If you’re after a robust biscuit just made for dipping in your tea, biscotti is your guy. It’s one of the key players in my Christmas baking lineup and, this year, it was first… person to get the ball? Ok, my sporting analogies are terrible, unlike my Christmas biscotti!
You may have observed a bunch of different types of biscotti out there including the hard lumps offered as so-called freebies with your latte, the ultra thin and crispy version or one that’s hard with a bit of chew and just asking for a liquid to soak up.
The Christmas biscotti I make is the latter.
The base is a classic biscotti recipe that I’ve amalgamated from several into one then I’ve added pistachios, glacé cherries, coconut and gingerbread spices. As a bona fide Christmas nostalgic, I’m all for the festive triumvirate of red, green and gingerbread.
I’ve seen a lot of recipes that swap out my (undeservedly) maligned and decidedly retro glacé cherries for cranberries. Do this, if you must, but you will miss out on the delightful stained glass effect the cherries give when sliced.
The whole thing with biscotti is that you bake it twice. First you bake a log shape, then you slice that up and bake each piece again resulting in a uniquely textured cookie. This affords it the integrity not to go all spineless and fall apart when dunked. [Insert political analogy]
Beyond being ideal for dipping in your cuppa, they package beautifully as a Christmas gift. In some kind of Stepford wife move, I packaged up a jar of them for my husband’s desk so that when people came into his office… they’d immediately ask to see his wife’s blog. Smart.
Baking biscotti is a lovely way to ease into your December Christmas prep and add the smell of gingerbread to your kitchen with fractionally less effort than the real thing. You can start now because they last a couple of weeks in an airtight container – though I guarantee you will eat them beforehand. And do let me know if you try them out.
Gingerbread Christmas Biscotti
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup caster sugar
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 2 1/2 cups plain flour
- 1/2 cup desiccated coconut
- 1/2 teaspoon bi-carb soda
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon mixed spice
- 1/4 teaspoon cardamom
- About 3/4 cup pistachios
- About 1/2 cup glacé cherries
- Preheat your oven to 160 degrees. Line two trays with baking paper.
- Using a stand mixer, beat the eggs and the two types of sugar until pale and thick. This should take about ten minutes on a medium speed.
- Stir in the flour, coconut, bi-carb and spices. You’re aiming for a fairly thick, sticky dough. It’s a forgiving recipe so, if you’re finding the dough too sticky to work with simply add more flour, 1 tbsp at a time until you reach an appropriate texture.
- Mix in pistachios and glacé cherries.
- Shape the dough into two logs, one on each tray. As the dough won’t rise much, this is where you can decide on the shape of your finished biscotti. I like mine relatively flat and wide, like in the pics above.
- Bake for about 25 minutes. They won’t necessarily be baked right through but there is a second bake, so don’t worry.
- Allow to cool then use a sharp, serrated knife to cut each log into slices. Again, choose the thickness you would like. I used to cut mine with a proscuitto slicer but this recipe, being chewy and textured, doesn’t need to be that thin.
- Lay in one layer on the baking sheets, turn the oven down to 130 degrees and bake each tray for about 20 minutes, turning once in between.
- Place on a wire rack to cool and store in an airtight container… or Santa shaped cookie jar.