It’s biscuit week for the second round of the Great British Bake Off, a term that is always destined to confuse all the different varieties of the English language. In the UK, a biscuit is what Americans call a cookie. Except when it is also what Americans call a cracker. Indeed. Suffice to say, it is never something served with gravy. Just to make it less confusing all round, I chose the first challenge from the show for my baking this week – biscotti. It’s Italian so we can all agree! Twice baked and found in coffee shops!
Peanut butter and chocolate is a combination I rarely saw in the UK when I first moved here, but it seems to have really gained in popularity over the last few years, and you can even buy an assortment of Reese’s products in our corner shop. There is a still a divide though, and it doesn’t have the classic flavour combination status that it does in the states, so I’m not sure I would have the nerve to bake these in the actual bake off tent in case Paul and Mary were not fans from the start! But I am a fan, so peanut butter and chocolate are always a good thing in my world.
For 24 small biscotti, you will need:
350g oat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
generous pinch of salt (adjust if your peanut butter contains lots or little salt)
100g unsalted butter
225g peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla paste (or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract or one vanilla pod scraped)
3 large eggs
Preheat the oven to 180C.
Combine oat flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl and set aside. (Same caveat for the oat flour still goes – check the labels and be aware of your specific sensitivities! I’ve been using Bob’s Red Mill oat flour and getting good results, but your needs may differ of course.)
Combine butter, peanut butter, sugar, and vanilla in the mixing bowl. I ended up using half crunchy and half smooth peanut butter because the crunchy we had was a bit extreme, but I reckon the Bake Off judges would probably have liked it better that way actually! Cream these together with the mixer.
Huzzah for mixing. Mix, mix, mix so it gets fluffy and lighter in colour. Lots of air will open the texture and keep the peanut butter from creating a heavy, stodgy biscuit.
When you’re done mixing that into lovely peanut butter fluff (which smells pretty awesome to a peanut butter fan), stir in each of the three eggs by hand, then add the dry ingredients from your bowl and combine until it’s all lovely and even. It will be a pretty thick and dense dough and should not be wet or drippy.
Line a baking tray with parchment or a baking mat and turn out the dough. Form it into as even a rectangle as possible!
Bake at 180C for 25 minutes, then remove and turn the oven down to 140C. Give the big rectangle a few minutes to cool, then cut into twenty-four smaller rectangles – one big slice on the horizontal then twelve on the vertical, removing the teeny edges on the far sides. Because it is clearly important to taste-test at this point, I’m sure. Transfer to a wire rack if you’re stuck for time and need it to cool quickly or you live in a land of humidity and leaving them on the pan would let them soak up too much moisture. But leave them on the pan and just cool for longer if you are likely to drop them all on the floor in the process. Not that I have done that. No, of course not.
Once cooled, it’s time for the second bake. I do this in three sets of eight minutes – eight minutes flat, eight minutes flipped on one side, then eight minutes on the other side. I have no idea how much this actually helps and how much is just a mental need for balance. Judge appropriately.
Let them cool again (for good this time) and melt the chocolate. We like ridiculously dark chocolate in this house, so I used 90%, but I have to say it is a bit of a shock if you’re used to dark chocolate being more like chocolate chips, which tend to be somewhere between 65% and 75%. Whatever chocolate you choose, melt in a glass bowl then dunk one end of each biscotti and return to the wire rack.
And finally, the step that is most like scrapbooking – use the remaining chocolate on a spoon to dot and drizzle, a process that is much like flicking Mr Huey’s mist over a finished page and hoping it goes well and also coating your crafting table in the process. There may or may not be chocolate dots all over the cooker at the moment.
Best served with a hot beverage, but these aren’t so crunchy they’ll break your teeth on their own, so you’re safe if you prefer them with a lemonade this time of year.
|Great Bloggers Bake Off is organised by Jenny at Mummy Mishaps. See more bloggers’ biscuits this week at participating blog, All you Need is Love and Cake. |
Please no spoilers from the actual show in the comments, for those who watch later than the original broadcast! Thanks.