven when done and let the biscotti cool completely.
9. When completely cooled, use a serrated knife to slice the biscotti as thickly or thinly as you like.
10. Place the slices of biscotti on a baking tray and bake in the oven for about 8-13 minutes until crisp and lightly golden.
11. Cool biscotti on the wire rack. When completely cooled, store in an airtight container.