Gluten Free ‘Baci di Dama’ (Hazelnut and Chocolate Cookies)

If you’re looking for the perfect bake for Valentine’s Day, look no further than these mini Hazelnut and Chocolate Cookies which are very romantically named ‘Baci di Dama’ or ‘Lady’s Kisses’.

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Baci di Dama originate from the Piedmont region of Italy and were made to celebrate the excellent Hazelnuts produced there. It is thought that the cookies are called ‘Lady’s Kisses’ as the two sandwiched cookies are said to resemble lips pursed together ready to receive a kiss or the two halves symbolise two lovers kissing.

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Whichever explanation you decide to opt for, there’s no doubt that these miniature cookies are incredibly cute. They are also incredibly simple to make and require just five ingredients – great for a last minute gift idea if you’re stumped for what to get someone for Valentine’s Day!

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Baci di Dama (Lady’s Kisses)

Ingredients

100g blanched hazelnuts
100g gluten free flour (I used Schär Mix It! Universal)
60g caster sugar
60g unsalted butter
50g good quality dark chocolate

Method

1) Place a dry frying pan over a medium heat, then lightly toast the hazelnuts until golden brown.

2) Blitz the hazelnuts in a food processor until they resemble fine breadcrumbs. Place the ground hazelnuts into a large bowl, then stir through the sugar and the flour.

3) Rub the butter into the hazelnut mixture and start to bring the mixture together to a form a dough – if the mixture is a little crumbly, add a few drops of water to help it come together.

4) Wrap the dough in cling film and chill it in the refrigerator for two hours to help it firm up.

5) Preheat the oven to 160 degrees C/gas mark 3. Roll the chilled dough into small ball shapes which weigh approximately 5 grams each, then place the pieces of dough onto baking trays lined with baking parchment and chill the

6) Place the balls of cookie dough into the fridge to chill for 15 minutes. Bake the cookies for 15 minutes or until they are golden brown.

7) Transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely while you melt the chocolate.

8) Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of gently simmering water. Allow the chocolate to cool for a few minutes, then dip the flat side of a cookie into the chocolate, then sandwich it together with another cookie – repeat until all the cookies have been sandwiched together.

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I love seeing your take on my recipes, so remember to share a snap of your Baci di Dama over on Facebook, twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #titchytonbakes.

 

Gluten Free Iced Gems

Recently I’ve been feeling nostalgic for the bakes of my childhood – so far this year I’ve posted a gluten free version of Jammy Dodgers and Party Rings, and now I’ve come up with a recipe for Gluten Free Iced Gems.

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Ice Gems may be small, but they aren’t fiddly or faffy to make. They would make an easy homemade gift or a great rainy project for the kids, as there are no difficult techniques involved – you could even save on washing up by putting all the different colours of icing in the same piping bag and making multicoloured ice gems!

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These biscuits kept really well for about 5 days in an airtight container. The royal icing took about 24 hours to set completely, but they were fine to eat after a few hours.


Gluten Free Iced Gem Biscuits

For the Biscuits:

75g golden caster sugar
75g unsalted butter (cold)
140g gluten free all purpose flour (I used Schar Universal Mix It – you could also use 90g GF Self raising and 50g rice flour)
1 small egg (you might not need it all)
1 tsp vanilla essence

For the Icing:

275g icing sugar
1 egg white plus Food Colouring (I prefer using a Gel or Paste)

Method:
1) To make the biscuit dough: In a large bowl combine the gluten free flour and sugar, then rub in the cold butter until you have a breadcrumb like texture.

2) Whisk together the egg and vanilla in a separate bowl, then add this bit by bit to the breadcrumb like mixture whilst bringing the ingredients together with your hands – you might not need all the egg.

3) Tip the contents of the bowl out onto a lightly floured surface, then use your hands to work the ingredients into a soft dough. Don’t worry if the dough seems a little sticky as it will be refrigerated which help it to firm up – don’t be tempted to add more flour!

4) Wrap the dough in cling film and place in the fridge for at least an hour.

