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Edible Gifts For Christmas: Biscotti With Dried Apricots & Cranberries

Biscotti are not like other biscuits. They are baked twice so that they dry out and are generally dipped into dessert wine. Enjoy a glass with biscotti while sitting around the fire over Christmas or simply dip them into a cup of coffee. They will hold for a few months if kept in an airtight container.

500g plain flour
500g unrefined caster sugar (this is important for the flavour – it’s available in most supermarkets)
1 tbsp baking powder
5 eggs, lightly beaten
200g dried apricots, sliced
100g plump sultanas
100g pitted dates, chopped
100g dried cranberries
100g whole blanched almonds chopped in three or whole pistachios
zest of 2 lemons

Preheat the oven to 180°C, 160°C Fan, 350°F, Gas 4.

Mix the flour, sugar and baking powder in a large bowl. Beat the eggs together in a small bowl and add the eggs bit by bit to the flour mixture. You may not need all of the egg, so hold back the last bit. The dough appears very dry at first and then suddenly becomes very soft. Add the fruit, nuts and lemon zest and knead into the mixture.

Turn the dough out onto a heavily floured surface. Divide into 6 and roll into sausage shapes about 3cm in diameter. Place, at least 6cm apart, on baking trays lined with baking parchment or a silicone mat. Very lightly flatten each roll with your hand. Bake until golden brown, 20–30 minutes. Remove from the oven and leave for 10 minutes to cool and firm up. Reduce the oven temperature to 140°C, 120°C Fan, 275°F, Gas 1.

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Gently remove the biscotti from the tray and place on a chopping board. With a serrated knife, cut the biscotti into 1.5cm thick slices and lay them side by side on the baking tray. Return them to the oven and cook for 12 minutes, then turn the biscotti over and cook for a further 10 minutes, until they are very pale golden. Do not let them get too dark in colour. Cool on wire racks and then store in an airtight container. The biscotti will harden when cold.

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