For years I have looked at all the cookie baskets that people online make up for friends and family with envy. They must take so much time! But this year I decided to try and make some little boxes of goodies for my work colleagues and their families as they love treats!
Alongside gingerbread stars and some peppermint bark I wanted something a little more sophisticated so went for biscotti. These crispy little sticks are the perfect accompaniment to a warm coffee or mulled wine in the winter. I used a recipe from one of my favourite books, Gifts from the Kitchen, but substituted the dried figs and almonds they suggested for cranberries, pecans and hazelnuts, a much more Christmassy selection! You could easily substitute other fruits, nuts or chocolate to give a flavour combination you prefer.
Despite taking a little bit of baking time these were very easy to make and taste delicious. I finished mine off with a little edible glitter and some piped chocolate and they were ready to nestle in the boxes - i'm really looking forward to the leftovers!
Cranberry, Pecan and Hazelnut Biscotti
Makes about 24
50g unsalted butter, melted
225g plain flour, plus extra for rolling
150g caster sugar
pinch of salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
50g pecans (or other nuts/chocolate/fruit)
50g hazelnuts (or other nuts/chocolate/fruit)
150g dried cranberries (or raisins, dried figs or cherries)
Finely grated lemon zest from 1 lemon
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 tsp vanilla paste
1. Preheat oven to 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4.
2. Put the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, nuts, cranberries and lemon zest in a bowl and mix until well combined.
3. Beat the eggs, vanilla and melted butter together and then stir into the dry ingredients until throughly combined. It will form a ball of dough.
4. Divide the dough into two and roll into two 20cm long logs on a floured surface. Place on a lined baking sheet and bake for 35-40 minutes until golden and firm, turning once. Allow the biscotti to cool.
5. Once the biscotti is cool preheat the oven to 170C/325F/Gas mark 3.
6. Slice the logs diagonally into 1cm wide slices. You will need to use a sharp knife as they are quite brittle.
7. Arrange the slices on a lined baking sheet and bake for another 20 minutes until crisp, turning half way through.
8. Allow to cool then decorate with glitter or melted chocolate.
RECIPE: Adapted from Gifts from the Kitchen.