5) Preheat the oven to 170 degrees C/Gas Mark 4 and line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.
8) Dust a clean surface with flour and roll out the dough until it is 0.5mm thick. Cut out small circles using the bottom of a piping nozzle as a cookie cutter and  transfer the cookies to the tray lined with greaseproof paper using a palate knife.

9) Bake the cookies for 10 – 12 minutes or until the cookies are firm and a light golden brown – be sure to keep an eye on them as they could quickly over-bake.

10) Once baked, leave the cookies to cool slightly on the trays to before transferring them to wire racks to finish cooling.

11) To make the royal Royal icing: place 1 egg white in a bowl, then slowly sift in the icing sugar in batches. In between the batches of icing sugar, stir the ingredients with a wooden spoon or a balloon whisk until the icing thickens up – you can use a dash of water to encourage the ingredients to come together if necessary.

12) Divide the icing between 4 bowls, add a few drop of food colouring to each one depending on what colours you want the icing to be – you can leave one bowl of icing white if you want white iced gems.

13) Transfer the icing to 4 piping bags, each one fitted with a 1 inch star nozzle, then pipe a blob of icing onto the centre of each biscuit.

14) Leave the icing to set, then enjoy!

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I love seeing your take on my recipes, so remember to share a snap of your Iced Gems over on Facebook, twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #titchytonbakes.

 

 

Gluten Free Halloween: Chocolate Skeleton Cookies

Just in time for Halloween – here is my recipe for these rather kooky, but not so spooky cookies.

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These cookies are of course gluten free could be made dairy free, just substitute the butter for dairy free spread or dairy free butter. If you use dairy free spread make sure it is super cold, or it can make your biscuit dough a little oily – you may also need to for chill your biscuit dough for a little longer.

I also used an all purpose gluten free flour to make these biscuits – the new Schär Mix It Universal Blend – if you can’t get hold of this you could use a mix of gluten free self raising and rice flour (see the recipe below for details).

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I had a lot of fun decorating these cookies and giving them rather shocked expressions! I think this recipe would be a lovely project to get children involved in over the Halloween weekend, as the cookie dough is very simple to make and they can get creative giving the skeleton men different expressions and looks!

Gluten Free Chocolate Skeleton Cookies

Ingredients

For the chocolate biscuits:

150g sugar
150g butter
2 tbsp cocoa powder
280g gluten free all purpose flour (I used Schar Universal Mix It – you could also use 150g GF Self raising and 130g rice flour)
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla essence

For the decorations:

250g icing sugar
1 egg white

Method

1) To make the biscuit dough, combine the gluten free flour, cocoa powder and sugar in a large bowl.

2) Rub in the butter until you have a bread crumb like texture.

3) Add the egg and vanilla essence and start to bring the ingredients together using a wooden spoon.

4) Tip the contents onto a lightly floured surface and use your hands to work the ingredients into a soft dough. Don’t worry if the dough seems a little sticky as it will be refrigerated which help it to firm up – don’t be tempted to add more flour!

5) Wrap the dough in cling film and place in the fridge for at least an hour.

6) Preheat the oven to 170 degrees C/Gas Mark 4 and line a baking tray with grease proof paper.

7) Dust a clean surface with flour. Roll out the dough using a rolling pin until it is about 5mm thick, then cut out gingerbread men shapes.

8) Transfer the cookies to tray lined with greaseproof paper using a palate knife. Bake for 10 – 12 minutes or until the cookies are firm and a light golden brown – be sure to keep an eye on them as they could quickly over-bake.

9) Once baked, leave the cookies to cool slightly on the trays to before transferring them to wire racks to finish cooling.

10) To make the royal Royal icing: place 1 egg white in a bowl, then slowly sift in the icing sugar in batches. In between the batches of icing sugar, stir the ingredients with a wooden spoon or a balloon whisk until the icing thickens up – you can use a dash of water to encourage the ingredients to come together if necessary.

11) Transfer the icing into a piping bag fitted with a writing nozzle and decorate the Skeleton men – don’t forget to give them shocked expressions!

