Salt and sweet, for me it’s a life long love affair. Despite the fact that I’m as British as bangers and mash, my childhood lunch of choice was most definitely the all-American peanut butter and jam sandwich, PB and J if you will / must. (I’m sorry, I just can’t call it jelly, you have to draw the line somewhere!)
As I’ve matured (umm…) and developed a mildly crazy peanut phobia, so my tastes have evolved, but my salty/sweet love has not abated. I could eat chocolate covered pretzels until they’re coming out of my ears, but my most recent obsession is the salted chocolate chip cookie.
Having previously whipped up a very tasty batch of salted pistachio and dark chocolate cookies, I was keen to find out whether a salted biscotti would work equally well. And let me tell you, salted chocolate seems to work in just about anything!
Earlier this year, my lovely man went on a boys weekend to Reykjavik. Playing to my foodie inclinations, he returned with a little packet of the most marvellous Black Sand Salt. Apparently, before a meal in an Icelandic restaurant, the bread and butter arrives with a little sprinkling of black salt. Although the combination of sea salt, seaweed, kelp and charcoal that goes into Black Sand Salt doesn’t sound that amazing, it turns out that it’s utterly scrumptious!
However, biscotti are obviously intended for dunking in strong, Italian coffee and I can understand that a lot of people wouldn’t want residual salt in their coffee, so I produced half a batch with and half without the salt. Personally I don’t have a problem with a little bit of salt in my coffee, but maybe that’s just me!
The pistachios should be kept whole in this recipe, so when you cut the biscotti into slices you chop through a whole nut, leaving a pretty cross section. It’s also best to use freshly shelled nuts, as the ready shelled type tend to be a little soft. I recommend that you do what I did, whack on last night’s Strictly Come Dancing and just shell away! I would say it took me about 5 dances (plus preamble) for me to complete my task. Totally worth it.
These biscotti are everything I need from a salty/sweet combination. sweet dark chocolate chunks, savoury pistachios and a little tang of salt. They’re super crunchy and amazing dunked in a nice hot cuppa. Best of all, they’ll keep for ages so there’s no excuse not to have a batch in the cupboard!
Salted Pistachio & Dark Chocolate Biscotti
Base recipe from BBC Food
Makes around 20
250g plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
250g caster sugar
3 free-range eggs
200g whole, freshly-shelled pistachio nuts
100g dark chocolate, chopped into largish chunks
A sprinkling of black sand salt or the sea salt of your choice (optional)
Preheat the oven to 160 C / 150 C Fan / 325 F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
Mix together the flour, baking powder and sugar. Add the eggs one at a time and mix thoroughly to form a sticky dough. Now add the pistachios and chocolate chunks and stir through.
Flour your work surface, split the dough in half and roll into 2 sausages. Put the sausages into the baking sheet with a decent amount of space between them, they will spread. Sprinkle one or both of the rolls with the salt.
Bake them in the oven for 30 minutes, until they are a light golden colour. Remove from the oven and let them cool slightly on a wire rack.
Once cool enough to handle, slice the rolls on a chopping board into 2cm (1/2 inch) slices and return them to the baking sheet, with the cross section facing up. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes, flip each slice over and cook for a further 15 minutes, until they are golden brown.
Cool on a wire rack and then dunk away!