As I’ve spent the last month travelling in sunny little Singapore, I never had the opportunity to share anything remotely Christmassy or New Year’s related. Unless you’ve been keeping up with my Twitter, which I didn’t have much time to update either (whoops), you probably have no idea what I’ve been up to. I will endeavour to change this fact by slowly sharing little anecdotes and pictures over the next few blog posts. Rest assured that I had an amazing Christmas and a spectacular New Year’s Day.
Biscotti, or biscotti di Prato (Prato biscuits), are twice-baked oblong-shaped biscuits that originated from the Italian city of Prato. The name “biscotti” stems from the word biscoctus, a medieval Latin term meaning “twice-cooked/baked.”
Traditional biscotti requires little to no fat (butter, milk or oil) in the recipe. Instead, they rely purely on the use of eggs as a binder. It is the addition of eggs that bring about the snappy, dry quality in biscotti. This crisp hardness makes them good for dunking into your mug of hot chocolate or coffee as they won’t completely dissolve or lose their shape (something softer biscuits are guilty of).
To me, one can never get enough of good biscotti. The firm, sweet, audible crunch that comes with biting into one of those oblong fingers makes for an exciting treat. Before you know it, you’ve had four of them. Five. Six. They’re just a little bit addictive.
Traditionally, they’re made with a generous addition of nuts, almonds in particular. In recent times, pistachios and hazelnuts are often a substitute. Today, I bring you a white chocolate chip version, with cocoa powder and coffee mixed into the dough to bring out some striking mocha notes.
White Chocolate Chip Mocha Biscotti
2 2/3 cups self-raising flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups white chocolate chips
1 cup raw caster sugar
3 eggs, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons instant coffee granules
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond essence
- In a large bowl, combine flour, cocoa powder and white chocolate chips. Set aside.
- In a smaller bowl, beat eggs, sugar, coffee granules and extracts until well combined.
- Pour wet mixture into dry mixture and gently combine with a fork to get a wet dough.
- Chill dough for at least 2 hours.
- Preheat oven to 180°C and line a baking tray with non-stick baking paper.
- Using well-floured or well-greased hands (trust me, this dough is ridiculously sticky!), divide dough into 2 equal portions and shape each into a shaggy log about 25cm long. Place logs on baking tray and bake for 20 minutes, or until firm to the touch.
- Remove the logs (now quite flat) and let them cool for 10 minutes before using a sharp serrated knife to cut them into 1cm wide strips.
- Lay the strips back on the baking tray, cut side down, and return them to the oven to bake for another 10 minutes.
- Turn the heat off and leave the biscotti to cool in the oven with the door partially ajar. Take them out after about 20 minutes or so.
For the biscotti to retain their hard crispiness, store them in an airtight container once completely cool. They’re wonderful dipped in coffee or eaten plain as a sweet snack. One thing’s for sure: you won’t be stopping at just one.