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I love seeing your take on my recipes, so remember to share a snap of your Halloween cookies over on Facebook, twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #titchytonbakes.

Gluten Free Party Rings Recipe

If you’ve run out of Summer holiday activities to do with the kids, why not give my Gluten Free Party Rings recipe a go?

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This is the perfect bake for the weekend or the holidays, as it’s super easy and a really good one to get the kids involved in –  I’m sure they’ll love helping icing the biscuits… and eating them!

It’s a great recipe for us big kids too – because when are you too old for Party Rings?


Gluten Free Party Rings 

Ingredients:

For the biscuits:
150g sugar
150g butter
130g rice flour
150g self raising gluten free flour
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla essence

For the Icing:
400g icing sugar
Food colouring

Method:

1) In a large bowl, stir together the gluten free flour and sugar until combined.

2) Rub in the butter until you have a bread crumb like texture.

3) Add the egg and vanilla essence, then start bringing the ingredients together using a wooden spoon.

4) Use your hands to work the ingredients into a soft dough. Don’t worry if the dough seems a little sticky as it will be chilled for a while to help it firm up – don’t be tempted to add more flour!

5) Wrap the dough in cling film and place in the fridge for at least and hour.

6) Preheat the oven to 170 degrees C/Gas Mark 4 and line two baking trays with greaseproof paper.

7) Dust a clean surface with gluten free flour and roll out the dough using a floured rolling pin.

8) Cut out circle shapes using a 6cm pastry cutter, then transfer them to the prepared tray using a palate knife. When the biscuits are on the trays, use a pipping nozzle to stamp a hole through the middle of each one.

9) Bake for 10 minutes or until they are a light golden brown – be sure to keep an eye on this biscuits as they could quickly over-bake.

10) Leave the biscuits to cool on the tray for a few minutes to help them firm up,  then transfer the biscuits to a wire rack to finish cooling completely.

11) To make the icing: place icing sugar in a large bowl with a few teaspoons of cold water, then mix the ingredients until they form a spreadable paste. You may need to add a little more water if the icing is too thick.

12) Divide the mixture into different bowls . Leave the icing in one bowl white, then add a little food colouring to each of the other bowls – the colours are up to you! Transfer the white icing to a piping bag fitted with a small writing nozzle.

13) To decorate, spread a little icing over the biscuit using a palate knife. Pipe three lines of the white icing across the biscuit, then run a cocktail stick through the lines to feather the icing – repeat until all the biscuits have been iced.

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I love seeing your take on my bakes, so remember to share your a picture of your Party Rings over on Facebook, twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #titchytonbakes.

Gluten Free Churros (Inspired by ‘The Great British Bake Off’)

Over the past week there has been an uproar over the news that the BBC has lost the rights to host ‘The Great British Bake Off’ and that as of the next series it’s new home will be channel 4, after they paid double the amount than the BBC had offered to take the show. Mel and Sue stepped down from hosting the show saying that they are ‘not going with the dough’ and today Mary Berry has also announced that she will be exiting the show, leaving fans worried about the future of their favourite programme  – it’s been more dramatic than series 5, when Ian dumped his Baked Alaska in the bin!

I, for one, am absolutely gutted that this is the end of Bake Off as we know it, but I have a huge amount of respect for Mel, Sue & Mary for not selling out. I don’t know whether I will continue to watch the show over on channel 4, but I am determined to enjoy every second of the current series, while it lasts.

To help cheer everyone up, today I’m going to share my Gluten Free Churros Recipe, inspired by the showstopper challenge from this year’s Batter Week.

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Batter week saw the bakers tackle stuffed Yorkshire puds, delicate lacey Pancakes and a simple Spanish street food called Churros, out of which they were expected to create a spectacular showstopper.

To achieve perfect Churros the bakers were tasked with making a choux pastry like dough that would be soft enough to pipe, but firm enough to keep its distinctive shape during frying. The Churros also had to be crisp on the outside and cooked to perfection on the inside, so it was essential to get the oil at the right temperature otherwise you may end up with uncooked dough inside… oh, and they had to be uniform in size!

