Chocolate Dipped, Orange and Raisin Biscottis

I love a crunchy biscuit, so biscotti is perfect, especially dunked in a cup of hot tea (or coffee for me…). Biscotti is an Italian biscuit that is twice baked to give it that crunchy texture. It is so easy to make, although requires more time in the oven than most biscuits.
Chocolate, orange, raisin 1.1
You can really play with flavours with biscotti but there are some that are just made for each other – chocolate and orange being one of them.The addition of raisins add another dimension of texture, which works well with the crunchiness.
Chocolate, orange, raisin 3
The recipe and baking time all contribute to the final texture – which is oh so important (my colleagues have experienced some teeth shattering biscotti…) I have used the traditional recipe with eggs and no oil/butter. The eggs provide structure and ensure the biscuits are not too dry. I used to keep these in the oven to dry out but this makes them too hard, so stick to the 20 minutes at the end of the recipe.
Chocolate, orange, raisin 4
Chocolate Dipped, Orange and Raisin Biscotti
Recipe adapted from All Recipes
Ingredients
  • 130g (1 cup) all-purpose flour
  • 90g (~1/2 cup) white sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 2 tablespoons orange zest
  • 50g plain chocolate
Method
  1. Preheat oven to 175C (350F).
  2. Rub the orange zest and sugar together (this brings out more of the orange flavour!) Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Beat in the egg and egg white, then mix in the raisins.
  3. Roll the dough into a log and place on a baking sheet. Press down to about 2cm thickness and adjust the width of the log to how long you want each biscotti.
  4. Bake for 25 minutes in preheated oven until lightly golden and firm to touch. Cool on a rack for 10-15mins. With a serrated knife, cut into ~2cm slices. Place slices, cut side down, back onto the baking sheet.
  5. Return them to the oven for an additional 20 minutes; turning over half way through the baking. Melt the chocolate over a double boiler or in the microwave. Dip one side of the biscotti into it. Place cookies on wire racks, chocolate side up, until cool and dry.
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It’s been too long! Saffron Buns

Since going to New York and starting my new job, I have had NO time to be creative in the kitchen and write about it. But I miss it! And now that I’m getting back into my bread making, I feel like I need to document my trial and errors.

Firstly, saffron buns. I had never known what saffron smelt or tasted like before this as I’d only (supposedly) had it in paella in a restaurant, so it wasn’t distinguishable. As the most expensive commodity by weight, I was curious to experiment with it. It’s difficult to describe saffron – it is very fragrant (almost like a musky perfume), with a slight floral, honey scent and flavour. It tastes bitter when too much is used, which is probably why I did not enjoy my first experience in these buns! I got a little too excited as I wanted to be able to taste the saffron…boy, did I taste it! It wasn’t inedible, but the fragrance overpowers in the mouth!

I used my sourdough, which I refreshed twice the day before, just to ensure that it was active. Even though it takes patience to work with sourdough, I love the naturalness of it – it’s just flour and water…and it’s alive!

20141217_125750 copyLook at that shreddable softness! ^ Sourdough can be soft too!

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Saffron buns (adapted from txfarmer’s recipe)

Levain
Ingredients
  • starter, 15g
  • milk, 25g
  • bread flour, 41g

Method

  1. Mix and let fermentation at room temp (22c) for 12 hours.
Final dough
Ingredients
  • bread flour, 203g
  • honey, 55g
  • butter, 25g, softened
  • egg whites, 60g
  • salt, 3g
  • milk, 102g
  • saffron, half a teaspoon crushed (I used about a teaspoon which was too much!)
  • raisins, 60g

Method

  1. Heat the milk and add the saffron, let it sit for 10 minutes. Mix all ingredients until the windowpane stage.
  2. Bulk rise at room temp (22c) for 3 hours, the dough would have expanded noticeably, but not too much. Txfarmer’s recipe states to bulk rise in the fridge overnight, but I was too impatient.
  3. Punch out the dough, add raisins and shape into “S” shaped buns.
  4. Let them rise at about 7-10c overnight (some people say to leave bread in the fridge to rise, but mine never does – I find that 4c and below is too cold for any yeast to be active!). The buns did not rise much.
  5. Spray buns with water, and bake in preheated oven at 220c for 18min. Spray the oven with water every minute for the first 4 minutes to create steam for ovenspring!
Comments:
The buns rose very well in the oven (doubled in size!), but my oven is a fan oven so I had to cover them with foil to prevent the tops from browning after the first 8 minutes. The bottoms of the buns were a little burnt, and I still haven’t figured out why…is it the pan, the non-stick paper? Does anyone have a clue? As mentioned before, I used too much saffron, but when reduced, it pairs nicely with the sweet raisins. These buns are not sweet, so if you want sweet buns, double the amount of honey or use sugar.