Tempo di biscotti (Time for biscotti)

I’ve had one of the most awesome weekends in a long time and it was as awesome as awesome can be! The house was bursting with people, almost like a prelude to what it will be like with the wedding happening at the end of this month, so much food to eat, lots of laughter and cheer. Just perfect. Touchwood!

But before the guests came I thought I should bake a little something and keep, I know most people would have expected a cake or maybe some muffins, those who know me won’t expect cupcakes! But I didn’t want to do the usual so I thought it was the best time to try out biscotti, which happened to be the challenge for the month of September at the Baking Eggless group.

The recipe for this month was sourced from the Baking Obsession site and it was a scrumptious one for a biscotti. The minute I read it I knew exactly how I would tweak but there was a catch – I had to keep out the nuts out because the people I was expecting home have various kinds of nut allergies. So I decided to use the only nut I knew was safe – coconut! And with this I wanted something that would complement it well so I went with saffron and I also added some fresh orange juice to the batter to give it that fresh zing. I also threw in some raisins to enhance the sweetness and make the biscotti chunky. Since I generally bake with whole wheat, I went with that and I used flax seed powder in place of egg which also lent a nutty texture to the biscotti. As a result of using all these and demerara sugar too my biscottis turned out to be a little darker than usual, which I didn’t mind at all! The biscottis were such a hit that they were just gobbled off while some of them were cooling on the rack and I’d to save some in a separate box and hide it safely for the in-laws who were visiting us. But what left a silly grin on my face all weekend was that everyone who ate it fell in love with it, why someone even said that they tasted so authentic and I’ve been asked to make a sugar-free version too. Wow! I’m still pinching myself.

Deliciouso!

Orange, coconut & saffron biscotti
1 1/2 cups of whole wheat flour
3/4 tsp of baking powder
2 tbsp of honey
1/2 cup of demerara sugar
2 tsp of flax seeds, powdered and mixed with 2 tbsp of warm water to form a smooth paste
2 tbsp of toasted coconut flakes
1/4 cup of fresh orange juice
1/4 cup of vegetable oil
2 tbsp of milk
A pinch of saffron
A handful of raisins
Some freshly grated nutmeg

Warm the milk a little, preferably in the microwave, and add the saffron to this. Mix well and let it infuse for about 20 minutes.

Nothing but the best: Saffron from Spain

Infusing

In a big mixing bowl sift in the whole wheat flour and baking powder. Now add the flax seed mixture, oil, saffron milk, sugar and mix well. Next add the coconut flakes, nutmeg, honey and raisins, continue kneading until a dough forms. The dough needs to be slightly sticky, if you find that it is dry you can add some milk to get the desired consistency.

Shape the dough into two logs and flatten them till they’re about 1/2 inch thick.

Ready to bake

Bake in the oven at 160 degrees for about 15-20 minutes or until the sides begin to harden and turn golden brown. Remove the logs from the oven and let them cool down.

After 18 minutes

After a while, say about 30 minutes, use a sharp knife and slice the biscottis evenly.

Chop, chop!

Now place them cut side down on the baking tray and bake them for about 7-10 minutes on each side till they begin changing colour. Remove from the oven when done and allow them to cool down completely before storing them in an air-tight container.

Brown and beautiful

*I know any kind of nuts would have been a wonderful addition to this recipe, especially walnuts or even hazelnuts if you want to go authentically Italian.
*It is important to toast the coconut flakes because otherwise they tend to whither while baking and loose flavour.
* I didn’t use orange zest for a reason as I wanted very subtle flavours in the biscotti, but you can go ahead with it because I can guarantee it makes for a delicious addition to the recipe.

PS: I’ve been told that the best way to enjoy biscotti is to dunk them into a glass of milk and chomp on them!

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