Sunday, 26 August 2012
I can remember back in the late 1980's my ex and I went to Toronto one weekend to stay at my ex sister in laws apartment. She lived in a fabulous place downtown on Young Street. It was a wonderful apartment and I believe that Lloyd Robertson lived in the same apartment. (A famous Canadian Newscaster of the day.) There was a gym and a spa in the building . . . but most special of all, there was a fabulous coffee shop downstairs on the ground floor.
That was back in the day when I drank coffee. I remember how wonderful this all seemed to me . . . a coffee shop on the ground floor. When you walked into it your nose filled with the most delicious scents . . . fresh ground coffee . . . freshly baked cakes and rolls . . . it was all pretty special and eye opening to this little country gal.
I remember seeing a jar on the countertop that was filled with these fabulous looking biscuits called Biscotti. Oh how exotic they sounded. They were really expensive . . . but we ended up buying one for me to try. It was lovely . . . crunchy and almondy with just the merest hint of citrus . . . orange I believe . . . it was love at first bite.
I have loved biscotti ever since. That was also the first time I ever had a cappuccino as well . . . oh what a sheltered life I had led up to that point!!
I baked some fabulous biscotti this afternoon . . . just for a treat. These are wonderful . . . flavoured with vanilla and cardamom . . .
. . . and stogged full of dried blueberries, white chocolate, and chopped toasted hazelnuts. Very scrumptious indeed! They're crisp and crunchy, but not dry. In short . . . they're perfect.
And not so hard to make as you would think. Trust me on this. If I can make them . . . anyone can. Tis true . . .
*Blueberry & Hazelnut Biscotti*
Crisp and moreishly filled with lovely dried blueberries and sweet lumps of white chocolate. Lightly spiced with ground cardamom, these go down a real treat.
115g of unsalted butter, softened (1/2 cup)
125g of golden caster sugar (2/3 cup, superfine sugar)
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 large free range eggs, at room temperature and lightly beaten
275g of plain flour (2 3/4 cup)
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 tsp baking powder
100g of dried blueberries (2/3 cup)
100g of finely chopped chopped Hazelnuts (a generous half cup)
100g of white chocolate chips (generous half cup)
Preheat the oven to 180*C/350*F/ gas mark 4. Line two large baking sheets with baking parchment. Set aside.
Beat the softened butter, and sugar together with an electric whisk until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, beating them in a little bit at a time, so that the mixture doesn't curdle. Stir in the vanilla. Sift together the flour, salt, baking powder and ground cardamom. Stir this into the creamed mixture using a wooden spoon. Stir in the dried berries, toasted nuts and white chocolate chips. Work in evenly.
Tip the mixture out onto a lightly floured board, Dust your hands with flour. Divide the dough in half and then shape each half into a rectangle. Transfer one half to one each of the baking sheets. Using your hands, lightly pat each out to a rectangle about 4 inches by 110 inches in size, squaring off the edges.
Bake for 25 minutes in the heated oven, rotating the pans halfway through the baking time. REmove from the oven and let stand for 10 minutes, before using a very sharp knife to cut each log crosswise into 12 equal slices, each about 1/2 inch thick. Gently tip the slices over so that they are resting on the cut edges, and leaving some space between each. You may need to carefully slide some slices around to the edges of the pan. Return to the oven and cook for a further 10 minutes, until just beginning to colour. Remove the pans to wire racks and allow the biscotti to cool completely on the pans. Once they have cooled they will be less fragile and can be stored in an airtight container.