Gluten Free Christmas: Hazelnut, Cranberry and Orange Biscotti Recipe

It’s December which means one thing and one thing only… IT’S CHRISTMAS!!!

We are only a week into December and my friends have already accused me of Buddy The Elf levels of excitement at least a hundred times… but I can’t help it because Christmas is my favourite time of the year!
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The decorations are up, I’ve made my first batch of gingerbread, I’ve drunk my first mulled wine of the season and I’ve listened to my Christmas playlist on loop for about a week so I can confirm that I am officially in full Christmas mode.
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For me, the best thing about Christmas is the food. I love all the flavours that the season has to offer more than any other time of year and quite frankly it’s not christmas without spicy gingerbread, chewy chestnuts, juicy clementines or even Brussels sprouts!

Following a gluten free diet has never stopped me enjoying Christmas either. If anything, I’ve found more enjoyment in food because having to bake my own festive treats is all part of the fun.

I have tonnes of Christmas recipes which I cannot wait to share with you but I’m going to start with my Hazelnut, Cranberry and Orange Biscotti recipe.
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Since I shared my Cranberry, Almond and White Chocolate Biscotti recipe a few months back I’ve had it in my mind to create a version using more festive flavours for Christmas.

When my family and I arrive home from church on Christmas morning we usually enjoy a cup of tea or coffee with a sweet treat just before opening all the presents. I think this year these Biscotti would be absolutely perfect and I will definitely be making a batch for the big day.
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Gluten Free Hazelnut, Cranberry and Orange Biscotti 

Ingredients:
150g caster sugar
1 tsp baking powder
300g gluten free self raising flour, plus extra for shaping the dough
3 large eggs
150g blanched hazelnuts, roughly chopped
75g dried cranberries
1 tsp orange zest
2 tsp hazelnut syrup or extract (I used Monin Hazelnut Syrup)

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C/Gas Mark 4.

2. Line a large baking tray with greaseproof paper.

3. In a large bowl, stir together the caster sugar, baking powder and flour.

4. Add the eggs, cranberries and hazelnuts then mix until all the ingredients are combined.

The mixture will be slightly wetter than expected so please don’t panic and add more flour. Remember that gluten free flour needs more moisture than regular flour and these biscuits are going to be baked twice – if you add more flour you’ll end up with a very dry dough which will result in an overly dry biscotti that cannot be baked twice.

5. Separate the mixture into two halves and generously dust a work surface with a flour.

6. Spoon one half of the mixture onto the work surface into a rough log shape then dust the mixture with a generous layer of flour – do not knead or roll the mixture but gently use your hands to shape the mixture into a log shape. The flour will stick to the mixture like a coating which will help the log keep it shape whilst allowing the inside to stay soft.
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7. Transfer to the log to a baking tray (you could use a cake lifter to help) then flatten the log slightly so it’s approximately the width of a ciabatta. Repeat the with the other half of the mixture then place the second log on the tray – make sure you leave a little room between to allow them to expand slightly.

8. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the biscotti is golden brown. Transfer the biscotti to a wire rack to cool completely. Leave the oven on.

9. Once the biscotti is cool, slice it diagonally across into inch thick slices. Do not attempt to slice the biscotti whilst still warm or it will crumble.

10. Transfer the biscotti back onto the baking tray and bake for a further 6 to 8 minutes on each side. Leave the biscotti to cool completely before serving.
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I can’t wait to show you what else I have planned for Christmas, but if you are looking for more Christmas inspiration in the meantime, why not take a look at my Gluten Free Gingerbread Cookies recipe which I posted last Christmas, or, follow me over on Instagram or Facebook to see what else I’m getting up to.

Gluten Free Cranberry, Almond and White Chocolate Biscotti (Inspired by ‘The Great British Bake Off’)

Today I’m going to share with you another gluten free version of a bake featured on ‘The Great British Bake Off’.

This week’s episode was Biscuit Week in which the remaining contestants baked no less than 748 biscuits plus a show-stopping edible and ornate biscuit box each, which had to be sturdy enough to encase their biscuits.

The Signature Challenge saw the bakers take on Italian Biscotti. Biscotti basically means the biscuits are ‘twice baked’ and are traditionally dry and quite hard biscuits, filled with nuts and fruit. They can be a little tricky to get right because whilst the biscuits need to be dry, there is a danger they will end up so brittle that they will break your teeth! The bakers had a relatively short amount of time in which to bake the Biscotti, which needs to be cooled down completely before it’s baked again so that it doesn’t crumble when sliced.

I decided to have a go at creating a gluten free version of the signature challenge and went for the quite classic flavour combination of cranberry, almond and white chocolate.
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The key to baking excellent gluten free biscotti is to start with a slightly wetter mixture than you’d expect. Although Biscotti are typically quite dry biscuits, remember that gluten free flour requires more moisture than normal flour – without the extra moisture the Biscotti won’t survive being baked twice and will be a crumbly mess. If you follow my method carefully you should have no problems baking your very own gluten free Biscotti which has the texture and taste of proper Biscotti.

Gluten Free White Chocolate, Almond and Cranberry Biscotti

Ingredients:
150g caster sugar
1 tsp baking powder
300g gluten free self raising flour + extra for shaping the dough
30g ground almonds
3 large eggs
125g dried cranberries
75g chopped blanched almonds
25g chopped cashew nuts
1 tsp lemon zest
1/2 tsp almond extract

To decorate:
300g good quality white chocolate

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C/Gas Mark 4 and line a large baking tray with greaseproof paper.

2. In a large bowl, stir together the caster sugar, baking powder, flour and ground almonds.

3. Add the eggs, cranberries and nuts then mix until all the ingredients are combined. The mixture will be much wetter than expected so please don’t panic and add more flour. Remember that gluten free flour needs more moisture than regular flour and these biscuits are going to be baked twice – if you add more flour you’ll end up with a very dry dough which will result in an overly dry biscotti that cannot be baked twice.

4. Separate the mixture into two halves and generously dust a work surface with a flour.

5. Spoon one half of the mixture onto the work surface into a rough log shape then dust the mixture with a generous layer of flour – do not knead or roll the mixture but gently use your hands to shape the mixture into a log shape. The flour will stick to the mixture like a coating which will help the log keep it shape whilst allowing the inside to stay soft.
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6. Transfer to the log to a baking tray (you could use a cake lifter to help) then flatten the log slightly so it’s approximately the width of a ciabatta. Repeat the with the other half of the mixture then place the second log on the tray – make sure you leave a little room between to allow them to expand slightly.
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7. Bake for 20 to 22 minutes, until the biscotti is golden brown. Remove the biscotti from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Leave the oven on.
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8. Once the biscotti is cool, slice it diagonally across into inch thick slices. Do not attempt to slice the biscotti whilst still warm or it will crumble.

9. Transfer the biscotti back onto the baking tray and bake again for 6 to 8 minutes on both sides, then leave the biscotti to cool on a wire rack.
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10. Melt the chocolate slowly in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water. Dip the base of each biscuit into the chocolate, gently shake off any excess chocolate, then leave each one to set on a sheet of greaseproof paper.

Once set, enjoy in the traditional Italian style with a cup of coffee!
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If you’re not feeling all baked out, why not check out my take on the classic Madeira cake as featured on episode one of this years ‘Bake Off’.