- Food & Drink
Last week was biscuit week on GBBO and I went to my first ever GBBO party. It was tremendous, mainly because it was a party that involved sitting on a sofa, eating biscuits, drinking cocktails and shouting: “THAT IS NOT A BISCUIT!” at the TV. I wish more parties were like this.
There were a lot of Not Biscuits masquerading as biscuits throughout the show. Macarons appeared, as per usual, and they are clearly meringues. While the technical challenge was an entirely made up French pastry called an arlette, which is obviously just pastry. Albeit very thin, crunchy pastry. STILL NOT A BISCUIT.
If you wouldn’t dunk it in tea, and it isn’t covered in chocolate and called either a digestive, rich tea or hob nob, then it’s lies and nonsense. Next year someone will make scones, insist they are biscuits ‘in the American sense’ and civilisation as we know it will crumble.
The signature bake was biscotti: the edible souvenir most likely to last several days in the office biscuit tin. I don’t mind them because I am a craven sugar addict and will eat anything that’s full of the sweet stuff. Plus, you’re allowed to dunk them in wine.
I took a box of cherry, almond & chilli biscotti to the biscuit party. They would have utterly failed the crunch test, which meant we could eat them without soaking them in our drinks, and they also weren’t a uniform size. I will never pass the uniform size test. Other biscuits brought to the party were homemade party rings, jammy dodgers and choc chip cookies. ALL BISCUITS.
Cherry, Almond & Chilli Biscotti
100g flaked almonds
250g plain flour, plus a little extra for dusting
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
100g caster sugar
1-2 tsp dried jalapeño chilli flakes
Finely grated zest of 1 orange
100g dried cherries, roughly chopped
2 medium eggs
2 Tip the flaked almonds into a dry frying pan. Toast them over a medium heat for a couple of minutes, shaking the pan, till they’re toasted. Tip them out into a bowl.
3 Wipe the pan clean and add the butter. Melt it, and take it off the heat. Put to one side.
4 Sift the flour and bicarbonate of soda into the bowl of almonds with a pinch of salt. Stir in the caster sugar, 1-2 tsp chilli flakes (depending on how often you want to be surprised by chilli while you’re eating biscotti), orange zest and chopped cherries.
5 In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs and melted butter together till pale and combined. Pour the egg mixture into the dry ingredients and stir together to make a soft dough.
6 Dust your work surface with a little flour. Turn out the dough pat it into a log shape, around 6cm across and 25cm high. Lay on the lined baking tray. Bake for around 30 minutes till golden brown. Take them out of the oven and leave the biscotti loaf to cool for 15 minutes. Turn your oven down to 150°C/Fan 130°C/Gas 2.
7 Lift the biscotti loaf off the baking tray. Slice into biscotti around 11/2cm thick – you should get around 12 biscotti. Lay them back out on the tray. Bung them back in the oven for another 10 minutes. Turn them over. Bake for 10 more minutes till they are golden brown and crisp. Cool them on a wire rack. Store in an airtight container. They’ll keep reasonably well for a week or so.