Cakes & Bakes: Cranberry almond biscotti

Home-made cranberry almond biscotti with cup of coffee | H is for Home #recipe #biscotti #baking #biscuits

Are you a biscuit dunker? I’ve never been one for dipping my biscuits into hot liquid. However, these cranberry almond biscotti have made me change my ways!

Wet & dry cranberry almond biscotti ingredients | H is for Home

I’ve seen biscotti being produced on the Great British Bake Off but I’ve never tried my hand at making a batch.

Cranberry almond biscotti dough in a cake tin | H is for Home

Biscotti are Italian, twice-baked almond biscuits usually served with Vin Santo – a dessert wine from the same region of Tuscany. It’s this liquid that you dip your biscuit into before eating – I’ve only tried it with coffee so far – but give me time!

Baked cranberry almond biscotti | H is for Home

The traditional recipe is flour, sugar, eggs, pine nuts and almonds. However, there are updated versions that include an array of ingredients such as dried fruit, hazelnuts, pistachios, spices, lemon, coffee and chocolate.

Sliced cranberry almond biscotti | H is for Home

Biscotti is the plural of biscotto but I’ve never heard that term in my life. Perhaps it’s because it’s impossible to eat just one!

Knives between cranberry almond biscotti slices | H is for Home

Researching recipes, I discovered that there is such a thing as a biscotti tin. I don’t think I’ll be making biscotti often enough to warrant getting one – I used my 18cm/7-inch square brownie tin and it was more than adequate at tackling the job.

Cranberry almond biscotti cooling on a wire rack | H is for Home

For its second bake, I sliced and transferred the cranberry almond biscotti on to a baking sheet and used stainless steel knives (don’t use knives with wood or plastic handles) to prop them up on their sides.

Home-made cranberry almond biscotti in a glass biscuit jar | H is for Home

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Cranberry almond biscotti
Yields 15
Ingredients
  1. 70g/2½oz butter, melted
  2. 135g/4¾oz granulated sugar
  3. ½tsp salt
  4. 2tsp baking powder
  5. 2tsp vanilla extract
  6. 2 eggs
  7. 120g/4oz plain flour
  8. 120g/4oz semolina flour
  9. 115g/4oz dried cranberries
  10. 115g/4oz chopped almondsHome-made cranberry almond biscotti ingredients
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Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 175ºC/350°F/ Gas mark 4
  2. Grease a biscotti pan or large baking sheet
  3. Stir together the melted butter, sugar, salt and baking powder
  4. Beat in the vanilla extract and then the eggs
  5. Blend in the flours, cranberries and almonds
  6. Place into the prepared biscotti pan, leaving a 2cm/¾-inch margin free on each side of the pan, to allow for expansion. If you're using a baking sheet, form the dough into a flattened log about 28 x 10cm (10½ x 4 inches).
  7. Bake for 30-35 minutes, remove from the oven and allow to cool for an hour
  8. Slice on the diagonal into 4cm/½-inch thick pieces. Place them back on the baking sheet, standing them on edge if you can; this will ensure they bake evenly
  9. Reduce the oven temperature to 160ºC/325°F/Gas mark 3 and bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden
  10. Remove from the oven, and allow to cool on a wire rack
  11. They can be stored in an airtight container for several weeks
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Adapted from King Arthur Flour
Adapted from King Arthur Flour
H is for Home Harbinger http://hisforhomeblog.com/

Cakes & Bakes: Macadamia nut & cranberry cookies

Home-made macadamia nut & cranberry cookies | H is for Home

I keep forgetting how quick and easy it is to rustle up a batch of cookies. I have a bag of pistachios in the cupboard that needs to be used up, so I decided to make some pistachio & cranberry cookies using a recipe I found on the BBC Good Food website.

Chopped macadamia nuts ans dried cranberries | H is for Home

However, when I popped across to the supermarket to get some dried cranberries, I saw that they also did packets of cranberries WITH macadamia nuts.

