DIY presents can be great in theory but a disaster in reality unless you are talented at arts and crafts. Biscuits are the exception – these are easy to make, fill the house with lovely Christmas smells and are popular both for the thought that goes into them and the enjoyment you get out of them. I made a triple batch of each and brought some into work which always goes down well. My little one helped which she enjoyed, but for her the highlight was the gingerbread house, not the bikkies.
Baci Di Dama – ladies kisses from Piedmont
Makes 40 (20 pairs)
Zest of 1 orange
150gr butter at room temperature
150 gr rice flour
1 tsp vanilla essence
110 gr sugar
Grind the Almonds with the sugar until light and floury
Add to bowl with rice flour, salt, rub in the butter
Grate in the zest of an orange and add the vanilla essence
Work the pastry until it comes together, wrap in cling and chill for an hour or more.
Roll into small balls (about 10gr ea).
Gently press them to flatten and bake for 20 mins.
Sandwich together with chocolate ganache or melted chocolate.
Choclate Nut Biscotti
250gr plain Flour
250gr golden castor Sugar
5 Eggs beaten lightly
240gr Chocolate drops
50gr shelled pistachio or other nuts if you prefer
1 tsp Vanilla essence
15 gr Confit orange zest (Optional but lovely!)
Oven at 180
Line two extra-large baking sheets with parchment paper;
In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder and sugar.
Make a well in the center, add the eggs and vanilla essence and stir until combined.
Stir in the chocolate, the pistachios, and orange zest if using. (The dough will be crumbly). Use your hands to knead the dough until it comes together.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Using cold, wet hands, divide dough into four equal portions. Shape each portion into a 14-inch-long log. Place logs about 5 inches apart on prepared baking sheets; flatten logs slightly until about 1-1/4 inches wide.
Bake for 25 minutes or until firm and light brown. Remove from oven and cool for about 15 minutes.
Transfer logs to a cutting board.
Use a very sharp serrated knife to cut each roll diagonally into 1/2-inch slices. Place slices, cut sides down, on prepared baking sheets. Bake for 15 minutes more or until crisp and golden brown. Cool and enjoy immediately or store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a month.