Warning! This is not a food HISTORY post!
I’ve had a couple of requests for my Macadamia and Orange Biscotti since mentioning them in response to a comment to yesterday’s blog story.
Here it is, followed by some of the variations (it works perfectly well using gluten-free flour too.)
60 gm soft butter
220 gm caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon finely grated orange rind
350 gm plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon bicarb soda
½ teaspoon salt
150 gm (more or less) of coarsely chopped roasted macadamias; I work on the principle of cramming as many in as possible.
a couple of extra tablespoons of sugar for topping.
Add the eggs, one at a time, beat until just combined.
Stir in the flour, baking powder and soda; when they are nearly mixed in, add the nuts.
The mixture is very sticky at this point, and it is easier to manage if you put in the fridge for a while (overnight works fine too, if you want to make it ahead).
Scrape the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, cut into two lumps, and knead each one very lightly until it is not so sticky. Pat these out into two logs – about 2.5 cm (an inch) thick, and long-ish or wide-ish depending on your fancy. Flatten them lightly so that they have an even, flat top.
Brush the tops with water (I just run my hand under the tap then over the top of the dough); sprinkle with the extra sugar (as thick or thin as you like).
Put them in a moderate oven for 35-40 minutes (ovens are so variable I hesitate to give you an exact time) – they should be golden and slightly firm but not hard. Transfer them to a cooling rack (I use two flat spatulas to lift them).
When they are cool enough to handle, slice them however thick or thin you want. I use a serrated bread knife, but an electric knife works well.
Put them in a moderately-slow oven until they are dry; turn them over at some point – they don’t need to be brittle, they will continue to crisp up a bit after you take them out of the oven and put them on a wire cooling rack.
This is an infinitely variable recipe. You can substitute some of the flour with ground almonds (about ⅓ - ½ a cup) for a slightly different texture. You can of course use any nuts (or choc chips) and other flavourings. Maple sugar and macadamia is divine, if you can get an affordable source of maple sugar. I am thinking perhaps Palm Sugar and Pine Nuts next?
My favourite is Chocolate Hazelnut: just substitute ½ cup of the flour with good quality cocoa, and use roasted hazelnuts instead of macadamias. In this case – even better if you substitute a couple of teaspoons of instant coffee (mix with a few drops of water) for the vanilla.