Whiskey Soaked Peach and Hazelnut Biscotti

25th March 2016

whiskey soaked peach and hazelnut biscottiGuess what’s coming back to Masterpiece Theater this Sunday? If you guessed Grantchester GIVE YOURSELF A STAR. Are you all as excited as I am? It’s a delightful little ITV import that’s based on the novels of James Runcie’s about a crime solving vicar (that’d be Sidney, btw), his labrador Dickens (as in WHAT THE DICKENS), and his friend police Inspector Geordie Keating.

So … Sidney Chambers, this biscotti is for you. Or, rather, this biscotti IS you. Whiskey soaked peaches a nod to your anti-establishment drink of choice and your wonderfully copper colored hair, hazelnuts for the color of your eyes, and a sugar-ginger sprinkle because your hair really is rather gingery (even though it’s suppose to be brown).

NOTE: This biscotti takes a bit of prep work. First you’ll want to soak the dried peaches (if you in fact want to soak them), I have done it over night or just for an hour – all you want is for all the liquid to be absorbed. Also if you find yourself with raw hazelnuts you’re going to need to remove the skins (dry roasted hazelnuts are good to go as they are), don’t panic just follow the directions here for a little kitchen science and you’ll be good to go.

NOTE: I am developing a gluten free version of this recipe (holy learning curve, Batman) and once I get it completely sussed out I’ll create a post for it.

Whiskey Soaked Peach and Hazelnut Biscotti

Ingredients:

1 stick butter, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 TBSP vanilla extract
2 cups flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup dry roasted hazelnuts
3/4 cup dried peaches (measurement BEFORE soaking in whiskey)
1 1/2 TBSP whiskey (optional)
6-8 pieces crystallized ginger
2 tsp sugar

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350.

Using the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, mixing until fully incorporated. Add vanilla mix to incorporate.

In a separate bowl mix together flour, baking powder, and salt. Slowly add flour mixture to creamed butter and sugar mixture. Continue to mix until dough has formed.

Mix in peaches and hazelnuts.

Scoop dough out onto a Silpat (or parchment paper) covered baking sheet and form into a roughly 15×4 inch block. Pop tray into refrigerator as you make the ginger-sugar (refrigerating is ESPECIALLY important if you soaked your peaches … the extra moisture changes how the biscotti bake and I’ve found chilling things down helps immensely).

Using a mortar and pestle grind together 6-8 pieces of crystalized sugar and 2 tsp sugar. Final consistency should be that of gritty, wet sand. Remove biscotti dough from fridge and rub ginger-sugar over the top of the dough (I didn’t use all of the ginger-sugar, but use as much or as little as you like).

Bake until a light golden color (approx. 25 minutes). Remove from oven and cool for 20 minutes.

Carefully remove log from baking sheet to cutting board. Using a long knife (serrated if you prefer – I use a butcher’s knife) slice log into 1/2 inch wide pieces.

Return pieces to baking sheets, and return to oven. Bake for additional 15-20 minutes.

Remove biscotti from oven, and place on a cooling rack, they will continue to “crisp” as they cool. Store in an airtight container.

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Earl Grey and Orange Shortbread Biscuits

3rd March 2016

Earl Grey Shortbread + PearlsWith Downton Abbey ending this week … *sniffles* … I thought I should mark the occasion with a special something, because: OMG, IT’S ENDING AND WHY??? Sorry. I have feelings. Strong ones.

I debated about making Downtonscotti and came to the conclusion that no, for this to be a proper send off I needed to English things up a bit, because while I LOVE biscotti I couldn’t image the Dowager Countess of Grantham daintily drinking tea while gnashing down on a crispy hunk of biscotti. Would I love to see her do it, simply put: YES (ps – Dame Maggie Smith if you, for some reason, ever find yourself reading this post I will send you biscotti. I promise I’m not weird or crazy or anything. I have references.), but clearly shortbread was they way to go this time.

So, how do you make an already English treat even more English? By adding Earl Grey tea to the mix. And why stop there? Add a bit of orange zest to play off the bergamot. And once again (this is an old soapbox issue for me), shortbread biscuits are meant to be crisp … not soft. If it’s soft, it’s not shortbread.


Earl Grey and Orange Shortbread Biscuits

Ingredients:

4 ounces butter
2 ounces sugar
6 ounces flour
1 tea bag Earl Grey
zest from 1/2 a small orange (or 1 small clementine)

Directions:

Cream butter and sugar together. Add in tea from one bag of Earl Grey tea, mix to incorporate. Next add zest from the orange, mix thoroughly. Mix in flour until a ball of dough forms.

Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and shape into a square. Pop into the refrigerator for at least an hour and up to 24 hours.

Remove dough from refrigerator and preheat oven to 375º F.

After the dough has softened and is malleable, use a rolling pin to roll out the dough until it’s about 1/4 – 1/2 inch thick. I cut mine into squares, but you can make circles or rectangles … basically whatever your favorite shape is, go for it.

Put biscuits on a cookie sheet lined with a Silpat or parchment paper, poke holes in the middle of the biscuit with a fork or a toothpick.

Once again pop into the refrigerator and chill in the fridge for at least 10 minutes.

Bake for 15 – 20 minutes (I have found that 16-18 minutes seems to be my sweet spot for my oven).

Let cool on cookie sheet for five minutes, remove and completely cool on wire rack.

Store in container with tight fitting lid.

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