Last year I worked a lot on perfecting my gluten free choux pastry, so as I already had a recipe which I thought would work, I decided I would give Churros a try.

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My Churros plan – does anyone else make notes whilst watching bake off?

It took a few attempts to find the perfect balance of ingredients. I made my first batch of dough following my gluten free choux pastry recipe, but the result was a dough that was slightly too soft – perfect for choux buns, but not stiff enough to keep its shape in hot oil.

My second batch was much better as I used less egg which helped to give the dough a much firmer consistency. I also discovered that the pinch of baking powder I’d added to my choux pastry recipe was not required for Churros as it made them puff up and split during frying.

Getting the oil to the right temperature without a deep fat fryer was tricky, although not impossible – it’s a good idea to do a few testers first and adjust the temperature accordingly. I also found I had better success piping the Churros straight into the pan (as opposed to piping them onto parchment paper) which is fine as long as you don’t mind them not being uniform!

I’m pleased to say that once I had ironed out all these issues, the result was Churros which were beautifully crispy and light and fluffy on the inside.

imageI recommend eating them fresh as they don’t keep all that well. I served mine with a rich chocolate dipping sauce and together I think they would make a fantastically unique dessert for a dinner party.

Gluten Free Churros with Chocolate Dipping Sauce 

Ingredients

For the Churros:

60g gluten free self-raising flour

1 tbsp caster sugar

55g unsalted butter

110ml cold water

1 egg

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

For the Churro coating:

1 tsp cinnamon

2 tbsp caster sugar

Plus 1-litre sunflower oil for frying the Churros.

For the chocolate dipping sauce:

100g good quality milk or dark chocolate

100ml double cream

1 tbsp golden syrup

Method

1. Place a heavy-bottomed saucepan over a low to medium heat, then add the water, sugar and butter and bring the ingredients to a gentle simmer.

2. Once the butter has melted, remove the pan from the heat and quickly beat in the flour until all the ingredients come together in a smooth ball. It’s important to cook out all the flour, so if you can still see some flour keeping beating.

3. Transfer the dough to a large mixing bowl and beat it gently for a few seconds with a wooden spoon to help release some steam – this will help the mixture to cool down.

4. In small bowl whisk the egg to break up the yolk.

5. Once the pastry mixture is cool, add the vanilla extract and then the egg a bit at a time whilst beating with an electric hand mixer – don’t add the egg whilst the mixture is hot or you will end up with scrambled eggs!

6. At first the mixture will look a little bit lumpy but keep beating and adding the egg bit by bit until it becomes a smooth and stiff dough.

7. Transfer the mixture to piping bag fitted with a star nozzle then  place the dough in the fridge to chill for 15 minutes.

8. Meanwhile, slowly heat up the oil in a large saucepan over a medium to high heat while you make the chocolate sauce.

9. To make the chocolate dipping sauce, together the chocolate, cream and golden syrup slowly in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water. Gently stir until all the ingredients together, then set aside the sauce to cool.

10. Once the dough has chilled, you can fry your churros – you’ll know the oil is ready when the surface starts to shimmer.

To double check the temperature of the oil, test a little bit of the mixture and adjust the heat accordingly. If it takes more than a few minutes for the dough to turn golden brown, your oil needs to be slightly hotter, but if the dough turns a deep golden brown after about 30 seconds it’s too hot and the oil needs to cool down slightly. The perfect Churros should be ready within 4 to 5 minutes and should be crispy.

Whatever you do, don’t leave leave the hot oil unattended at any point.

11. Pipe 3 to 4 Churros directly into the hot oil and use scissors to snip off each one. Don’t cook too many at once as this can reduce the temperature of the oil and your Churros will take longer to cook – the longer they take to cook means they are exposed to the oil for longer, this can make them soggy!

Fry each Churro for 4 to 5 minutes, turning them over occasionally with kitchen tongs to make sure they are cooked on all sides. Transfer them to kitchen paper to soak up any excess oil. Keep going until all the dough is used up.

