Thursday, 20 August 2015

Gingerbread Biscotti for a Great British Bake Off get together

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. 


GINGERBREAD BISCOTTI

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
200g Hazelnuts
100g Sultanas

To Decorate
250g Royal Icing Sugar
50ml water
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





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30 comments :

  1. I've had various failed attempts at biscotti in the past. Never patient enough to let them cool before slicing! These look fab. Love all the GBBO frenzy this year - so much fun!

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    1. There's a small window of opportunity between the biscotti being too warm to slice and too cool. I find that a large very sharp knife works best.

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  2. Stunning! You know I've never tried making biscotti before? I ought to remedy this. These sound amazing!

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    1. I used to be scared of them but they are actually quite forgiving. I first made them after watching Paul Hollywood make them on his Bread TV series.

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  3. These look great! I bet homemade biscotti is SO much better than that nasty hard stuff you get in cafes and I love the gingerbread men!

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    1. The stuff you get in coffee shops always seems tooth breakingly hard!

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  4. What a beautiful looking biscotti! I'm sure Mary Berry would approve them ;-)

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    1. Thank you. I'm sure Paul would have something to say about them not all being perfectly equal in size!

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  5. they are SO beautiful! I've never made biscotti before but i'm so tempted after seeing yours...a great use of eggs for Simply Eggcellent, thank you x

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    1. They are actually surprisingly simple to make. My eggs were whoppers so I had to add a wee bit more flour so the dough wasn't too sticky.

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  6. They all look great, but I love the added GBBO bake dramas that came with them! Let's start a campaign to get Norman to follow you... Dafty.

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    1. I have regular dramas when it comes to baking. Cooking is much more my forte. No way I could be on GBBO.

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  7. Gorgeous biscotti! I love the decoration. Thank you for entering into Treat Petite!

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    1. Thanks for hosting. The wee gingerbread men sprinkles are indeed irresistible.

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  8. I love the flavour of your biscotti, gingerbread is perfect for them! Thanks for linking up with #PerfectingPatisserie.

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    1. I'm very impressed with myself for making something that can be described as patisserie!

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  9. These look so good! I love he idea of gingerbread biscotti & the addition of the little gingerbread men on top suits it perfectly. I am definitely going to be making these at Christmas & giving some away as gifts! Thanks for linking to my Chocolate, orange, almond & macadamia biscotti.

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    1. They are absolutely perfect to give as gifts and can be made well in advance. Love the sound of your recipe too. Macadamia nuts are the best!

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  10. I love the sound of everyone getting together to watch bakeoff and have a good chat. All of your bakes sound delicious. I've been meaning to try monkey bread for ages and haven't got around to it yet.

    Thanks for joining #FoodYearLinkup xx

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    1. It's such good fun watching with a group of likeminded bakers. Definitely give monkey bread a go, just make sure you leave it in the tin to cool.

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  11. Beautiful pictures and fab biscotti. I haven't made any for years and this post has inspired me to get on with it - even more than GBBO did. Thanks for linking up to one of my recipes :)

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    1. I must admit to not having made any in a year or so too but GBBO prompted me.

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  12. This looks so delicious, Claire! :-)

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    1. I can testify that they were! Even the slightly dodgy bread and banoffee.

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  13. They look wonderful. I've never made them before. I don't think they would look this good if I did Claire.

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    1. These are the very pinnacle of my pretty baking efforts. Mine doesn't get any better than this I'm afraid.

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  14. Oh my word - Gingerbread Man Sprinkles, how did I not know they existed until now?!?! Love these beautiful biscotti Claire, just lovely!

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    1. I'm actually a tiny bit obsessed with all things gingerbread man so these couldn't be more up my street.

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  15. I love how these look - the gingerbread man sprinkles are the cutest! I've never seen these before. I still haven't got around to trying biscotti - I opted to try to make arlette biscuits on biscuit week (I failed) so must give these a try. Thanks for linking up to #cookblogshare this week.

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    1. I swithered over attempting arlettes but chickened out, at least you tried! I think the gingerbread man sprinkles are most probably seasonal so I stock up on them at Christmas time.

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