Orange-Ginger Biscotti

Orange Ginger Biscotti

This is the biscotti that I love the most and I post it here especially for my friends, Angelina and Carolyn.

I think they love it almost as much as I do.

Orange Ginger Biscotti

Orange Ginger Biscotti

I’ve mentioned before that I am a ginger fiend and this contains tiny little specks of absolute deliciousness in the form of some of Buderim’s best.

But more on that later.

I discovered this recipe on www.foodfit.com, according to the printout I have in my Biscotti file.

My Biscotti file- interesting looking, it is not.

My Biscotti file.

The thing is though…it doesn’t seem to be there any more. It’s disappeared sometime in the last 8 years or so.

Too spooky for me, as The Boy would say.

Never mind, I’m about to pop it up here for all of you wonderful people to enjoy and especially for Angelina and Carolyn. 🙂

This biscotti recipe uses crystallised ginger cut into tiny little pieces. I prefer to use Buderim’s Naked Ginger, which is the same sort of thing but without the traditional coating of sugar.

Buderim Crystallised ginger

Buderim Crystallised ginger

I find it not only reduces the sweetness a little (of course) but also makes it much easier to cut up! I don’t end up with sugar clinging to my fingers and my knife/scissor blade and sticking to everything…

Sugar, sugar everywhere...

Sugar, sugar everywhere…

It’s just nicer. I also like to use a few pieces of this particular product snipped up (using kitchen shears) into my breakfast yoghurt or porridge. However, for this post, I used the regular stuff for those of you who don’t have access to Buderim’s products. (I’m so sorry for you all!)

But back to the biscotti.

It’s relatively easy to make. The flour, sugar, ginger and white pepper are all sifted together.

The original recipe called for black pepper, but I think white pepper is better, aesthetically-speaking.

The biscotti nibbler isn’t distracted from the jewel-like flecks of ginger in their biscuit by little black specks…

Hmmm, is it just me?

Sift together your flour and spices.

Sift together your flour and spices.

Stir them up a bit. Then add the orange zest and finely chopped ginger.

Add the zest and the finely chopped ginger.

Add the zest and the finely chopped ginger.

Stir it up a bit more. Then, in a small bowl, whisk together 3 large eggs and 4 tablespoons of the oranges’ juice.

Make a well in your flour and add the liquid to the dry.

Add your egg mix to your flour mix...

Add your egg mix to your flour mix…

Mix well, until it forms a stiff dough.

I have to admit that I have NEVER made a stiff dough with this recipe. Ever.

It usually looks like this:

This is a dough that is somewhat less than stiff...

This is a dough that is somewhat less than stiff…

According to the recipe, I should then put the batter on a lightly sugared surface and divide and roll it into 4 pieces.

Nothing is ever not going to happen like that isn’t. It doesn’t need the extra sugar, for a start.

I simply line a baking tray with silicon paper and then scoop the batter out onto it in two roughly straight bits. Like this:

Let's just say we rolled them in sugar and stuff, okay?

Let’s just say we rolled them in sugar and stuff, okay?

No-one has ever complained that my biscotti are not geometrically perfect. They know better than to speak with their mouths full.

It is then baked in a moderately hot oven for 15 mins, during which the ‘logs’ double in width (and the scraggy edges kind of smooth out). When they are firm to the touch, they get taken out and cooled on racks for about 15 mins.

See? They look okay, don't they?

See? They look okay, don’t they?

During the cooling period the oven is also turned down a tad.

When your logs are cool to the touch, that is the time to wield your serrated knife. With gusto.

The importance of the serrated knife is explained here.

Slice (saw) your biscotti into slices about 1 cm or ½ an inch thick. Traditionally this is done on a slant, you don’t have to follow tradition. If you’d prefer straight and not diagonal slices, then go for it.

Slice your biscotti.

Slice your biscotti.

Your biscotti will seem somewhat cake-like, be gentle with them.

They are now placed back onto the baking trays and popped back into the oven for another 10 mins, until golden brown. If they aren’t getting to be crisp, then turn them over and pop them back in for another 5-10 mins.

Ready for the second baking.

Ready for the second baking.

When they are getting to golden, take them out. Remember they will continue to harden after they are taken out of the oven.

Place back on the cake racks and cool completely. Then dunk them in something worthy of them.

Prepare to munch.

Prepare to munch.

I’m going to reproduce the recipe as it is in my biscotti file, but if you don’t have a firm dough and don’t want to make play-do type sugar-coated sausages with it, then see above.

Orange-Ginger Biscotti

  • Servings: 40
  • Difficulty: medium
  • Print

Orange-Ginger Biscotti

2½ cups plain flour

1 cup sugar

½ tsp baking powder

½ tsp baking soda (bi carb)

1 tsp ground ginger

¼ tsp freshly ground pepper (black or white, your choice)

pinch salt

3 fresh oranges (zest and juice)

3 large eggs

¾ cup finely chopped candied ginger

Method

Heat the oven to 180°C/350ºF.

Line two large baking sheets with parchment or baking paper. (Don’t skip this, it will get messy.)

