You learn a lot about people by their favourite foods. My mother, the extremely elegant and enduring woman that she is, loves biscotti or "cartucci" as the Italians call it.
My mother is my teacher, and my critic. Being a food blogger, and her daughter, I love and hate her advice, because I know she’s almost always right! She eats quality food, small portions, and often. If it’s not delicious she won’t eat it. So the aim is always to please my mother. If I can do that, I can please anyone!
Mum loves something sweet with a coffee - but not too sweet; something small but not too small; and something light and not too rich!
One Saturday morning I had a mission to create the ultimate coffee treat. I called on my inner Italian and made the king of all biscuits, biscotti. This was a risk, because failing an Italian dish is always extra disappointing for my Italian ego and me!
Alas it was a success, and I received much praise from my toughest critic, and greatest fan - my mother. In fact, she’s eaten two batches and requested more!
1 cup caster sugar
3 free range eggs (1 for egg wash)
2 cups plain flour (sifted)
2 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
1 tsp. pure almond extract (or 2 tbsp. almond liqueur)
1 tbsp. orange zest (optional)
2 cups whole almonds, skin on
1. Preheat the oven to 180˚C/350˚F. Line a large baking tray with baking paper
2. In a large bowl cream the butter and sugar with an electric beater. Add in 2 eggs, one at a time
3. Sift in the flour, baking powder, salt and add the almond extract and orange zest. Gently mix until combined. The dough will be sticky
4. Gently fold the almonds into the mixture
5. Divide the dough into 2 equal portions. Spoon each portion onto the lined baking tray, 2 inches apart.
6. Using a spatula, shape the batter into 2 long, 3-inch wide, flat rows of dough. This is a bit tricky seeing as the dough is very sticky, so do the best you can
7. Brush the rows of biscotti with the egg wash and place in the oven for 30 minutes or until golden
8. Remove from the oven. Let the biscotti rows cool for about 20 minutes. Place on a chopping board and using a large bread knife, slice into about 1 cm pieces.
9. Lay the biscotti flat on the baking tray and return to the oven for a further 10-15 minutes to dry out any moisture left in the biscotti. I like to leave mine in for 15 because I like them to be very crisp and golden