There are few pleasures greater in life than getting a lovely crunchy biscuit on the side of your coffee (ok, there may be a few greater pleasures!). We commonly call them biscotti, but they are also known as cantuccini. I believe that the latter means coffee bread while the former refers to biscuits that would have traditionally been baked twice.
I know that some people don’t enjoy this type of biscuit, citing it as too hard, but I think that dipped in coffee, the nuts and crunch are really delicious. I chose chopped hazelnuts and walnuts for this recipe because I like to have little bits of nut distributed throughout the biscuit, as well as the lovely whole chunks of walnut.
Biscotti/Cantuccini are naturally lactose free as they don’t contain any fat. Wherever possible if I need to cook without a certain ingredient, I like to find recipes that wouldn’t have contained them anyway. It makes life simpler and also means that your recipe is far more likely to work out.
– 3 large eggs
– 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
– zest of 1 whole orange (about 2 tablespoons) or 1 teaspoon orange flavouring
– 260 grams of plain flour
– 150 grams sugar
– 2 teaspoons baking powder
– 1 teaspoon cinnamon
– 1/4 teaspoon salt
– 75 grams whole walnuts, roughly chopped
– 50 grams finely chopped hazelnuts (toasted or untoasted)
1. Preheat oven to 160 degrees celcius.
2. Mix the eggs, vanilla essence and orange zest in a small bowl.
3. Mix the dry ingredients and the nuts in a large bowl.
4. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry. The dough will be quite sticky. I used a mixer but this can easily be done by hand.
5. Using a floured surface and floured hands, shape the biscotti into two log shapes.
6. Place on a floured baking tray and bake for about forty five minutes. This is the first of two trips to the oven.
Let the logs cool on an oven rack for about ten minutes to make them easier to slice. I floured my baking tin but baking parchment would probably be a better idea.
7. Use a serrated knife to cut the logs diagonally into ½ inch to one inch thick slices. When slicing them, use a sawing motion with the serrated knife.
8. Lay the sliced biscuits on the baking tray and bake again for 20 to 30 minutes. I like mine to be golden around the edges without being too dried out, so I left mine in for about twenty minutes. Transfer onto a cooling rack to cool completely.
9. Stored in an airtight container, these will keep for several weeks. This amount makes between 24 and 35 biscuits.
I have baked for as long as I can remember. I grew up on an organic farm in County Wicklow and Maura Laverty’s ‘Full and Plenty’ was my guide in developing the basic skills and knowledge around food. It was this manual and my surroundings that nurtured an interest in local foods and a desire to use familiar ingredients in a creative way.
I work as an Occupational Therapist in the Mental Health services and have always valued the relaxation and pleasure that baking can bring. Since competing in the Great Irish Bake Off 2013, I have had new opportunities to bake for a café and write my blog, The Search for Delicious. Baking is still an important part of my personal life, but since doing the show I have a great opportunity to share my recipes and food with people outside my circle of friends and family. I hope to develop recipes that are familiar but different, comfortable but still exciting, and am always delighted when someone tries one of my recipes!