Bake Off is back along with all the gossip, scandal, soggy bottoms and inuendo that goes with it. I've been a fan of the programme from the very start and its always exciting to see a new series come to air and get to know the contestants. Don't think I've got a favourite baker as yet. Still too many of them for me to remember who's who at the moment! During the last series a group of Aberdeen based fans of the show started meeting up on a weekly basis at each others houses to watch the programme and indulge in a cuppa, a bit of baking chat and lots of cake. Much fun was had and friendships formed. Then we did it all over again for Comic Relief (I made Rainbow Cakes and Stamped Biscuits). Series 6 has once more given us a valid excuse to get together on a Wednesday night for hilarity and cake. This week it was my turn to be the hostess with the mostess.
Week 2 had been biscuit week so I decided to tackle the signature bake of Biscotti. With week 3 being Bread I opted for Cheese & Chilli Monkey Bread and for my final bake I went for Series 4 contestant Beca Lyne-Pirkis Banoffee Bread. I drew Beca from the hat in the Pinnies & Petticoats GBBO Sweepstake and I've followed her on Twitter ever since (and she now follows me as does last years winner Nancy Birtwhistle!). When Beca tweeted her recipe for Banoffee Bread I just knew I had to try it. Banana combined with butterscotch pieces is pure genius. Why didn't I think of that?!
Alas after trying 3 supermarkets I couldn't track down the required butterscotch pieces so I substituted with chopped up fudge. Even as I was doing it I kinda knew that it wouldn't work as well. I was proved right when the fudge chunks on the top melted and left craters in the surface. I'd spotted the slices of banana on top of a banana bread on Pinterest and they worked really well. The reason that there's only a before picture is that the after didn't look nearly so good. After 45 minutes I reckoned my loaf still needed another couple of minutes. Made the schoolgirl error of not setting a timer. Ten minutes later... a somewhat overdone bake! Still tasted amazing and I tracked down some butterscotch pieces at the fourth supermarket so I'll be making it again very soon with correct ingredients and timer set.
Back to the Biscotti and I made a batch of a recipe that I developed two years ago for a piece on BBC Radio Scotland Kitchen Cafe. The subject was Edible Gifts for Christmas and over a period of three weeks pre-records of me making Candy Cane Bark, Christmas Pudding Vodka and Gingerbread Biscotti were broadcast. I reckon Gingerbread is for life not just for Christmas. Not sure Mr Hollywood would have agreed.
300g Plain Flour
1/2 Teaspoon Baking Powder
250g Golden Caster Sugar
2 Tablespoons Ginger
2 Teaspoons Cinnamon
1/2 a Nutmeg freshly ground
1 Tablespoon Treacle
3 Free Range Eggs
250g Royal Icing Sugar
Gingerbread Men Sprinkles
Preheat the oven to 150C
Sieve together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and sugar into a bowl.
Add the eggs and treacle to make a dough.
Mix through the sultanas and chopped Hazelnuts
Knead the mixture gently and divide into thirds.
Roll into a flattened sausage shape, place on a lined baking tray and bake for 25 minutes.
Cool slightly and cut into 1-2cm thick slices.
Lay the biscotti flat on the baking sheet and return to the oven and bake for another 10-15 minutes, turn over and continue to bake for another 10-15 minutes on the second side.
Allow to cool on a wire rack.
Dip or pipe one end of each biscotti in Icing and decorate with gingerbread man sprinkles
For my bread I opted to make Cheese & Chilli Monkey Bread. I'd previously made this for a cake club fromage feast where it went down a storm. I decided that it would be a good idea to be taking my bread out of the oven just as my guests arrived. Big Mistake. It was still far too warm to come out of the tin and started to disintegrate as I attempted to dislodge it with a knife. In retrospect I should have wafted it. Or tried not to be clever and just put it in the oven earlier. Thankfully I managed to hold my emotions together and resist throwing it in the bin.
Once it had cooled down I managed to slice the end that hadn't disintegrated and it tasted great. Perfect topped with a slice of cheese and some chilli jam. Recipe comes from The Great British Bake Off How To Bake book from series 2. Was really inspired by watching bread week and have dug out James Morton's (Series 3 Finalist - Fairisle Jumpers/Gingerbread Barn ) Brilliant Bread book and bookmarked some recipes to try. Final GGBO namedrop for this post. Check out what happened when Foodie Quine met Baking James. Now if only I could get Aberdeenshire Loon Norman to follow me on twitter my GBBO ambitions would be complete.
For further biscotti inspiration here are a selection of recipes from fellow food bloggers.
Orange Biscotti with Cardamom & Walnuts - Little Sunny Kitchen
Kale & Almond Biscotti - Veggie Deserts
Almond Biscotti with Chocolate Orange Drizzle - Emily's Recipes & Reviews
Biscotti - Utterly Scrummy Food for Families
Hazelnut Mocha Biscotti - Penne For Your Thoughts
Chocolate Orange Almond and Macadamia Nut Biscotti - Made With Pink
Chocolate, Hazelnut & Orange Biscotti - Tin & Thyme
Mango, Lime & Pistachio Biscotti - Baking Queen 74
Hazelnut & Sour Cherry Biscotti - Foodie Quine