Biscotti is one of those things I like to always have in the pantry, because it lasts for ages, unless you eat it, and it seems to impress people well out of proportion with how difficult it is to make. I adapted a Donna Hay recipe. I find her cookbook designs extremely irritating, but the recipes are great. Here’s what I do:
In a bowl, mix together 2 cups of flour, 1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder, 3/4 cup of caster sugar, 3 eggs and your flavouring. My family’s favourite is hazelnut and vanilla, so I’d add a cup of whole hazelnuts and 3 teaspoons of vanilla, because I make my own vanilla and it’s a bit weak. If you used bought vanilla, use 2 teaspoons. My personal favourite flavouring is 1/2 cup cranberries, 1/2 cup shelled pistachios and 1 teaspoon of vanilla, but nobody else likes those because they are ignorant Philistines.
The mixture will be a bit dry to start off with, but get in there with your hands and knead it together until you have a smooth dough, apart from the nuts. If you’ve used large eggs you may need a bit more flour, the dough should be quite stiff. Form the dough into two logs and place them on a lined baking tray. You can amuse yourself by making square or triangle cross section logs if you want to pretend you’re helping out at preschool. Bake at 160 degrees C for about thirty five minutes, or until they’re starting to go a bit golden.
After you take them out of the oven, let them cool completely. What I’d then strongly recommend is wrapping them in a tea towel, putting them somewhere that the ants can’t get them and leaving them overnight. Then you can cut them with a sharp knife, once again you can choose to amuse yourself by seeing how finely you can slice them, but I like them on the robust side. Arrange them on lined baking trays and bake at 160 degrees for about ten or fifteen minutes – until they’re just starting to colour. Cool completely, then stick them in Tupperware.
I like this recipe because it doesn’t require you to mess about with egg whites, which I avoid as much as I can. I’ve tried biscotti made with egg whites, and they are more delicate, the kind of thing you’d serve with coffee when the boss came around. But these are destined for the lunchbox, because apparently at high school you can bring nut products so long as you refrain from licking anyone with an allergy.