In order to help lift myself from my end of year funk, I decided to take another trip to Vanilla Island and bake afternoon tea for the afternoon tea swap bloggy gals. Like Fiona, I think it just doesn't feel like Christmas without a huge quanity of baking, and I find the process of cooking and baking quite absorbing and meditational; a great way to distract my mind from other things and allow myself to unwind.
One batch wasn't quite enough for all the gals (I suspect this may have had something to do with the stringent quality control process... yum!)- so I'll be repeating the exercise in the next few days as part of a last minute baking extravaganza, which is definitely set to cause some further vanilla stash depletion.
Dark Chocolate and Pistachio biscotti
(based on a recipe from "Coffee and Bites" by Susie Theodorou)
250g caster sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
250g Italian tippo 00 flour
1 teaspoon bicarb of soda
a pinch of salt
115g shelled raw pistachios
100g broken dark chocolate (eg Lindt 70%)
2 tablespoons milk (to glaze)
extra caster sugar (to sprinkle)
Preheat the oven to 150deg C (130deg C fan forced, 300deg F, Gas mark 2) and
line two baking sheets with greaseproof paper.
Beat the sugar, eggs and vanilla until a thick and creamy moose is formed
(about 4-5 minutes).
Sift in the flour, bicarb and salt into the mixture, and fold in. Mix in the
chocolate and pistachios as the dough comes together.
Turn the sticky dough out onto a floured surface and separate into four
sausages approximately 4cm thick and 20cm long.
Place them onto the baking sheets spaced well apart (the widen out to 10cm
or so when they're cooking) and brush the surface with milk and sprinkle
Bake the biscotti for 30-35 minutes until golden brown. Remove from the oven
and cool for about 15 minutes until still warm but cool enough to handle (if
it's too cold it's hard to do the next bit). Turn the oven down to 130deg C
(120deg C fan assisted, 250deg F, gas mark 1).
Gently slide the biscotti onto a cutting board and cut with a bread knife
and sawing action into thin slices (about 5mm). Place back onto the baking
sheets lying each biscotti on it's side. Bake for a further 20-25 minutes,
turning half way over through cooking (if you remember!), and cool.
Makes about 70. They keep fresh for as long as 2-3 months in an airtight container.
Serving suggestion: ideal with an after dinner coffee or liquer, although they're really crunchy so they're also lovely dunked in an afternoon latte
or tea to soften them up a bit.
PS: pleased to see there is one very clever monkey out there! details of the fun to be had with yarn and lubricant coming soon...