Thursday, 18 November 2010

Crunch crunch

Winter is definitely here and although I hate the cold, especially the ice and the unfortunate doggy paddle inspired dance I do when trying to stay on my feet, there are aspects of winter that I love, especially when it comes to food and drink.

As odd as this sounds, I love arriving home to an empty, cold flat. I'm sure you're questioning my reasoning here, but I have an ulterior motive; heating on, candles lit, a boiling hot cup of coffee, and of course, no cup of coffee is complete without some biscotti. Although these amazingly crunchy biscuits can literally be suicide for your teeth, there is nothing better to dunk in coffee. Their robust texture allows them to be dunked in your hot beverage for much longer than other biscuits, whilst avoiding that annoying 'half my biscuit has fallen in my coffee' moment.

They are really easy to make as your about to see. This time I made almond biscotti, but once you know the recipe, the options are endless! Keep your eyes peeled for the cranberry and hazelnut biscotti recipe, which I will be uploading here soon. In the mean time, here's my recipe for almond biscotti. This mixture makes 20-25 biscuits.

Almond biscotti

200g of flour, plus extra for dusting

200g of caster sugar, plus extra for sprinkling

200g of blanched almonds

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp ground cinnamon

2 tsp vanilla extract

2 eggs, beaten

1. Preheat the oven to 180° and line two baking trays with grease proof paper.

2. Chop the almonds, leaving some whole. Mix the flour, sugar, baking powder and cinnamon. Now add the almonds and stir.

3. To your beaten eggs, add the vanilla extract. This can now be added to the flour mixture. Mix the ingredients together to form a firm dough.

4. Lightly flour your work surface, so that you can knead the dough lightly without it sticking. Divide the dough in two, and shape each piece into a long thick log, roughly 4-5cm wide. Now transfer the dough to the baking sheets, and sprinkle each log with 1 teaspoon of sugar, and bake in the oven for 20-25mins. You will know they are ready when they are brown and firm.

5. Remove from the oven and leave to cool for a few minutes, before transferring to a chopping board to cut. Reduce the oven temperature to 160°, and cut the log into 1cm thick slices. Place the biscuits cut-side down back onto the baking trays. Bake in the oven for a further 15-20 minutes, or until dry and crisp. Allow to cool on a wire rack before munching.

Happy biscotti making! If anyone has any other biscotti combinations, I would love to hear them.

Monday, 8 November 2010

Get it whilst it's hot

You know it's going to be a good day when your morning bagel turns out to be heart shaped in the middle. However, this was not my knife skills at work, but rather I feel the work of a baker who was perhaps feeling a little romantic. This is how my mind works, I manage quite successfully to turn everything into a story. But after my many musings, each one more elaborate than the next, the fate of the bagel had been decided, and after being layered with peanut butter, the love heart had been consumed in a far less romantic fashion. And that's when the realism kicked in. This was not the endeavour of a loved up baker, but merely my ability to see heart shapes in various foods/inanimate objects, which seems to happen on a daily basis. Welcome to my world!