On my recent trip to Italy I was expecting to go mad for all the pizza, pasta and gelato and of course I absolutely did. I intuitively knew I was going explore more pastries than I had done on previous trips, but I wasn’t expecting to be blown away by biscotti. In Florence at the Mercato Centrale I encountered a dedicated biscotti shop and went a little overboard trying out all the incredible flavours. From white chocolate to orange and almond to seemingly everything in between. Biscotti became a feature on my entire holiday and it was the perfect snack to carry around as its sturdy and helps ease you through long train trips. With this recipe for biscotti I’ve added all the flavours of a hot cross bun because who doesn’t like spice & raisins in their biscotti. I mean why not, it’s Easter next soon after all.

Hot cross bun flavoured biscotti recipe

Hot cross bun flavoured biscotti recipe

Hot cross bun flavoured biscotti recipe

I use my friend Carolie De Kosters recipe from her ‘Home Bakes’ cookbook (published by Lannice Snyman in 2001) as my base. This book is one of my baking ‘bibles’. Carolie and I chat from time via Facebook and she was telling me about the biscotti she was making (she lives in New Zealand now) and I mentioned I wanted to do a hot cross bun version. This was a good place to start.

I used 2 whole eggs vs. the 1 egg and 1 egg white in the original recipe and added about 100gms more flour. I didn’t chill the dough for as long as she suggested and I added all the hot cross bun flavoured bits. I adore nuts in biscotti so next time I would definitely add a few almonds to the mix. I’ve used mixture of dried cranberries, dried current and raisins. These are fairly spicy, so if you want to make them milder drop the mixed spice to about 1/4 teaspoon. 

These biscotti have a finer crumb so you don’t feel like you could crack a tooth on them and this is a lovely base recipe. I can’t wait to experiment with a few more flavour variants to bring back memories from my magical trip last year. I’m thinking double chocolate chip and an orange and almond one. watch this space. 

Recipe – makesa lot

Hot cross bun biscotti
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Ingredients
  1. 2 large free-range eggs
  2. ½ cup sunflower oil
  3. 1 tsp vanilla extract
  4. 150gms sugar
  5. 300gms flour
  6. pinch salt
  7. 1 tsp cinnamon
  8. ½ tsp mixed spice
  9. Finely grated zest of an orange
  10. 1 ½ tsp baking powder
  11. 3 Tbsp dried candied citrus peel
  12. 150 gms raisins / currents / cranberries (all dried obvs)
Instructions
  1. Beat the egg, oil, vanilla and sugar with an electric mixer until well combined.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients and briefly mix briefly until to you have a sticky dough.
  3. Empty the dough onto a floured work surface and knead until its is smooth and no longer sticky (add more flour as needed).
  4. Dived the dough into two and roll each half into a fat roll about 30cm long. Place these, spaced apart on a lined baking tray and then put in the fridge or freezer (this cools the dough down which prevents it from spreading – you could do this over night)
  5. While the dough is chilling, preheat the oven to 180C / 350F
  6. Place the tray in the oven and immediately reduce the temperature to 160C / 325F and bake for 20 – 30 minutes and until the biscotti are lightly golden and firm. Remove and allow to cool slightly. Reduce the oven temperature to 100C / 212F
  7. Cut the biscotti on the diagonal into slices about 1.5cm thick and lay these back on the lined baking sheet next to each other.
  8. Return this to the oven and bake for 15 minutes. Place a cloth in the door to keep it slightly ajar and then bake for a further 15 minutes. Remove the cloth and turn off the oven. Allow the biscotti to dry out in the oven until it is cool.
Notes
  1. Add extra fruit and nuts if you like a lot of bits in your biscotti
Drizzle and Dip https://drizzleanddip.com/

A few picture of biscotti taken in Florence and a few where I helped make it at El Gelso Bianco  in Tuscany

Biscotti in Florence, Italy

Biscotti in Florence, Italy

Two days at Al Gelso Bianco in Tuscany

Two days at Al Gelso Bianco in Tuscany

Two days at Al Gelso Bianco in Tuscany

 

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13 Comments

  1. Yummy! These look right up my alley with the hot cross bun flavouring.

  2. Sam

    Thanks Lori, Yes Im all over the fruit and spice and biscotti are my best (not overly sweet) x

  3. Karen Pulvirenti

    I’m guessing you return the biscotti to the lower 100 degree oven once sliced, to dry out?

  4. Sam

    Hi and Oops! I left off the last few steps. Ive added them in now 🙂

  5. Linda Hemphill

    Oh Sam!!!! Memories of cycling in Italy with my love, stopping for espresso and our baggie of biscotti!! You are 100% correct, they do withstand nicely!! Love the Easter twist. Am SO making these!!! Look forward to the orange and almond twist 😉 thank you, Linda xx

  6. Sam

    Thanks Linda and glad you approve 🙂 I often find biscotti quote expensive and it is really easy to make. Also great to make for gifts.

  7. these biscotti sound lovely…i am wondering about spice mix….i dont use mixes, but have a very active spice cupboard, so maybe an idea of what is in the one you use?

  8. Thanks for this recipe. And yes- what is in your mixed spice ? From the states – just checking to see if I’m adding the right spices.

  9. Sam

    HI Patty – I got this off Wikipedia and its pretty accurate:- maybe use pumkin spice otherwise a pinch off all spice and a tiny pinch of nutmeg

    Mixed spice, also called pudding spice, is a British[1] blend of sweet spices, similar to the pumpkin pie spice used in the United States. Cinnamon is the dominant flavour, with nutmeg and allspice. It is often used in baking, or to complement fruits or other sweet foods.

    The term “mixed spice” has been used for this blend of spices in cookbooks at least as far back as 1828[2] and probably much earlier.

    Mixed spice is very similar to a Dutch spice mix called koekkruiden or speculaaskruiden, which are used mainly to spice food associated with the Dutch Sinterklaas celebration at December 6. Koekkruiden contain cardamom

  10. These biscotti look so delicious and sound absolutely amazing! Can’t wait to try this recipe ?

  11. I made this biscotti yesterday and had it with coffee! It was the best combination I have ever tried. I’ll admit, I did not have sunflower oil so I used the usual canola oil for making it but it turned out great. I loved the flavor. There are so many I can have them again tomorrow morning for breakfast.

  12. Sam

    HI Susan, Im so glad you enjoyed them and Canola oil is perfectly fine too.

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