Thursday, November 19

White chocolate & macadamia biscuits


If there's one thing Australia has brought to the world it's the macadamia nut. The macadamia nut is without a doubt my favourite nut; it's buttery and tasty without being overwhelming. It also goes amazingly well with white chocolate. Actually, it goes amazingly well with pretty much anything.

As a child we had a macadamia tree on our property in upper northern New South Wales. The macadamia tree is one of the two things I miss about living up there; the other is the mulberry tree. As I child we would climb the macadmia tree and pick of the nuts. I distinctly remember a large portion of the nuts being rotten when we cracked them open but when we did find good ones it was completely worth it!


Unfortunately neither macadamias nor mulberries grow where I now live. Luckily macamdias can easily be purchased and I do so regularly. Mulberries are less easy to find and, when I do find them, too damaged looking to buy.

White chocolate & macadamia biscuits

(adapted from Simple Essentials: Chocolate by Donna Hay)
makes 22-30 biscuits

125g (4 oz) butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
220g (1 cup) white sugar
1 egg
150g (1 cup) plain flour, sifted
150g (1 cup) self-raising flour, sifted
140g (1 cup) macadamia nuts, chopped
200g (7 oz) white chocolate, chopped
50ml (1/4 cup) water, extra

Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F), grease and line two large cookie trays.

Place the butter, vanilla, and sugar in a bowl and beat until light and creamy. Add the egg and beat to combine. Add the flours, nuts, and chocolate and beat to combine. If the mixture is too sandy and does not form a dough, gradually add the water until the mixture is the right consistency to roll.

Roll 1 or 2 tablespoon sized balls, place balls on baking trays about 5cm (2") apart; flatten with the palm of your hand.

Bake biscuits for 12-15 minutes or until lightly golden. The biscuits will be soft when removed from the oven, cool on trays.

Sunday, November 8

Vegan cranberry & almond biscotti


I'm not very good at vegan baking, in fact every time I start to make something vegan dairy ends up sneaking in in some way or another. I'll accidentally use milk instead of soy milk, I'll choose chocolate with milk in it, I'll make a frosting with butter - you get the gist. I'm not a vegan so it's not really a worry to me.

I've been seeing a number of recipes for vegan biscotti in various books and on various websites recently. In my mind biscotti is something that has to contain eggs, so when I saw a recipe for vegan almond biscotti I decided to give it a shot. I even used soy milk, though I can't stand the taste myself. Once baked, you'd hardly know it was there.


Vegan cranberry & almond biscotti

(adapted from Veganomicon)
makes 30

80ml (1/3 cup) almond or soy milk
2 tablespoons ground flaxseed
150g (3/4 cup) sugar
125ml (1/2 cup) canola oil
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
245g (1 2/3 cup) all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cornflour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
40g (1/2 cup) died cranberries
60g (1/2 cup) almonds, chopped

Preheat over to 180°C (350°F), lightly grease a large baking sheet.

In a large bowl whisk together the milk and flax seeds for about 30 seconds. Add the sugar, oil, and extracts and mix until smooth. Sift in the flour, cornflour, baking powder, and salt.

Stir to mix all the ingredients, and just as a firm dough starts to form knead in the cranberries and almonds. Knead the dought briefly.

On the baking sheet, form the dough into a rectangle about 30 cm (12") long and 10 cm (10") wide. Bake dough for 28 minutes or until lightly puffed.

Remove the tray from the oven and allow to cool for a minimum of 30 minutes or until dough is firm.

Turn the own heat up to 190°C (375°F).

Transfer the cooled dough to a chopping board and using a large, heavy knife slice the dough into 1 cm (1/3") pieces. Do not use a sawing motion when slicing the dough, simply push down on the knife in a single motion.

Place the slices back on the baking sheet and bake for 12-15 minutes or until at the desired level of crispness. Flip biscotti halfway through baking.

Cool on slices trays for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack. When completely cool, store in an airtight container.