A few months ago, I discovered The Great British Baking Show on Netflix. I was immediately obsessed, and happily binge-watched the entire season. While I was mourning the end of the show, I did a bit of research and found that the show is distributed by BBC, is actually called The Great British Bake Off, and that there are SIX SEASONS of it. What??? Netflix fail. Naturally, I quickly watched the remaining 5 seasons.
The show features a line-up of contestants that compete for the title of best amateur baker. Other than discovering new techniques and ideas for baked goods I now want to try, (hot water pastry crust, grissini, something with rose or lavender…) I love the way the show is run. Although it is competitive, the contestants are very supportive of each other, which is something I don’t often see on food shows here in the United States. The Great British Bake Off has become one of my favorite shows, and I highly recommend it.
One of the best parts about watching the show was how indignant Alejandro got about the British terminology. “Those aren’t biscuits!!!! They’re cookies!!!” I have to admit, some of the terminology did throw me off. I didn’t realize that “broiling” is referred to as “grilling” in the UK, and I’ve had to get used to looking up equivalents for ingredients such as “castor sugar” and “strong flour”.
Judging on the show is carried out by Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood (yes, those are their real names), who are English celebrity bakers I wasn’t previously familiar with. I think they are the perfect fit. Mary is sweet and often a bit sassy, and Paul is not timid at all about voicing his opinions. I have to admit though, his snarky comment about how terrible American pies are was a bit hurtful… Nevertheless, he is good at what he does, and the recipe I’m sharing today is one of his own. It is the second biscotti recipe I’ve tried, and like the Cranberry Pistachio Biscotti I made earlier this year, I absolutely loved them! They are chocked full of hazelnuts, have a light orange flavor, and of course, pair wonderfully with coffee.
Note: I rarely measure out my ingredients by weight, but whenever I do I wonder why I don’t more often. It really is more accurate, and doesn’t take any more effort. The few times I’ve had to use conversions, I’ve found King Arthur Flour’s Ingredient Weight Chart to be the most helpful.
9 oz. (~2 cups) all-purpose flour
9 oz. (~1¼ cups) granulated sugar
½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
zest of one orange
3 eggs, beaten
7 oz. chopped hazelnuts
1. Preheat oven to 350 ºF and line a large baking sheet with parchment.
2. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and zest. Mix in eggs until a dough forms and all flour is incorporated. Stir in hazelnuts.
3. Divide dough in half and form two 3 x 10-inch logs on parchment-lined sheet. Bake for 25 minutes.
4. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly. Cut each log into ¾-inch thick slices and arrange slices on the baking sheet, cut side down.
5. Return the sheet to the oven and cook for an additional 8-12 minutes, until biscotti are golden brown. Cool on a wire rack.
Yield: about 30 biscotti
(Recipe slightly adapted from Paul Hollywood)