Making edible gifts for people who don't eat certain things can be a tricky task. This biscotti was a complete experiment, concocted for a dear friend who has recently abandoned the pleasures of the flesh (and its related products) for health reasons. I thought they were pretty good, but I knew I was on to something when she asked me for the recipe. You don't have to be a vegan to enjoy these, but people who prefer not to eat dairy products or eggs will be especially fond of them.
Venetia's Vegan Biscotti
These are a good Christmas present to make with little helpers. Vary the dried fruit and nuts to suit your tastes and storecupboard. Other good combinations are the ever-festive white chocolate, cranberry and pistachios, or go troppo with dark chocolate, dried pineapple and Brazil nuts.
1 1/2 very ripe bananas, mashed to a puree
1 tsp vanilla essence or rum
155g (1 cup) plain flour
100g (1/2 cup) brown sugar
1 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
75g (about 1/2 cup) whole almonds, roughly chopped
75g (about 1/2 cup) crystallised ginger, roughly chopped
100g dark chocolate (good quality stuff is usually dairy-free), roughly chopped
Heat the oven to 180C and line a baking tray with baking paper.
Put the bananas and vanilla or rum in a large bowl and mash to a smooth puree. Sift in the dry ingredients and stir briefly, then tip in the almonds, ginger and chocolate. Mix to a dough, then shape into a log and place on the prepared baking tray.
Bake for 25 minutes, then take out of the oven and leave to cool for 10 minutes. Turn the oven to 150C.
Using a sharp, serrated knife, cut the log into 1cm slices. Put the slices on the baking tray and bake for another 15 minutes. Turn them over halfway through. They should feel dry to touch when they are done, but not completely dried out.
Let them cool on a rack before storing in an airtight jar. Very good dunked into a glass of dessert wine.
Have a great weekend, everyone. How's the Christmas shopping going? x