Biscotti (sometimes known as cantucci) are Italian biscuits that originated in Tuscany. Usually flavoured with almonds, these biscuits are twice baked to give them a good crunch. This lends them very well to dipping and hence, they are often served alongside a Vin Santo (Italian dessert wine) or coffee. I love these with my afternoon espresso as much as I do dunked in a creamy hot chocolate. The almonds and pistachios give them a delightful nuttiness and I adore the added aroma of orange zest. They will keep for weeks in an air-tight container, too.
130g granulated white sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract (or almond extract)
1 tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
230g plain flour
Zest of 2 oranges
75g shelled pistachios, roughly chopped
75g almonds, roasted for 10 minutes in an oven preheated to 180°C and roughly chopped
Preheat oven to 180°C, fan setting, and line two baking trays with baking parchment.
Using a hand mixer, beat the sugar and eggs until pale, and fluffy (about 5 minutes). Add the vanilla extract.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and orange zest.
Add the flour mix to the egg mixture and beat until combined, then fold in the chopped pistachios and almonds.
Turn roughly half the dough out onto a well-floured surface and roll into a log shape, about 20cm long and 8cm wide. The dough will be sticky but persevere, making sure your hands are floured also. Place the dough onto a baking sheet and repeat with the remaining dough. Bake for about 25 minutes or until firm and crisp. Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack for about 10 minutes.
Reduce the oven temperature to 160°C. Transfer the logs to a cutting board and chop into roughly 2cm slices, on the diagonal. Place the biscotti, cut side down, on the baking sheet. Bake for about 8 to 10 minutes, turn the slices over, and bake for another 8 to 10 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool. Keep them in an air-tight container and enjoy with coffee, hot chocolate or just as they are.