In a large mixing bowl, sift together flour, sugar, salt, soda, ground ginger and pepper.

Add 1 tablespoon of orange zest to the bowl along with the finely chopped candied ginger. Mix.

Squeeze your oranges and strain and reserve 4 tablespoons of the juice.

In a smaller bowl, whisk the juice and eggs together.

Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and stir until a stiff dough forms.

Scrape dough onto a lightly sugared work surface and divide it into 4 pieces. Roll each piece with the palm of your hands into a log slightly shorter than your baking sheet.

Place two logs on each baking sheet, several inches apart. The logs will double in width during baking.

Bake for 15 mins, or until the logs feel set or firm to the touch.

Place the baking sheet on a cake rack and allow to cool.

Reset your oven to 150ºC/300ºF.

When your logs are cool to the touch, place them on a cutting board. Using a serrated knife, slice them into 1cm/½ inch wide diagonal slices.

Lay the biscotti out onto papered baking trays in a single layer and bake for a further 10-15 mins, until they are dry and lightly toasted.

Place on racks to cool completely.

Store in an airtight container at room temperature. Will keep at least 2 weeks.

 

Christmas biscotti platter

Christmas is the time of year I start baking hard, thick, crunchy, chunky, seemingly inedible biscuits and giving large amounts of them to my friends.

No. I’m not mad.

Christmas biscotti platter

Christmas biscotti platter

Biscotti is an Italian word that shows the origin of the English word ‘biscuit.’ Basically it means cooked twice, like rusks or zwieback (also meaning cooked twice), which is why the American use of the word continues to confuse me…

Moving on from etymology, these things are wonderful. Really truly.

They started out in the dim, dark pages of history as a way of making food travel-proof. Dry out your bread and it won’t go mouldy. Simple. Think, ships’ biscuits and Horatio Hornblower. Which means you can make them now and happily eat them in a month’s time.

Biscotti came into my life about 8 years ago and, from then on, I just wanted to share the joy.

A thick, sticky dough is mixed, shaped into logs, baked in a moderately hot oven for a bit, allowed to cool, cut into thick slices (about ½ an inch thick), baked in a slightly cooler oven for a second time until thoroughly dried out and then kept in an air-tight container until dunked into a warm beverage – usually coffee, but tea and hot chocolate rock too – and then delighted in tremendously.

first baking...

first baking…

Italian friends tell me that they also work well dipped in a glass of vin santo …

They usually contain nuts, like whole blanched almonds, hazelnuts or pistachios, dried fruit, like cranberries and, sometimes, coconut. They are also quite low in fat as most recipes contain neither butter nor oil. They do contain lots of flour and quite a bit of sugar though, so don’t go thinking of them as anything resembling a health food.

That said, a biscotto is not something you would inhale in the way you might a sweet biscuit or cookie, so you are less likely to start scoffing them down in large quantities. One will usually be sufficient.

There are endless variations. It all depends on your imagination and your knife.

To make biscotti you need a good, serrated knife.

Now, that's a knife...

Now, that’s a knife…

If you don’t have one, then tears will be the inevitable outcome. I speak from experience.

You are baking something so that it will be crunchy; if you then try slicing that it will simply disintegrate into (delicious) crumbs under your blade. That is bad.

A serrated knife is the only thing that will save your biscuits and your sanity.

Slicing biscotti

Slicing biscotti

Get one. That is all.

Once your biscotti are thoroughly baked and cooled, they will keep for Aeons in an airtight container.

Really!

Well, quite a number of weeks anyway.

Which is why they make such great Christmas gifts.

I figure that most of the people I know already have all the ‘stuff’ they could possibly need and don’t really need to find the space for yet another knick knack they don’t really like. Probably they will be overloaded with sweet biscuits/cookies, cakes and chocolates as well.

Managing mass biscotti baking like this on a budget can be quite doable. The flour and sugar is something that I already have in store, but I buy a bit extra. Then, in the months leading up to baking, I add one packet of special ingredients to my shopping each fortnight. A packet of blanched almonds one week, a packet of crystallised ginger the next shopping week and so forth. Then, in the week before I start to bake, I buy 2 dozen eggs and I’m set to go.

Second baking

Second baking

I make a different batch (recipe) of biscotti for each person on my Christmas run. So, if I’m wanting to give them to 5 different people, I make 5 different types of biscotti. Then I divvy them up, wrap in cellophane and deliver on Christmas Eve or roundabouts.

Because they store so well, I can easily make a different batch each day for a week instead of having one huge baking day. They all go into a large Tupperware Cake Taker until it’s time for them to leave the premises.

Big box of bikkies

Big box of bikkies

They are easy to mix and shape, but take a lot of time to bake. If you are suffering through one of the sweltering hot versions of the Australian Christmas Season, then do this late at night with all the doors and windows open.

I’ve recently moved away from my friends and can’t give them biscotti this year, so I shall share some of the recipes with them on here instead. 😥

There will be quite a few biscotti posts to come….

Biscotti recipes on Budget Bounty:
Caraway and Lemon Biscotti
Coconut Almond Biscotti
Orange Ginger Biscotti