Brisbane based writer, foodie and communications professional
Published December 13th 2012
Cooking at home that's fun and the results, rewarding
As someone who loves to cook and entertain for other people, I am happy to announce that my cooking skills have greatly improved over the years. However, when it comes to desserts, I'm certainly no baker (well not yet…).
Concluding 2012 with one last dinner party, I couldn't finish the night without offering at least some sort of sweet course. I've cooked biscotti before, but admittedly, I'm terrible at following a recipe. I believe recipes are just a guide – and that's what I'm sticking to.
So this morning, my last working day for the year, I was up at 5am attempting to make biscotti – an Italian twice-baked biscuit.
The main ingredients are plain flour, butter, baking powder, sugar and eggs. Then you can add whatever nuts, dash of liquor (brandy) and zest you like. I believe the usual additions are hazelnuts and orange zest.
I however, decided to replace the zest with coffee, add the hazel nuts, which I roasted, and included a handful of walnuts.
You're meant to combine the dry ingredients with the butter and eggs until it's a breadcrumb like consistency. You then knead the mixture and add the nuts and zest at the end. I roasted the hazelnuts in the oven and then removed the skin.
Note: if you wish to add coffee, use what settles in the bottom of the mug and as little liquid as possible, and add extra flour.
Another note: when kneading the dough, use wet hands, otherwise the dough heavily clumps to your hands and everything else you touch…
Roll it into two logs and flatten. Cook it on the oven at 180 (fan force) for 20 minutes, remove, cut into 1cm wide biscuits, reduce the oven to 160 and cook for another 20 minutes.
While it's cooking, you'll want to clean up some of the mess…
I was delighted to remove the biscotti from the oven as it looked as it should and even better, tasted great. Serve with a shot of espresso and if you're after something a little stronger, add a nip of hazelnut liquor to your coffee. Dunk and enjoy. Let's hope my guests enjoy these crunchy, nutty treats.