Cardamom and cacao nib biscotti

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This delightfully crunchy cacao nib biscotti recipe is a fabulous bake, combining the intense nibs into an Italian classic for a beautifully intense hit of flavour. Cacao nibs are great for baking thanks to their crunch, and offer a healthier alternative to chocolate chips.

First published in 2016

Food plays a very important part of my holidays. Whether it’s a weekend outing or a family holiday my research always starts with the food. This year we’ve chosen Italy. We don’t have very long so rather than choose a resort we are taking in the cities of Verona, Milan and Venice. I am of course excited about the sights and shopping but most of all I want to eat.

Before I go away, I always try to get my children accustomed to the food they’ll be eating when we are away. We go to the library and take out recipe books as well as guide books. We’ll make a range of dishes – some familiar and some not so. It’s a really good way to start preparing and getting excited for holidays.

As a vegetarian it’s hard eating out when there are no English menus. Especially when you want to get off the beaten track a little and the menus don’t have any English translations. That’s a great thing. It means the clientele is mainly local. But it’s problematic when you don’t speak the language very well.

This is why I love the coffee shops. I’m not overly fussed about the coffee but I love the range of mini desserts and biscuits they have on the counter. I can point to something and know it won’t have any meat in it. Each stop heralds a different treat. The range on display almost always has varieties of biscotti. These are twice baked, usually oblong-shaped biscuits that are perfect for dipping. Either into Vin Santo or coffee.

There are so many combinations but generally there is a dried fruit component and a nut component. I’ve used just cacao nibs in this version but I also liked a batch I made with dried cranberries. You can play around adding whatever spices, fruit or nuts you fancy.




Cardamom and cacao nib biscotti


Preheat the oven to 170°C/gas mark 3.5. Grease a baking tray
Whisk the egg and sugar until it’s light and frothy. This takes about 5 minutes using a stand mixer or handheld whisk. It should leave a ribbon like trail
Add the dry ingredients and combine well to form a sticky ball of dough. Flour your hands and then shape the dough into a log about 30cm long. Place the log onto the baking tray, flatten the top slightly and bake in the oven for 20 minutes
Remove from the oven and slice the log into 1cm wide pieces. Place each piece back on the baking tray and bake again for about 10 minutes
Leave the pieces to cool completely. You can eat them immediately or store in an airtight tin for about a week
First published in 2016

Urvashi finds food, baking, cooking and eating a therapeutic relief from every day work and family life.

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