Week three of Bake the Book brought me to these crunchy and moreish pecan coffee biscotti. I almost didn’t have any of these biscuits left to photograph as they were such a hit. I think that a little bit more coffee wouldn’t go astray in the recipe below. Recipe from Cookies, which I am slowly but surely cooking my way through to improve my baking skills.
210g plain flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
145g caster sugar
60g unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon natural vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon instant coffee granules
135g whole pecans
1/2 teaspoon caster sugar, extra
1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius. Line two baking trays with baking paper.
2. Place the sifted flour, baking powder, sugar and a pinch of salt in a food processor* and process for 1–2 seconds. Add the butter and mix until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the eggs and vanilla and process until the mixture is smooth.
3. Transfer the dough into a well-floured surface and knead in the coffee and pecans. Divide into two equal portions and, using lightly floured hands, shape each into a log about 20cm long. Place the logs on the baking trays and sprinkle with the extra sugar. Press the top of each log down gently to make an oval. Bake for about 35 minutes, or until golden. Remove and set aside to cool for about 20 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 170 degrees celsius.
4. Cut the logs into 1cm slices. Turn the baking paper over and spread the biscotti well apart on the tray so they don’t touch. Return to the oven and bake for a further 30 minutes, or until they just begin to colour. Allow to cool on the trays for a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
These biscotti will keep, stored in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks.
*I don’t own a food processor so used my hands for this part (use the same process as when making scones).
Oh, these jam thumbprints are just delicious! They are little, delicate and the jam just bursts in your mouth as the biscuit melts away. You should definitely make these. Recipe from Cookies, which I am slowly but surely cooking my way through to improve my baking skills.
250g unsalted butter, softened
140g icing sugar
1 egg yolk, lightly beaten
90g cream cheese, softened and cut into chunks
1 1/2 teaspoons natural vanilla extract
1 teaspoon finely grated vanilla zest*
340g plain flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
6 tablespoons of jam (I used a chunky rhubarb, raspberry and vanilla jam)
1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius and line three baking trays.
2. Cream the butter, sugar and the egg yolk in a bowl using electric beaters until pale and fluffy, then beat in the cream cheese, vanilla and lemon zest until smooth. Sift the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and 1/4 teaspoon salt into a large bowl and, using a wooden spoon, gradually stir in the butter mixture until a soft dough forms. Set aside for 5-10 minutes, or until the dough firms up.
3. Shape tablespoons of the dough into balls, place onto the prepared trays well apart and flatten slightly to make 4cm rounds. Make a small indent in the centre of each and spoon about a 1/4 teaspoon of jam into the cookies.
4. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until lightly golden. Allow to cool on the trays for a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
These cookies are best eaten on the same day but will keep, stored in an air-tight container for up to two days.
*I also added a squeeze of the lemon juice for the extra citrus flavour.
I’m not sure what’s happened to my baking skills, but over the last few months I can’t seem to get a recipe right. I forget the sugar, I don’t use the right amount of eggs, I leave it in the oven for too long (or maybe my oven is about to go?) and it just tastes like a burnt pile of flour.
I’m going to take these baking disasters as a sign to work on my skills. Almost six years ago, my wonderful friend Mahani purchased me this cookie book and while I’ve baked a couple of biscuits from it, I usually just oggle the pictures instead. I’m going to leap in and bake every recipe from this book over the next year (or so) in an attempt to become a baking success. Maybe there will even be a movie made about me and my attempts called Julie, Julia and Jessica?
I started off easy, with a recipe that I had already baked before with my success. I did okay. I think my chocolate chunks were a bit too big so they burnt a little bit in the oven. I also think my 90% Lindt dark chocolate was a bit over-kill, and mixing some milk chocolate into these would have made them slightly less bitter. I’ll still eat them, though!
Makes 36 (if you don’t eat the dough)
125g unsalted butter, softened
230g soft brown sugar
1 teaspoon natural vanilla extract
125g plain (all-purpose) flour
60g self-raising flour
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
40g unsweetened cocoa powder
45g desiccated coconut
130g natural fruit and nut muesli
250g chopped dark chocolate (I actually think a mix of milk and dark would be nicer)
1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Line two baking trays with baking paper.
2. Cream the butter, sugar and vanilla in a medium-sized bowl using electric beaters until pale and fluffy, then add the egg and beat until just combined. In a separate bowl, sift together both flours, the bicarbonate of soda and the cocoa powder. Add to the butter mixture with the coconut, muesli and chocolate. Stir with a wooden spoon until a soft dough forms.
3. Shape tablespoons of dough into balls, place on the prepared trays 5cm apart and flatten slightly. Bake for 12 minutes, or until crisp on the top and lightly golden. Allow to cool on the trays for a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat with the remaining dough.
These cookies will keep, stored in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.