Monday, 16 December 2013

'tis the season!

We have been experiencing a heatwave in Perth, but it hasn't kept me out of the kitchen - mainly because we still have to eat and because I love all the baking that the festive season brings!
There are those people that we have in our lives who we appreciate but giving a gift can make them feel a bit awkward and like they have to give you something in return - my answer to that is giving them food. This year that has been in the form of chocolate shortbread and biscotti, packaged in a lovely little box, it's such a nice treat and people appreciate the effort (and hopefully the taste!).
As I write these words, I can smell my Christmas cake baking in the oven (I will share that recipe soon) and the lads are once again trying to tear apart our Christmas tree for sport, despite my many threats that Santa will not visit if they keep it up. Those threats are lost on the little lad and apparently we have talking tinsel that  just keeps calling his name. The big lad simply cashes in on the opportunity, but at least the thought of Santa not coming terrifies him... for five minutes at least.
Anyway the chocolate shortbread keeps them both happy and quiet, so I will share that next. But I've been having fun experimenting with different biscotti flavours and so far fig and almond seems to be a favourite. The base recipe is from the divine Donna Hay, who in my eyes is somewhat of a dessert queen, so anything sweet she shares immediately catches my eye.

Fig and almond biscotti

2 cups plain flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 cup raw caster sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
1 cup toasted blanched almonds
1 cup dried figs, roughly chopped 

Pre-heat oven to 160 degrees Celsius. Sift flour and baking powder into a bowl and add sugar, mixing to combine.
Add eggs, vanilla, figs and almonds and mix until a smooth dough forms. Add more flour if necessary. 
Place the dough on a floured suface and knead until smooth. 
Halve dough and roll into two logs, flattening slightly. Place them on a tray lined with baking paper and bake for 30-35 minutes or until cooked through. 
Well cool, cut the logs into thin slices using a bread knife and place the biscuits onto baking trays. Bake again for 10 minutes until golden and crisp. Cool on trays. 

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