FYI: no real reason for the picture above, apart from the fact it is just TOO DAMN CUTE! Anyway, first up, Fruity Christmas Biscotti. This is such a good all rounder. Easy to make, it can be eaten for your own personal pleasure with a nice hot beverage, or you could choose to give it to family and friends as a stocking filler. As long as you don't burn the stuff, the fact you've made a gift for someone should definitely earn you some present-points for next year.
You Will Need:
-350g plain flour, plus extra for rolling
-2 tsp. baking powder
-2 tsp. mixed spice
-250g golden caster sugar
-3 eggs beaten
-coarsely grated zest of 1 orange
-85g dried cherries
-50g blanched almonds
-50g shelled pistachios
Before you begin, heat the oven to 180C/160 fan/gas mark 4 and line two baking trays with parchment paper. Put the flour, baking powder, spice and sugar in a large bowl and mix together. Stir in the beaten eggs and zest until the mixture starts to form clumps. At this point, use your hands to bring the rest of the dough together to the point where you can pretty much wipe the bowl clean. Add the fruit and nuts and continue using your hands to mix until they are evenly distributed throughout the dough.
Use some flour to spread lightly across a clean surface and turn the dough out onto it. Divide into 4 equal sections and use your hands to roll each section into roughly a 30cm long sausage shape .
Place two sausages on each tray, spread far apart and bake for 25-30mins until the dough has risen and is firm to touch. There should be no colour to the dough at this point. Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack until cool enough to handle. Prepare the oven for phase two of the baking by turning it down to 140C/120 fan/gas mark 1.
When cool enough, use a bread knife to cut into diagonal slices which are 1-2cm thick. Lay the slices flat on the baking trays and bake for 15 minutes. Turn the slices over and bake for another 15 minutes or until dry and golden. Turn onto a wire rack to cool. They can be stored in an airtight container for up to a month! However, if the smell of the baking biscotti is too hard to resist, then prepare to dig in.