Home-made macadamia nut & cranberry cookie dough batons | H is for Home Home-made macadamia nut & cranberry cookie dough batons wrapped in cling film | H is for Home

I love macadamia nuts – a little on the expensive side, but you don’t need that many in the macadamia nut & cranberry cookies I ended up making.

Home-made macadamia nut & cranberry cookies, uncooked on a baking tray | H is for Home

They were just so scrumptious! Crumbly, sweet and nutty. A few chunks of white chocolate added to the mix would have gone down a treat as well. I’ll try that combination very soon. I guess I’ll use that bag of pistachios some other time!

Home-made macadamia nut & cranberry cookies on a wire cooling rack | H is for Home

Soul cakes
Yields 20
Cook Time
15 min
Cook Time
15 min
Ingredients
  1. 175g/6oz butter
  2. 175g/6oz caster sugar
  3. 3 egg yolks
  4. 450g/1lb plain flour
  5. 1tsp ground mixed spice
  6. A little milk to mix (I used about 4 tbsps)soul cakes ingredients
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Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/Gas mark 4
  2. Cream the butter and sugar together in a bowl and then beat in the egg yolks one at a time
  3. Sift the flour and the spice into another bowl then add to the butter mixture
  4. Stir in the currants and add milk if necessary to form a soft dough
  5. Form the dough into flat cakes and mark each with a cross
  6. Put on a greased baking sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes until golden brown
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Adapted from A Calendar of Feasts: Cattern Cakes and Lace
H is for Home Harbinger http://hisforhomeblog.com/

Cakes & Bakes: Banana blueberry cranberry buttermilk cake

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slice of banana blueberry cranberry buttermilk cake with cup of tea | H is for Home

We always have a stash of berries in the freezer. It’s usually a lot cheaper than fresh – and often more nutritious, not deteriorating on the supermarket shelves over time. And it means you can get hold of them all year round. It’s usually blueberries from Morrisons, only £2 for a 350 gram container. Sometimes it’s strawberries from Lidl.

I bought a container of fresh cranberries at Christmas when they were on offer, and put them straight into the freezer with the intention of doing something with them at a later date. The first thing I did was to use some of them in a smoothie. I thought the smoothie was quite tasty but after the first sip, Justin pulled a face like he’d just sucked on a lemon!

My second cranberry endeavour has been much more successful. I made a banana blueberry cranberry buttermilk cake. ‘Tasty. More an afternoon cake with a cup of tea, than a dessert cake.’, was the verdict. I think that meant he approved!

Cakes & Bakes: Banana, blueberry & cranberry buttermilk cake

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Yield: makes 8-10 slices

Cakes & Bakes: Banana, blueberry & cranberry buttermilk cake

Ingredients

  • 115g butter, softened
  • 250g caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 60ml buttermilk
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 300g plain flour
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • ¼tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • pinch tsp salt
  • 3 bananas
  • 100g blueberries
  • 50g cranberries (I used frozen blueberries & cranberries, but you can use fresh if it's in season)
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Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/Gas mark 4
  2. In a food processor, using the K-beater attachment, cream the butter & caster sugar until fluffy
  3. In a small measuring jug, lightly beat the eggs, before adding them to the butter & sugar, a little at a time, mixing after each addition
  4. Mix in the buttermilk and vanilla extract
  5. In another medium-sized mixing bowl, sift all the dry ingredients together - flour, baking powder, bicarb & salt
  6. Add the dry to the wet mixture in 3 stages, mixing after each addition
  7. Roughly slice the bananas and mix into the batter
  8. With a spatula, fold in the blueberries and cranberries
  9. Pour the batter into a greased 23cm/9inch loose-based deep sandwich cake tin and make level with the spatula
  10. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until an inserted skewer comes away clean
  11. Leave in the tin for 5 minutes before running a sharp knife around the inside circumference of the tin and easing it away
  12. Allow to cool on a wire rack
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