Monday, 12 December 2011

The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap (and Blog Hijack) - Chocolate and Ginger Biscotti

Well, here it is - the recipe inspired by the event which prompted a blog-takeover! I spotted this event when it was mentioned by one of the many food blogs that I read (my apologies that I can't actually remember which one). I immediately checked out the main page, and was rather disappointed when I saw that it was open for US residents only - but then read a little further and found that enough UK people had signed up for me to participate - the only problem was that I didn't officially have my own blog - though I had already contributed the technical (cooking!) side of a number of recipes for Mr Soup.

A quick chat with Mr Soup, and with a promise that I would write more than just the cookie recipe (and that he could partake of the cookies arriving in our postbox!), and we were A for Away.

The excitement started when I received my matches - 3 new blogs to read, and suddenly the realisation that 36 cookies needed to be baked - luckily all the same recipe.

My matches were Bob at Foodie Bob's Blog (@FoodieBob), Sarah at Zenzeroni (@zenzeroni) and Julie at Angler's Rest (@JulieGoucher).

In the interim I'd seen a competition by Nelly over at Nelly's Cupcakes using Hotel Chocolat chocolate coated almonds (competition now closed) to make biscotti and I was intrigued both by how easy the recipe seemed, and the endless possible ingredients!

A few experiments later, and I decided on chocolate biscotti, with crystallised ginger and chocolate chips (chocolate and ginger is one of my favourite combinations - only slightly behind chocolate and coffee, chocolate and nuts ... see a pattern emerging?), and for a final touch, white chocolate drizzles. So here is the recipe :

Triple Chocolate and Ginger Biscotti

200g flour
75g cocoa
150g caster sugar
1.5 tsp baking powder
sparse 1/2 tsp salt
3 large eggs (if you don't have large eggs, it's worth using 4 - beat them together and use slightly less than the full four - one of my trial runs didn't rise enough when I used too little egg)
1 1/2 tsp ginger syrup (I used stem ginger preserved in syrup and used the syrup - if you use crystallised ginger instead, just use some vanilla extract instead)
85g chopped preserved ginger
50g chocolate chips

Sieve and mix the dry ingredients, ginger and chocolate chips together. Beat the eggs with the ginger syrup/vanilla essence and mix into the dry ingredients. The mix should be slightly stiff and not wet.

Form the batter into 2 logs on a greased, lined backing tray, and bake at 180ºC for 25 minutes.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a cooling rack :

Once the logs have cooled enough to handle, cut them into slices a bit less than 1 cm wide, and lay these out on a lined baking tray.

Pop them back into the oven for another 10-15 minutes (you'll need to judge this - too short and the biscuits will be a bit chewy, too long and they'll be a bit too hard - depends on how thick you've cut them too).
Again, let them cool on a rack, and once they are cooled , melt some white chocolate in a double boiler (I use a mixing bowl that fits into a pot with the bottom suspended about halfway down the pot). Then use a spoon to generously drizzle the white chocolate over the biscuits. Let it set, melt the chocolate again if necessary, flip the biscuits over, and drizzle the other side.

This was a wonderful experience, not least because of the yummy biscuits I received. The sense of connection with six other people, knowing the care that went into choosing a recipe, baking, packing and sending the biscuits off was really special - I honestly can't decide if I enjoyed receiving or sending them more. Luckily I don't have to choose because I think it was the combination - receiving my biscuits in the post made sending the one's I'd made out that much more meaningful and fun!

My first batch of biscuits - Lebkuchen from Michelle at 'A Mum who loves to bake' were waiting for me when I got home from a particularly stressful and busy day at work. Mr Soup was away for work, but when I opened the parcel and saw the beautiful biscuits that had been made for me and sent with such care it turned my day around! They were lovely, beautifully decorated and I particularly enjoyed the slight touch of lemon which set of the spiciness beautifully - I can understand why she had to make a second batch for her children!

The second batch arrived on a Saturday, and were just perfect for an afternoon cup of tea after a big shop. I love peanut butter biscuits - and these from Amy at the Weekly Bake Off were fantastic - I don't know why I've never thought of adding chocolate chips to peanut butter biscuits, but I will be from now on!

My final batch of biscuits arrived when I was at work, and I got an email from Mr Soup telling me that there was a Christmas-y parcel waiting for me - I couldn't wait to get home and see what was inside. These were perhaps the most well packaged parcel I've ever received! It was a bit like playing pass-the-parcel with layers and layers of bubble wrap - but the 'present' a the end was definitely worth it - 2 lovely parcels of 'Nutella cookies' - hazelnut biscuits dipped in chocolate and chopped nuts from Helen at Bakery Cottage. Mr Soup took one parcel off to work where they were very happily received. (The bubble wrap has already been used for wrapping Christmas presents!). Helen was also responsible for our first Christmas card of the year - a lovely start to the festive season.

We have been promised (!) that the Cookie Swap will happen again next year - I will definitely be participating again, and looking forward to connecting with another 6 wonderful people. If you're keen to join us, you can sign up here, and maybe you'll be getting some biscuits from me next year! A big thank you to the organisers, Julie and Lindsay - it was a blast, and if you need help organising the UK side of things next year, I'm happy to help!


  1. These were fabulous. I have jotted down the recipe & plan to make them. Thanks so much. Happy Christmas!

  2. i am really please you enjoyed my biscuits. Looking forward to giving your recipe ago.

  3. Will definitely try these and will dry them in the sun ovens!

  4. Clear, informative, simple. Could I send you some e-hugs?