Thursday, 27 November 2008

So good they baked them twice

I've been having lots of fun in the kitchen today. I have been making some preparations for the busy weekend ahead. We've got friends coming for dinner tomorrow evening, DnD on Saturday and then it's the Great Pudding Stir-Up on Sunday.

I'm going to do the majority of the festive baking tomorrow, but couldn't resist giving this recipe for biscotti a go today. It was a handy one to start with not only because I knew they would keep for a couple of days, but also because there is talk of a cookie exchange in December and I wanted to try out some ideas. Someone had suggested that biscotti would be a good idea because they're somewhat sturdier than the average cookie, so good for shipping. Not having made them before I wanted to give it a go before doing the batch to send. I learnt from my jam exchange mistakes you see! No leaving it to the last minute this time around.

The only recipes I could find for biscotti were nut-based versions. What I wanted was something more suitable for the season. So I took the recipe in the Ottolenghi cookbook and replaced the pistachios and stem ginger with dried cranberries and white chocolate, keeping the little bit of ground ginger and using port rather than brandy (because I still haven't bought any since using it all up in the pudding!).

The results have come out rather well. I only had a sneaky taste of the edge pieces, but I think it's going to go down rather well on Sunday, and hopefully they will hold up for posting across the world.

I only made half a batch, but still got 11 pieces of biscotti out of it. I'll definitely be making this again - provided N likes it and could help out in the eating!

Cranberry and White Chocolate Biscotti - adapted from Ottolenghi

This recipe makes the full batch

80g unsalted butter
110g caster sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tbsp port (or brandy)
150g plain flour
1/2 ground ginger
1/4 tsp salt
80g dried cranberries
60g white chocolate, chopped

Line a baking sheet with parchment.

Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Gradually add the eggs, beating after each addition. Stir in the brandy, followed by the flour, salt and ground ginger. Finally stir in the cranberries and chocolate.

Lightly dust the lined baking sheet with flour and spoon the mixture on to the tray. Leave to rest in the fridge for about 30mins so it firms up.

Preheat the oven to 170C

Take the dough out of the fridge, and using your hands and some extra flour roll and shape it into a log of about 25cms length (I found this to be rather sticky, so flour it up!). It will spread during baking and so it doesn't need to be perfect. Bake for 20mins then remove from the oven and allow to cool. Turn the oven down to 130C

The dough will still be slightly soft because of being partially baked. Once it's cooled, use a serated knife and cut into 1cm strips. Lay them flat on the tray and return to the oven for about 40mins. Remove and cool.

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