As soon as I walked into the room I was hit with the scent of mulled wine, cooking away on the hob and the sight of so many little Christmas delicacies like these -
It wasn't all kicking back and relaxing though. Maria soon had four of us at the benches making traditional biscotti. Whenever I've made biscotti in the past they always came out small and dense. Maria showed me that the dough needs to be looser and sticky, this will spread better on the tray to give the traditional wide looking biscuits. I'll be honest, it was only the thought of Sion waiting patiently at home, that stopped me eating all my little biscuits on the train home!
It was these biscotti that I decided to bake once my cold had subsided enough this week. The basic "Cantuccini" recipe was kindly given to us by Maria although I used roughly chopped orange flavoured chocolate brazil nuts for that festive flavour, you can add whatever fruit, nuts & chocolate you like. Note - I'm not sure of the difference between cantuccini & biscotti, I just know them as biscotti!
300g Plain Flour
1/2 tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
Pinch of salt
200g golden sugar
1 tsp orange zest (I used one large orange)
50g roughly chopped nuts
50g chopped chocolate
2 large eggs, beaten
Preheat your oven to 190C
Sift the flour, bicarb & salt into a large bowl. Carefully mix in the sugar, zest, nuts & chocolate.
Make a small well and add the two eggs. Using a fork gather the dry ingredients into the egg to make a soft dough that you can just handle. If it is too wet add a little more flour, if too dry add a little milk.
Shape into 3 long sausage shapes about 4cm wide and 1 cm thick and place onto a lined baking sheet with space around them to rise and spread. Brush with an egg wash and bake for 15 minutes until golden brown.
Take out of the oven and carefully transfer each log to a chopping board. Using a serrated knife cut each log diagonally into 1-2cm slices. Spread the biscuits out onto the baking tray and put back into the oven to "dry" for a further 10 minutes.
I decided to serve my biscotti alongside a grown ups ice-cream sundae, using my new ice cream sundae dishes from BuyCatering.com.
What made it grown up?
Limited Edition Haagen-Daz vanilla & Florentine ice cream, crumbled almond thin biscuits, chopped 70% dark chocolate & segments of satsumas...layer upon layer. All that was missing was a little shot of Cointreau to really set it off. Not to worry - I also brought a tub of Bailey's ice cream...and I know we've got a bottle of that. I'm pretty sure if alcohol is used in cooking it doesn't count against the "no mid week drinking" rule?!
A full timetable of Bake With Maria classes can be found on her website
I was kindly sent a complimentary set of sundae dishes, currently retailing on BUYCATERING.com for £19.95 + VAT
Linking up with
#TinselTuesday, hosted by Farmers Wife & Mummy