The premise behind World Baking Day is that those who love baking will pledge to bake something for someone in their lives, and give a reason. I would’ve liked to have baked for Ninja, as a token of my appreciation for how hard he’s been working as my provider, but… well… to bake something he’d truly enjoy, I’d have to bake little more than a plain vanilla cake! And of course I wanted to be a bit more adventurous than that 😉
So I’ve decided to bake for my parents and my colleagues: my parents coz they’ve helped us have a new home, and my work team just coz they’re such a great bunch of people 🙂
To celebrate this occasion I chose to try out a new recipe from a trusted source: Sharon Glass’s delicious book Sweet Endings. I picked her White Chocolate Coffee Biscotti, and for a good (though strange) reason. During my battle with eczema over the last few months, I’ve begun discovering a few dietary triggers that seem to cause my skin to flare up noticeably.
One of the biggest triggers seems to be caffeine. I’d suspected a negative reaction to it a while ago, but only now that I have actual eczema have I been able to see direct results of consuming caffeine. Anyway, not to blether on about that… The reason I’m mentioning all this is that the biscotti I baked today were a deliberate farewell-to-caffeine treat for me. If I’m going to get rid of this eczema I’ll have to remove all such stimulants from my diet, so I decided to quit chocolate and coffee… after this one last treat.
PS – Yes, I know most white choc has no cocoa and thus no caffeine in it, but I didn’t want to push my luck with my skin by choosing a recipe with proper chocolate in it 🙂
White Chocolate Coffee Biscotti
Recipe © Sharon Glass
1 3/4 C flour
1 C sugar
1 t baking powder
pinch of salt
2 t Nescafé (instant) coffee
2 t cocoa powder
60 g cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 t vanilla essence
100 g toasted plain cashews
125 g white chocolate, chopped into chunks
1/2 C glacé cherries
1. Preheat oven to 170 °C. Grease and line a baking tray.
2. Process the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, coffee and cocoa in a food processor.
3. Pulse in the butter and then the eggs.
4. Add the vanilla essence, then process until mixture makes a sticky soft dough.
5. Remove from the machine and mix in the white chocolate chunks, toasted cashews and whole cherries.
6. Divide into 3 and roll into logs, rubbing hands with some flour if dough is too sticky.
7. Place on lined baking tray and flatten logs (not too wide). Sprinkle with a little sugar.
8. Bake for approx. 25 minutes. Remove each log and cut into slices.
9. Place back onto baking tray, cut side up.
10. Lower heat to 140 °C and bake for another 10 minutes or until biscotti are slightly hardened.
11. Remove from oven and cool.
As usual, this Sharon Glass recipe does not disappoint!
- The method is straightforward. At first I thought my dough was a bit dry and not sticky enough, but that may be because I was using large instead of jumbo eggs. In the end it was a tad crumbly but still worked.
- The flavour is fantastic. The coffee taste is subtle, and the cherries and chocolate provide sudden bursts of sweetness that perfect these super biscuits.
There are two changes I would make, though, if I made this again.
- Firstly, I’d chop the nuts, chocolate and cherries into smaller bits. It was difficult to slice the biscotti neatly with so many large chunks getting in the way.
- Secondly, I’d bake the biscuits much longer. Leaving them to dry in a gentle warm oven (about 50 °C or so) and turning them every so often helps to make them hard like true biscotti should be.
Yum! I’d recommend these crunchy treats for teatime on any day, not just World Baking Day 🙂