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Biscotti and milk for Santa.

Only four more sleeps till Christmas, but I’ve been slacked and took me quite some time to finally get into the whole festive season spirit. The Pom and I have decided not to have a big celebration this year, there will be no expensive presents, there will be no big feast, instead we buy presents for the house and we will join our friends for an Orphan’s Xmas picnic over at Balls Head reserve just like last year.

I am actually yet to decide what I am going to bring to the picnic, but all I know it will be a savoury dish. Any suggestions? This year I’ve also decided to give friends pressies that are actually handmade by me, something a little bit personal and also edible. So, what else can be more special than home baked goodies? It is not much, but it is the thought that counts right? 🙂

Hopefully I will be able to put up the recipes of all the sweets and cookies I’ve been baking for the last few days. But first up, the Italian’s favourite –  biscotti.

Who’d have thought biscotti is so easy to make with minimal ingredients? Sugar, baking soda, egg and flour is all you need to make a firm dough, then the fun part begins by mixing with any fruits and nuts combination you can think of! I have decided to make three different types of biscotti using the ingredients I have left in the pantry, they are pistachio & almond, almond & apricot and pistachio with cranberry.

The first batch I made was a little too thick, hence the core of the biscuit is still a little moist after double baking. It is best to cut them thinner, no more than 1cm, that way it gets dried quicker which gives you a nice crunchy biscotti. It is very important to make sure the biscuit is completely dry, if you store the biscotti that is still soft, I guarantee you all the biscotti that have been kept in the same container will gone a little stale the next day.

Since there’s no preservatives in freshly baked goodies, usually they do go stale quite quickly after few days. But it can be easily fixed just by putting the biscotti back in the oven at 120C for 10 mins, it will crisp up again.

Italians love to have biscotti with a glass of Vin Santo, but I am happy to just dip them in a hot cup of coffee on a lazy Christmas morning.

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Pistachio and Almond Biscotti (yield 30-40 biscotti)

Ingredients
245 g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
150 g caster sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 cup of pistachio and almond (replace with ingredients of your choice)

Method
1. Preheat the oven to 180 C.

2. Mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder in a food mixer or by hand.

3. Add the eggs to the dry mixture one at a time, then the vanilla extract. Then fold in the nuts.

4. On a floured surface like kitchen bench, shape the dough into 2 elongated logs about 4 cm wide and place on a greased baking tray. Bake for 25 minutes.

5. Remove from the oven and set aside until it is cool enough to handle, slice it into biscuits about 1 cm thickness.

6. Return the biscuits to the oven for another 10-15 to dry them out and turn golden brown. Take it out, set aside and let it cool. If the biscotti is still a little soft in the centre, put them back in the oven at 130C for 10-15 minutes on each side.