Baking · Biscuits

Apricot, Almond and White Chocolate Biscotti Jenga

For those of you who have been watching the Great British Bake Off, you may remember the Millionaires shortbread Jenga puzzle created by Frances. Well, I had to get in on that! Also, jenga-stacking biscotti is far more difficult – I think I need some practice to make mine as neat as hers! Here is the result then – Jenga biscotti flavoured with apricots, almonds and white chocolate.

Apricot, Almond and White Chocolate Biscotti

All of us have a favourite combination, one that we will return to time after time. Mine is the combination of apricots and almonds. My favourite treats used to be the apricot and almond crunchies from Thorntons (until they stopped making them – if anyone from Thorntons is reading this please bring them back!). Having both of the ingredients in my cupboard I knew therefore that part of my baking for his week would include this combination. I also wanted to try adding white chocolate to the mix, having seen many other recipes that have combined these ingredients (apparently) successfully.

However, whilst there are many different recipes around, none of them matched exactly to what I wanted. Layer cakes were out – when there are only two of you it becomes a little two much, and having made three different sets of cupcakes over the weeks, that idea was less popular as well (apparently you can have cupcake overkill – who knew?)

Apricot, Almond and White Chocolate Biscotti 2

Then it hit me. Biscotti. Perfect. They can be drunk with my tea, and be taken to work as a quick (albeit unhealthy) breakfast if needed. It was 7.36 in the evening, however Max wasn’t going to be home for a long time, so baking took over! This recipe creates a softer, more chewy biscotti, described by Max as being a cross between a scone and a shortbread, however if you wish it to be more traditionally crispy then by all means bake it for longer.

This recipe is taken from here

Apricot and Almond Biscotti

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter/margarine
  • 1-1/2 cups caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 squares white chocolate, melted
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1 tsp. almond extract
  • 3-1/4 cups flour
  • 2-1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 cup coarsely chopped toasted whole almonds
  • 3/4 cup coarsely chopped dried apricots
  • 1/2 cup chopped white chocolate

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Beat margarine and sugar in large bowl with mixer until light and fluffy.  Mix in eggs, chocolate, orange juice and almond extract. Add the flour, baking powder and salt and mix well. Stir in the almonds, white chocolate and dried apricots. Shape the dough into 2 logs and place on a baking tray. Bake for 30 minutes until golden brown. Remove fom the oven and leave to cool for 10 minutes before placing on a chopping board and cutting each log into 16 slices. Place these slices flat on a baking sheet and bake for another 20 minutes, turning halfway through.

Remove from the oven, leave to cool completely before enjoying with a large cup of coffee.

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Baking · Cookies

Cappuccino Biscotti with Chocolate Chips.

Rachel:

‘Look look look look look! My first paycheck. Look at the little window. There’s my name. Hi, me! Isn’t this exciting! I earned this. I wiped tables for it, I steamed milk for it, and it’s – not worth it. Who’s FICA? Why is he getting all my money?

[Friends, Series 1 episode  4]

Now regardless of the amount of money you earn, I’m sure we’ve all felt like this when looking at our paychecks – not complaining about the pay itself, but having the sudden realisation that being quoted a certain salary doesn’t mean you actually get all that money. In my case, I sat down to work out what would be taken off and due to some bad arithmetic on my part ended up panicking that I didn’t actually have enough money to live!

These biscuits are a good thing to make when times are feeling particularly hard, as the majority of the ingredients you will be likely to have in the house already, especially if you are a regular baker. They are very quick to make, and last a long time if stored correctly so will help you in those times when you need something sweet but the bank balance is saying ‘No’!

Coffee and Chocolate Biscotti

The recipe is taken from one of my funniest cookbooks ‘Cooking With “Friends”‘, a present from my dad who found it in the local charity shop. For those ‘Friends’ afficionado’s amongst us, it gives you recipes for Phoebe’s oatmeal and raisin cookies, Nora Bing’s Kung Phao Chicken and George Stephanopoulos’s pizza (I will be very happy if there are other people out there who get all these references!) This recipe for biscotti is taken from a section on Central Perk, and if they serve these, then I would also be there all the time!

Cappuccino Biscotti with Chocolate Chips

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 1/4 cup strong black coffee
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup whole almonds
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Add the flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt to a bowl and briefly mix. Stir the milk in the coffee before adding the vanilla extract and egg yolk. Mix well then add to the dry ingredients and stir to make a smooth dough (add a little more milk if necessary). Stir in the nuts and chocolate chips.

Line a baking sheet with paper. Roll half the mixture into a log, place on the baking sheet and repeat with the other half of the mixture. Bake for about 20 minutes until firm to the touch, but not completely cooked. Remove from the oven and reduce the temperature to 325°F. Cut the logs into slices 3/4in wide and place on their side on the baking sheet. Return to the oven and bake for another 10-15 minutes until crisp.

Stored in an airtight container, these will keep for at least a week.