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.
image
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.
image   image
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.
image
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.
image
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.
image
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!
image
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’.

Gluten Free Cherry Bakewell Madeira Cake (Inspired by ‘The Great British Bake Off’)

It’s August, so that can only mean one thing…. ‘The Great British Bake Off’ is back!

I have been a fan of ‘Bake off’ ever since the very first show and have continued to watch it despite having to avoid gluten. You’d think it would be upsetting to watch, but I love watching the bakers create wonderful things – even if I can’t eat them! Every year I try to recreate bakes from the show which can be tricky on a gluten free diet, but not impossible.

I know there are lots of coeliacs who are fans of ‘Bake Off’ who would love to make bakes from the show but aren’t sure whether gluten free version would work, so throughout the new series I am going to pick and choose a few bakes from the show and create gluten free versions to share with you, starting with the Signature Challenge from Cake Week – Madeira Cake.

Paul and Mary asked the bakers to a create a Madeira cake. They were allowed to be adventurous with their flavours but essentially their bakes had to be easily recognisable as Madeira cakes and the contestants who stuck to slightly more traditional flavours seemed to fair a bit better.

I decided to create a cake based on the cherry Madeira cakes I had when I was a child and thought that a Cherry Bakewell flavoured cake would be a nice twist on the original without straying too far away from the traditional flavours of Madeira cake.

Paul and Mary expected the cakes to have the traditional cracked top and bakers who add fruit to their mixture had to make sure it didn’t all sink to the bottom of the cake.
image
I managed to get both of these elements right but on ‘Bake Off’ we all know the proof of the pudding is the eating (couldn’t resist); it’s not just about how the cake looks, it’s about how good it tastes… so i’ll let you judge that bit for yourselves.

On your marks, get set, BAKE!

image 

Gluten Free Cherry Bakewell Madeira

For the Sponge:
175g caster sugar
175g butter, softened
200g gluten free self raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
50g ground almonds
3 large eggs
2 – 3 tbsp milk
150g glacé cherries
1 tsp almond extract

To decorate:
50g glacé cherries
150g icing sugar
3 – 4 tsp water
A handful of flakes almonds, toasted

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 170 degrees C then grease and line a loaf tin with baking parchment.

2. Chop the cherries into small pieces, rinse them in cold water to remove all the syrup and dry them with some kitchen towel. Coat the cherries in a tablespoon of flour – this will stop them sinking to the bottom of the cake.

3. In a large bowl, sift together the flour and baking powder then stir through the ground almonds.

4. In a separate bowl, cream together the butter and sugar with an electric hand mixer until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time along with one tablespoon of the flour to stop the mixture from curdling.

5. Add the remaining flour, almond extract and milk then beat until all the ingredients are fully combined. Fold in the cherries and spoon the mixture into the prepared loaf tin.

6. Bake for 50 – 55 mins minutes. Insert a skewer into the middle of the cake to check if it’s cooked– if it comes out clean the cake is ready.

7. Allow the cake to cool in the tin before turning it out on a wire rack. Leave to cool completely.8. While the cake is cooling, lightly toast the almonds in the oven – 150 degrees C should be hot in enough.

8. To make the icing: sift the icing sugar into a bowl, add the water slowly whilst stirring – the icing shouldn’t be too runny but should be spreadable.

9. Spoon over the icing over the cake – you can use a piping bag to be neat but I quite like the informal look.

10. Scatter across the remaining cherries and toasted almonds, then serve!
image
If you want have a go at something a bit more spectacular, why not have a go at my Gluten Free Black Forest Gâteau Showstopper which I posted back in January, or, if you want to brush up on your biscuit skills ahead of the next show why not check out my Gluten Free Florentines Recipe which I adapted from last years show.