This week I decided to embark on a late-night mission to make biscotti, an Italian biscuit I have both never made before or never eaten before, so all in all I was a little surprised when the bake turned out to be a success. Success judged by how quick these disappear from under the baking cloche, which in this case was very quick with my boyfriend scoffing them for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Don’t be put off by the Italians fearful reputation as impeccable cooks as these biscuits are relatively easy to make- with most of the time being made up in the preparation of the fillings. Flavoured with finely chopped rosemary, white chocolate and dried apricots, these biscotti should be cram-packed fill of deliciousness, with the squidgy-ness of the chocolate chunks interwoven with the juicy apricots and the crunch biscuits making them a joy to eat. Traditionally biscotti are served with coffee, so that’s exactly what I did when they came out the oven at 10 o’clock at night. Obviously, afterwards I was haunted by my choice as I lay awake in a haze of sugar and caffeine- two of my main loves, after cats.
250g plain flour
250g caster sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
5 sprigs fresh rosemary
175g dried apricots
125g white chocolate
zest of 1 orange
- To start with I would recommend getting all the ingredients ready for the biscotti before you get your hands mucky making the biscuit dough. For the white chocolate into small chunks, ideally less than 1cm x 1cm but I know this can be tricky. The smaller the chocolate the less likely you are to get unmanageable biscotti after the first bake, but then again a good chunk of chocolate is always great. Pick the individual rosemary leaves of the slightly tougher sprigs and chop finely- I used scissors for this job as it can be quite hard to pin the rosemary down with a knife. Finally chop the dried apricots into small slivers.
- Preheat the oven to 140•C and line a sheet of baking parchment.
- To make the biscuit dough measure out 250g of plain flour, along with the baking powder and stir through. Cube the butter then rub it into the flour with the tips of your fingers to create a light breadcrumb mix. Butter isn’t always added to biscotti, but it just makes the biscuit a little creamier- so you can leave out if you want.
- Next mix in 250g of caster sugar.
- Beat 3 eggs in a separate jug and add to the dry mixture a bit at a time, bringing the dough together. The dough should be smooth, but not sticky. It may need a slightly knead to bring it together but you don’t need to knead it longer than necessary.
- Tip out onto a floured surface and flatted the dough out. Sprinkle the rosemary, white chocolate and apricots over the surface then roll the dough up and knead through until the ingredients are evenly distributed.
- Flatten out again until about 5cm thick. Cut the dough in half and shape into 2 logs, roughly 4cm in width and as long as you can make them.
- Place on a baking tray and bake for 30 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and leave to cool for 15 minutes until the dough has firmed slightly. Cut into slices with a sharp serrated knife, slicing the dough diagonally.
- Lie each slice open filling side up on the baking tray. Bake for a further 20-30 minutes, being careful to turn halfway through so they cook evenly. Remove when the biscuits are dry and brittle- i.e. no longer squishy
- Serve dipped into coffee.