Friday, 25 September 2015

Chocolate, Almond and Orange Biscotti

Since I don't have anything interesting to share when it comes to food, I thought I'd pop in and say hello and share with you the books that I've read recently. The first is Elif Shafak's 'The Architect's Apprentice'. I have been wanting to read more of her work after she captivated me with her earlier book, 'Forty Rules of Love'. And the second book is the final instalment of Amitav Ghosh's 'Ibis' Trilogy, 'Flood of Fire'.

I am no one to critique these novels or these writers except to say I am just in awe of both of them. Their ability to write a story of fiction, breathe life into its characters and then build the plot to a crescendo whilst capturing the drama of human emotions that beats at its heart, is story telling at its finest.

Ghosh's book is richer and more complex but that's also because his canvas stretches across three books. And I also feel that his book is steeped in the culture of traditional Indian storytelling, with its myriad of sub plots whose paths intersect and intertwine through the book.

But, most of all these books remind me that the more I read, the more I realise how little I know. Both are books of fiction that are set in a factual, historical setting and one can only marvel at the sheer research undertaken by both authors to write these books. Shafak's novel has the Ottoman Empire as its backdrop while Ghosh's novel is set in the theatre of the Anglo-Chinese Opium War.

And I'll admit my knowledge of both is abysmal. In fact, my knowledge of history overall is patchy and wonder if it has anything to do with insipid history curriculum that we had in school. And it's a handicap because to the understand the issues of the present, one needs to view them through the periscope of past events.

Now, that's enough of a ramble about the books that I've read. Instead, let me tell you about these biscotti. I saw these on Pinterest and there was something about them being dipped in chocolate that made me want to bake them.

These are dry, crackly cocoa biscotti with a hint of orange and cinnamon that are given texture with almonds and pistachios that are then dipped in shiny, glossy dark chocolate so that nobody can find any fault with them. Biscotti are some of the easiest and least time consuming biscuits to make. I will say though that these biscotti taste better the next day when the flavours have been allowed to deepen.  

I am currently reading Tolstoy's 'Anna Karenina' and wondering why I haven't read it till now. I'd love to hear what you are reading, no matter what the genre is. Have a lovely weekend!! 

Chocolate, Almond and Orange Biscotti

Recipe source: Donna Hay

Makes approximately 20-25 biscotti
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour, sifted and extra for dusting
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder, sifted
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder, sifted
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon powder
  • 1/3 cup caster sugar
  • 1/2 cup natural almonds
  • 1/4 cup pistachios, shelled
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • grated rind of 1 orange
  • 200 gms chocolate, roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil

  • Preheat the oven to 160 degrees C. Grease and line a baking sheet and set aside.
  • In a bowl combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, cocoa, cinnamon, almonds and pistachios; stir well to mix.
  • In another bowl, whisk the eggs, orange zest and vanilla together, then use a rubber spatula to stir into the dry ingredients. Continue to stir until a stiff dough forms.
  • Turn out onto a well-floured surface and knead to combine. Shape into an 18cm log and place on the prepared baking tray lined.
  • First Baking: Bake the log for 25-30 minutes, or until they are slightly risen and firm to the touch. Slide the logs, parchment paper and all, off the baking sheet and onto a cooling rack. The logs must be completely cool before you can continue with the next step. Since they will take about 30 minutes to cool, you can either turn the oven off or leave it on for the next step.
  • Second Baking: When the log has completely cooled, preheat the oven to 160 deg C. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Working with a sharp serrated knife, cut the cooled log into 4mm thick slices. Place the sliced cookies cut side down on the pans and bake for 10-15 minutes, or until the cookies are crisp and golden. Allow to cool completely.
  • Place dark chocolate and vegetable oil in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, stirring occasionally, until melted and smooth.
  • Pour the chocolate mixture into a narrow glass to make dipping your biscotti easier. Dip the biscotti halfway into the chocolate and place on trays lined with non-stick baking paper.
  • Refrigerate for 15–20 minutes or until set. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.


    1. Looks delicious, Saevani! Count me in on anything with pistachios:)

      1. Thanks Bina!! Pistachios you say.. then you are the person to ask for some recipes with pistas...haven't really cooked with them that much!

    2. I love that book too, 'Anna Karenina' :) Did you see the movie? And those biscotti sounds perfect!

      1. Am loving the book Kankana.. haven't finished it though!! and yes, I have seen the movie but now that I'm reading the book, the movie did not capture the complexity and depth the way the book does and that is I guess expected.. .. ..the way Tolstoy develops his characters and also the depth with which he develops the socio-political milieu it has been set in..has me going to bed early so that I can read more every night... I guess that's the magic of books!! :)


    Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...