Having recently returned from a blissful week on the Isle of Mull and Iona, my attention has now turned to our next holiday booked only last week – to Italy. A week on the coast of Italy, south of Rome conjures up images of sunshine, blue sea, phenomenal coffee and plates of food that will be just too good to be true. For the time being however I’ll have to be content with attempting to create my own Italian experience within our kitchen until departure creeps a little closer.
Dating back to the 13th century biscotti is one of Italy’s best known breads, which matches very well dunked in coffee and doesn’t taste too bad with a glass of dessert wine either. Hard and crunchy because each individual slice is cooked twice, the great thing about biscotti is you can bend the rules and mix and match the ingredients you want to include in the dough. I’ve opted for almonds and glace cherries with some added vanilla essence.
Almond and Cherry Biscotti
250g plain flour
½ tbsp. baking powder
3 medium sized eggs
100g whole blanched almonds roughly chopped
100g glace cherries chopped
2 tsp. vanilla essence
The Baking Bit…
- Pre-heat the oven to 180C.
- In a large bowl mix the flour, Xylitol and baking powder together. Lightly beat the three eggs together and add them gently into your mixture. As you add the eggs be sure to keep mixing the dough with a wooden spoon until all of the beaten eggs are added.
- Then add in the cherries, almonds and vanilla essence and mix everything together.
- Using your hands roll the dough into a long sausage shape and then divide into three separate sausage shapes, placing them on one or two baking trays. Make sure there is plenty of space between each of them as they will expand. Lightly flatten the tops of them with your hand and bake for 30 minutes.
- After round one of the baking is complete, leave to cool for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to 140C and using a serrated knife cut the biscotti at an angle into ½cm slices and place them back on your baking tray and bake for a further 15 minutes.
- Turn each slice over and bake for another 15 minutes, until they are a lovely golden colour.
- They’ll keep really well in an airtight tin and are perfect for a mid-afternoon coffee break!