Monday, 10 September 2012

GBBO Biscotti

So having decided that Sunday was a baking day, my dismal attempt at apple scones didn’t put me off and I decided to delve into my new GBBO Showstopper book and have a go at something a bit different. I’ve been making lots of cakes recently so decided to have a go at the Sour Cherry Biscotti. I’m a big fan of biscotti and tend to make it at Christmas as presents, as it lasts really well.
So, it all started well and my KitchenAid had beaten the butter, sugar and eggs into a lovely light mousse-like froth. I merrily sieved in the flour, salt and baking powder and turned to check the recipe, only to realise that I had chucked in s-r flour rather plain flour – aaaaargh! Having no idea what the impact of this would be - not wanting to use up my white chocolate, almonds and sour cherries but also not wanting to waste all of the ingredients already in the mix - I decided to substitute the key ingredients and see what happened. A delve into the depths of the larder delivered some dark chocolate, raisins and pistachios. I threw these in, divided the dough in two, stuck it on two baking trays and popped it in the oven: hoping that it didn’t decide to grow out of control and splurge out the sides of the oven!

Timer on the oven set, Batch Number Two – this time with plain flour – was started, with the delicious additions (as per recipe) of white chocolate, almonds and sour cherries. After lots of anxious glances through the oven window, Batch One came out of the oven – and looked surprisingly normal! After cooling, slicing and baking again, Batch One were complete and looking surprisingly good!

Dark chocolate, raisin and pistachio biscotti
Dark chocolate, raisin and pistachio biscotti

45 minutes later, Batch Two (white chocolate, almond and sour cherry) were complete and looked very similar to the not-so-disastrous Batch One!

White chocolate, sour cherry and almond biscotti
White chocolate, sour cherry and almond biscotti

Overall verdict? Both batches were delicious and went down a storm with my colleagues and with EHH’s colleagues. They were lovely and crisp when they came out of the oven but weren’t quite as crisp this morning – perhaps I didn’t bake them for long enough? Not sure they would have held up to much of a dunking!    

Dark chocolate, raisin and pistachio biscotti


  1. 115g butter, softened
  2. 125g golden caster sugar
  3. 1 tsp vanilla extract
  4. 2 large eggs, at room temp, beaten
  5. 275g flour
  6. Pinch of salt
  7. ½ tsp baking powder
  8. 100g raisins
  9. 100g good quality dark chocolate, roughly chopped
  10. 100g pistachios

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C / 350F / gas 4.
  2. Beat the butter, sugar and vanilla extract until light in colour and fluffy.
  3. Gradually beat in eggs, beating well after each addition.
  4. Sift the flour, salt and baking powder into the bowl and mix in with a wooden spoon to make a soft dough.
  5. Add the raisins, chocolate and pistachios and work in until evenly combined.
  6. Add a little more flour to the dough if it is still very sticky.
  7. Dust hands with flour and then turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface.
  8. Divide dough into two pieces and roughly shape each into a long, wide sausage in your hands.
  9. Lift each piece onto a lined baking sheet (one piece per baking sheet) and pat each piece into a neat rectangle about 8cm x 25 cm.
  10. Bake for about 25 minutes until just firm to the touch and golden (turn after about 18 minutes if your oven bakes unevenly). Remove from the oven (leave the oven on) and allow to cool for 10 minutes.
  11. Slice each piece of baked dough (still on baking sheets) on the diagonal. Gently tip the fragile slices over so that they are cut-side down on the baking sheet.
  12. Bake for a further 10 minutes until starting to colour.
  13. Remove from the oven and set the baking sheets on a wire rack to cool and firm up before removing.
  14. Store in an air-tight tin and eat within two weeks. 

Try alternative flavours:
  • sour cherry, white chocolate and almond (as per the recipe in the GBBO Show stoppers book)
  • orange zest, dark chocolate, dried cranberries and hazelnuts – with mixed spice and cinnamon instead of the vanilla extract
  • lemon zest, dried blueberries, white chocolate and almonds

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