THE ISLAND COOK

MINT CHOC & NUT BISCOTTI

These sound like luxury-end nosh don't they, but I made them from odds and ends: the Brazil nuts and precious few raisins from a bargain bag of mixed nuts and raisins (see the Clementine, Date & Nut Muffins for what happened to the rest of the nuts), together with half a bag of Aero Peppermint Bubbles that were going cheap. You can use whatever bits and bobs you may come across – orange chocolate would work a treat, perhaps with leftover mixed peel in place of the raisins or crystallized ginger, finely chopped. Naughty though the chocolate is, it's a minuscule amount, especially divided between so many biscuits, and there is no added fat (I make no apologies for the beneficially oily nuts). Plus the sugar content is modest – using coarse demerara makes a little go a long way.

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Makes about 26

40g roughly chopped Brazil nuts or other unsalted nuts
175 g plain flour but 1 tbsp replaced with 1 tbsp cocoa powder
50g demerara sugar
40g mint chocolate, roughly chopped
20g raisins, chopped if large
3/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
pinch of low-sodium salt
1 large egg
1 large egg white
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat your oven to 180°C/fan 160°C/Gas 4. Heat a dry frying pan over a medium-high heat and cook the nuts, shaking the pan frequently, for about 5 minutes until lightly toasted. Leave to cool. Meanwhile, line a large baking sheet with baking paper.

In a bowl, stir the nuts together with all the other dry ingredients. In a jug, beat together the wet ingredients with a fork. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ones and stir with a wooden spoon, then bring the mixture together with your hands – it will be quite firm and dry. Knead lightly a few times on a floured work surface. Shape into a long, flattened log shape about 2.5cm thick. Transfer to the baking sheet. Bake for about 25 minutes until lightly browned and firm. Sit the baking sheet on a wire rack for 10 minutes, discarding the paper when cool enough to handle, and reduce the oven to 160°C/fan 140°C/Gas 3. Using a bread knife, cut the loaf on a slight diagonal into 1cm-thick slices and arrange on the baking sheet (dry it off with kitchen paper) in a single layer. Bake for a further 10 minutes on each side, then transfer to the wire rack and to cool. Store in an airtight container – they will keep well for a couple of weeks.