One of my passions aside from baking is travel. I love to go and see new places, and travelling the world is one of my biggest ambitions. The best thing is that loving food and loving travel goes hand in hand. Everywhere I go I find new flavours, smells and recipes. In China I had delicious egg rolls, in America fantastic burgers and cheesecakes, in Australia exotic meats and seafood, and I hope to try many more tasty foods on my future travels. One of the places I have always wanted to go to is Italy, thinking of the food there makes my mouth water! I recently joined the Titan Supper Club, every month they have a travel inspired recipe for reader’s to try and this month’s recipe was biscotti.
I started by mixing the dry ingredients in a bowl. First I sifted 300g plain flour, 75g cocoa powder, 1/2 tsp baking powder and 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda.
Secondly I poured in 200g sugar (I used caster but you can also use granulated), 1/4 tsp salt and 140g roasted chopped hazelnuts, and stirred in.
You can roast the hazelnuts yourself if you like. Do this by putting them on a baking tray in the oven for 10 minutes at 200C/400F/Gas Mark 6. Once they are cool, roll them between your hands to remove the skins, then chop roughly. I was lazy and used a ready prepared bag!
I added 3 eggs, one by one, as well as 1 tsp vanilla extract, 2 tbsp water and the zest of one large orange. And mixed until a dough formed.
I split the dough into two and rolled into sausages about 3 inches wide. I put them both on separate lined baking trays and baked on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 25 minutes.
I left them to cool for 15 minutes, then sliced them diagonally into slices about 1cm thick. I found them quite hard to cut without them breaking apart, I had to be quite slow and gentle as I sliced.
I arranged the slices on fresh baking paper and baked for a further 20 mins at 160C/325F/Gas Mark 3, turning them over half way through. After the 20 minutes, they still seemed soft in the middle. I knew that biscotti was meant to be very hard and crispy. I gave them another 20 minutes in the oven to be sure. I then placed them on a wire rack and left them to cool. They smelt amazing!
Once they were cool, they were ready to eat! The biscotti weren’t as crispy as I imagined they would be. I think I may have rolled the sausages a bit too wide at the start and therefore they didn’t cook enough in the centre. However saying that, they were delicious! I quite enjoy a crispy edge and softer middle. The flavours really compliment each other and it was great fun to try out a taste of Italy. It’s also given me some ideas for biscotti related desserts, I might smash some of the biscotti up and make a tasty biscuit base with them for a cheesecake, or soak them in coffee and alcohol for the bottom of a tiramisu!
They’re also perfect alone dunked in a cup of tea, coffee or hot chocolate!