This past rainy weekend we were celebrating a big birthday (the one with the 6 and the 5) so I took it upon my self to bake for the occasion.
Baking for somebody who doesn’t like cakes that are too rich and too creamy can be a challenge, especially for someone like me who likes buttercream and frosting in decadent amounts. So I left the cake recipes in the drawer and instead reached for my favourite baking book: Tea with Bea. It is an amazing book, full of great recipes and good tips and pointers. It is simply, a must have for any bakers out there. I loved bea’s cafe when we lived in London from the moment I tried her italian raspberry merengue, sweet and tangy and not sticky, perfect for a sunny day treat.
Instead of peanut butter and peanuts I used pecans, and no peanut butter -I love the stuff but I know it can be controversial.
I made the biscotti to accompany the tea and coffee before the dinner.
Recipe goes like this:
Makes around 30
300g plain/all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
40g natural cocoa powder
100g light brown soft sugar
40g golden syrup
3 tbsp sunflower oil
2 medium eggs
2 tsp water (I added a couple more, the dough seemed a bit too dry)
1 tsp vanilla extract
80g / pecans
80g / 3 oz. high quality dark/semi sweet chocolate, chopped into pea-sized pieces
caster sugar for sprinkling
Baking sheet lined with parchment paper
Sift together the flour, baking powder salt and cocoa into a large mixing bowl. Add the sugar and mix until well combined. Set aside.
In a new mixing bowl, whisk together the golden syrup, oil, eggs, water and vanilla extract until well combined. Add the wet mixture to the flour mixture until just combined and no trace of flour remains.
Add the pecans and chocolate and mix until evenly distributed.
Bring the dough together in a ball, wrap in cling film/plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 145 C (290 C) Gas 3.
Lay a large sheet of parchment paper onto a clear work surface and sprinkle liberally with caster sugar. Transfer the dough to the sugar sprinkled surface and flatten roughly with your hands.
Place the log on the prepared baking sheet and bake it in the preheated oven for 25-40 minutes until the top is completely hardened, and when tapped, feels sturdy and not squishy inside. Remove from the oven and let cool for 30 minutes
Turn the oven temperature down to 135 C (265 F) Gas 2.
Slice the cooled log, diagonally, into 1-cm batons
Lay all the batons flat on the same baking sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes until nice and dry, turn all the biscotti over bake for another 10-15 on that side.
Remove from the oven and let cool on the baking sheet for 1 minute.
Transfer the biscotti to a wire rack and let cool completely.
Store in an airtight container.
The biscotti will keep for up to 1 month.
And just in case you were a bit shocked to see that there is no actual way to put candles on a biscotti and thinking it is not a suitable birthday cake substitute, let me say that I also made a bread and butter pudding with plenty of room to stick candles.