12. Mix together your caster sugar and cinnamon, then roll each Churro in the mixture until they are coated.

13. Serve immediately accompanied with the chocolate dipping sauce.

 

Gluten Free Viennese Whirls (Inspired by ‘The Great British Bake Off’)

Bake Off is finally back on our TV screens, so queue the nationwide baking frenzie and attempts to recreate bakes from the show at home – sometimes with varing success!

This was certainly the case when I attempted to make a gluten free version of Viennese Whirls, the technical challenge from this year’s Biscuit Week.

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I discovered Mary Berry’s recipe on the BBC Food website and decided to give it a whirl (see what I did there?) – I thought a gluten free version would work quite well and that all I needed to do was change the flour… I was quite wrong!

I followed Mary’s recipe to the letter and all the the tips the bakers mentioned on the show, including insuring the butter was soft enough and chilling the whirls before baking. Unfortunately, they turned out a crumbly mess and I couldn’t even get them off the baking tray without them disintegrating into a million pieces

The recipe definitely required a few further tweaks to work gluten free, so it was back to the drawing board.

I think that the first attempt went wrong because the mixture was too soft and a bit oily which resulted in the mixture melting in oven, despite the fact that I’d chilled the whirls in the freezer for 15 minutes prior to baking.

On my second attempt I decided to use margarine instead of butter, which combatted some of the oiliness, and I added a touch more dry ingredients, which resulted in a firm but pipeable mixture. Again, I  chilled the whirls before baking which helped them to keep their shape.

This time they came out overbaked, which I think is due to the oven temperature being quite high in Mary’s recipe – if you don’t check the biscuits every 30 seconds after the first 13 minutes, you might accidentally overbake them and I definitely wouldn’t recommend leaving them for the full 15 minutes without checking them!

By the third attempt, I knew I had found the right balance of ingredients but decided to drop the oven temperature from 190 degrees to 180 to help to slow down any potential overbaking.

It was definitely third time lucky. The result was a whirl that had kept its shape, was golden but not over baked and was actually stable enough to get off baking tray and be filled. They also tasted delicious and melted in the mouth – heaven!

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Gluten Free Viennese Whirls

Recipe adapted from Mary Berry’s Viennese Whirl Recipe from ‘The Great British Bake Off’ found on the BBC Food website.

Ingredients

For the biscuits:

250g soft margarine (or dairy free alternative)

70g icing sugar

225g gluten free self raising flour

50g cornflour

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

For the filling:

Strawberry Jam (Mary’s recipe said Raspberry, but I prefer Strawberry)

100g unsalted butter (or dairy free alternative)

200g icing sugar, plus extra for dusting

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C/160 degrees C fan/gas mark 4.

2. Line 3 baking trays with baking paper, then use a 5cm cutter to draw 8 circles onto each sheet of paper, making sure they are well spaced out. Turn the paper over so the circles are underneath.

3. In large bowl, cream together the margarine, sugar and vanilla with an electric hand mixer until light and fluffy. Add the gluten free flour and cornflour and beat with the hand mixer until all the ingredients are fully combined.

4. Transfer the mixture into a piping bag fitted with a medium star nozzle – I like to use plastic disposable piping bags because I think they are easier to use.

5. Pipe 24 swirls inside the circles on the baking sheets. Place the baking sheets in the freezer for 10 – 15 minutes to help the swirls firm up before baking.

6. Bake for 13—15 minutes, until  pale golden-brown in colour. I reccomend checking them every 30 seconds after the first 13 minutes as the edges can catch and they can easily overbake.

7. Leave the whirls to cool on the baking sheets for a few minutes then transfer them to wire rack to cool completely.

8. To make the butter cream, beat the butter, icing sugar and vanilla extract with an electric hand mixer until light and fluffy and almost white in colour. Transfer into a piping bag fitted with a large star nozzle.

9. To decorate: Spoon a little jam onto the flat side of half of the biscuits, then pipe a swirl of buttercream over the top. Place a biscuit on top of each one to create a sandwich, then dust with a little icing sugar to finish.

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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.