• Best ever Christmas present

Usually my mum hates desserts.  She doesn’t even eat chocolate.  So when I caught her secretly stealing stashes of these biscuits, I knew the recipe was a keeper.

Ok, so it is awhile away, but I feel in the Christmas mood already.  I love Christmas, I love the time with family, I love the food, I love the festive mood.  Most years I cruise the shops struggling to find suitable presents and sometimes I even resent the commercialisation that has forced itself on the event.  So as Christmas is meant to be more about love, this year, I will be using love and time to make biscotti for everyone.

After finally receiving my copies of Baked and Delicious, that I won from I Eat Therefore I Am I was in an overly enthusiastic baking mood.  The recipes were simple – too simple, I would have been very excited by them when I was 7 years old – but this can still be a bonus when cooking in a hurry.

The recipe in the magazine asks for caster sugar, but I have found myself replacing this with raw sugar as it gives a toffee-like caramelisation.  I also tried it with soft brown sugar, but this made the texture too soft.  This recipe is great with hazelnuts, but you could also use almonds or another small nut with crunch.  Rather than adding the wet ingredients all at once, I have found it easier to add them in increments so that it is easier to mix. I also increased the amount of vanilla for more flavour – plus I love vanilla (even if it is just essence)!

225g plain flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
175g raw sugar
2 eggs
1 ½  teaspoon vanilla extract
Rind of one large orange
100g hazelnuts

Heat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius.

In a large bowl, stir the flour and baking powder.  Add the sugar and stir until the ingredients are combined.

Add one egg and the vanilla essence, stir them together before adding the second egg.  When the mixture is starting to come together, add the orange rind and nuts.

Push the mixture together with your hands until it is all combined.

Form the mixture into thick coils, then place them on an oven try lined with baking paper.  Flatten the coils slightly.  Cook for 20 minutes – when the outsides are golden, they are ready!

Put them on a cutting board while they are still warm and cut into slices about 1 ½ inches thick.  Transfer to a wire rack so that they harden as they cool. Voila!

I will be presenting these in cellophane bags with colourful ribbons over Christmas, but I did give some away the other day in a simple freezer bag covered by bright tissue paper held together with ribbon.

Let me know what you think!


  1. Looks great! In my opinion, simple recipes like this are brilliant for us busy people - definitely will be one I try :)

  2. Thanks Georgia! Very true, but I do love slow food when I have time!! If only there were more hours so that I could spend them baking ;)

  3. This Biscotti looks delicious, what a beautiful Christmas gift for your friends.

  4. Thanks Catherine! I'm am going to be super organised this year. But I think I will enjoy baking batches and batches of these.

  5. Yum! They look good.. I'd be stealing stashes myself too!

  6. I'm very tempted to make some soon. Looks easy. I must share a story about the Biscotti di Prato or Cantucci. I used to live and work in Prato, the home of these famous biscotti. My students organised a special tasting of these delectable biscotti as part of an assignment. One of them booked a table at Antonio Mattei's café (estb in 1858), talked about the origin of the biscotti and then we had the pleasure of sampling the freshly baked biscotti. But there was one more lovely surprise - the brutti buoni. A cookie with a crispy exterior but a soft, chewy center of crushed almond dough. Unfortunately, the brutti buoni doesn't keep so one has to go to Antonio Mattei's to have the pleasurable experience of trying them. However, the Cantucci with its distinctively blue packaging is available from Simon Johnson's. Ros

  7. Wow. They look amazing, and what a fabulous story. Thanks so much for sharing. The idea of students getting together to eat biscotti and brutti buoini in Italy sounds so romantic. If I ever make it to Prato, I will have to try this cafe. Inspired by food and travel.

  8. If you do go to Italy again, I'll recommend some places to you to eat. Ros

  9. Oh you must! Although I think it will be a while before I get to make another trip to Italy. I have only ever been to the north, making it only as far down as Naples. So next time I must go through the south for a different style of delicious Italian cuisine.

  10. You absolutely must go further south especially to Sorrento and The Amalfi Coast. If only one could 'eat' the scenery as well... Btw, got all the ingredients to make the biscotti. I just have to find half an hour to make them. Ros

  11. Just finished making the biscotti. Quite pleased with them. The mixture was so delicious that I was licking it off my fingers. Well, I've got seven months to perfect them before Christmas. Thanks for the recipe. Ros

  12. Did you enjoy them once they had cooled down? Hope they worked out and were tasty. Great with a hot beverage.

  13. Yes, I enjoyed them very much. I didn't have an orange so I used lemon and lime instead. The aroma was incredible. The mixture was so delicious that even my cat wanted some ;-) Ros