roasted pecan, coffee and chocolate biscotti

belinda jeffery's recipes

My recipes are easy. They’re for the food I like to eat. Simple, fresh, full of flavour and just a bit different. You certainly don't need any great cooking skills for them, you just need to like food and like eating – just like me. The rest is simple.

roasted pecan, coffee and chocolate biscotti

These lovely biscotti have a really wonderful texture – crunchy, but surprisingly delicate too. I usually make them a week or two ahead of Christmas as they keep well in tightly sealed jars for at least 4 weeks, so they last into the New Year as well. However, I would have to say that I’ve realised over time that’s probably wishful thinking on my part, as I don’t think I’ve ever had any left by the 1st of January!

1 3/4 cups (270g) plain flour
3/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons instant espresso coffee powder or granules
80g roasted pecans, halved
120g good-quality dark chocolate, chopped into little chunks (or use good quality chocolate buttons)
125g unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup (220 g) caster sugar
1 extra-large or 2 small eggs, lightly beaten (you need 75ml all up - see note below)
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

# You need 75ml of beaten egg for this recipe, which is a bit awkward to measure. The easiest way I’ve found to do this, is to lightly beat the egg/s and measure out 75ml in a glass measuring jug.

Preheat your oven to 180C and line a large oven tray with baking paper.

Tip the flour, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder and salt into a bowl. Sift the coffee into the bowl through a fine sieve, using the back of a spoon to rub it through the mesh if it doesn't all go through. Whisk all these ingredients together with a balloon whisk for 1 minute. Add the pecans and chocolate and mix them in well to coat them with the flour. Set the mixture aside.

In an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the butter and sugar together, scraping down the sides occasionally, for 5 minutes, or until they're light and fluffy. Drizzle in the beaten egg, a little at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix in the vanilla. Add the reserved flour mixture and stir it in with a spoon or spatula until a soft dough forms.

Scrape the dough out onto a board and divide it in half. Roll each half into a log shape about 26cm long. (If the dough is a bit too soft to roll, chill it briefly.) Carefully transfer the logs to a the prepared oven tray. Make sure you leave at least 6 - 7cm all around each log as they will flatten and spread in the oven.

Put the tray in the oven and bake the logs for 35 minutes or until they're golden. Remove them from the oven and leave them to cool until they’re just warm to touch. (I should warn you that the loaves look rather flat and cracked at this stage, so please don't think that you've done something wrong!).

While the loaves are cooling, reduce the oven temperature to 160C, and line 2 more oven trays with baking paper.

When the logs are warm and still a little soft, cut them into 7mm thick slices with a sharp knife (don't cut them too thinly or they will break). Hold the logs firmly around the sides as you slice them to help prevent them crumbling. (Some slices will inevitably crumble a bit, but they often join up on the second baking...and I figure those that don’t are the cook’s treats!).

Lay the slices, with a cut side down, onto the prepared trays. Return them to the oven and bake the biscotti until they're crisp and golden brown, about 15 minutes, turning them over halfway through the cooking time.

When they're ready, remove the trays from the oven and leave the biscotti to firm up a little, then carefully transfer them to wire racks to cool completely. (They will be quite delicate so be gentle as you do this.) When they're cool, store the biscotti in airtight containers.

Makes 50-60 biscotti.


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