Cranberry and Hazelnut Biscotti always signify Christmas time to me. Biscotti can seem a bit daunting to make but, in fact, they're fairly straightforward. You don't fiddle about with rolling and cutting out. Just shape into a log, bake, cut into biscuits, and bake again.
Now I've started to make biscotti myself, I feel compelled to try lots of different fruit and nut combinations, but the traditional ones always win.
Biscotti are much easier to make than you think and they taste so good. I prefer making them a little less crunchy than the ones you buy. That's easily done by cutting down the cooking time (or making the biscotti bigger).
Ring the changes
Fruit and nuts
Use any combination that you like: apricot and almonds, sour cherry and pistachio are good. If you want all nuts or all fruit just amend the quantities and make your favourites.
Secrets of Success
Are biscotti easy to make?
Yes, in a word. There are three steps to successful biscotti:
1. Make the dough - get your hands dirty
- Combine the dry ingredients in one bowl and the wet ingredients in another bowl
- Mix with a spoon and your hands to make the dough.
2. Shape and bake
- Shape the dough into two logs
- Bake for half an hour.
3. Cut and bake again
- Cut the logs into slices
- Bake again, turning once for 15 minutes.
The main trick is to make sure you have a very sharp knife for cutting the biscotti loaves into slices.
How do you make gluten-free biscotti?
I've made these Cranberry and Hazelnut Biscotti with gluten-free flour, as a present for a friend with coeliac disease. They work very well, although the texture is a bit softer. The flour I prefer to use is from Dove's Farm and is well worth buying in bulk if you have friends and family who are coeliac (as I now have).
Make Cranberry and Hazelnut Biscotti for Christmas presents or bake sales
However you make them, biscotti are a great idea for a Christmas gift. And if you need to make something for a bake sale at this time of year, biscotti are always a good bet. They look very professional in a pretty bag. Not many people make them, so it's easy to impress.
- Magic Liner or a silicone baking mat – both reduce the washing up as they go into the dishwasher. You don’t have to grease them either as they’re totally non-stick. I’ve just bought some silicone baking mats that I saw recommended. You use them over a baking sheet to keep the mess down and you can roll biscuits out on it as it’s non-stick. You can use, as I often do, magic liner, which I have cut to fit most of my traybake tins and roasting tins. Both go in the dishwasher to clean, although all I just washed off the baking mats in the sink. Anything to reduce the domestic load!
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Cranberry and Hazelnut Biscotti
- 100 g dried cranberries
- 125 g whole hazelnuts
- 300 g plain/all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder (5ml)
- ½ teaspoon salt (2.5ml)
- 240 g caster sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (5ml)
- Line 2 baking sheets with a liner or baking parchment
- Preheat the oven to 200°C/ 180°C fan/ gas mark 6/ 400°F
- Chop the cranberries into manageable pieces - 2 or 3. Easiest with kitchen scissors
- Chop the hazelnuts into similar sized pieces, using a very sharp knifeChop them in small batches, – about a quarter at a time to avoid them scattering around the kitchen.
- Break the eggs into a small mixing bowl. Add the vanilla essence and mix
- Weigh all the dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl. (Flour, baking powder, salt, sugar)
TO MAKE THE BISCOTTI:
- Stir the dry ingredients until they are thoroughly mixed. Add the cranberries and hazelnuts to the dry ingredients and stir to combine. Add the eggs to the mixture and mix thoroughly. Use a spoon and then your hands
- Divide the dough in two and roll each into a log shape 25cm long by about 5 cm high
- Cook for 30 minutes until light brown
- Remove from the oven and leave for 5 minutes to slightly hardenLeave the oven on
- Slide the biscotti loaf onto a chopping board and cut into 1 cm slicesMind your fingers - the loaf is hot
- Put the slices back on the baking sheet. Cook for 10 more minutes
- Turn the biscotti over and cook for a further 5 minutes until golden brown.You may need a few extra minutes, depending on size and especially if you like your biscotti very crunchy
- Turn the biscotti onto a wire cooling rack.