The coconut caramel wasn’t burnt, per say, but it was well past the colour it needed to be to make light tan kaya jam, and it had to be light tan. So into a jar it went and into the refrigerator to be worried about another day. A new batch of caramel was made for the kaya, which in turn was made into bread pudding for photos, and all was well with the world.
But that jar of caramel kept staring at me each time I opened the fridge. It knew darn well that it was only moments away from the bin, we don’t use caramel after all, but the same way I keep jars I couldn’t quite toss out the caramel inside the jar either. There had to be a way to use it…
A few weeks prior I had received an email from bloggy-mate Claire asking if I would like to be part of a foodie-secret-Santa exchange. Now as much as I like working from home, the holidays are always hard — no office Christmas parties, no company-dime client lunches, no Secret Santa exchanges — so of course I said yes to Claire.
As an added bonus I was secure in the knowledge that whomever she included was bound to send me something much better than the gag gifts and scented candles usually handed out at office exchanges.
I thought for ages about what to make and send to my three recipients then one day before it had to be posted inspiration struck. Gingerbread.
Gingerbread is Christmas to me, all warm and spiced and homey. We used to bake an enormous batch of gingerbread men each year, hanging (most of them) on the tree amongst hand-strung garlands of popcorn and cranberries (yes, seriously, hello crafty Christmas) knowing that by Christmas Day we would be up at my grandmothers house eating another batch fresh from her oven.
But I couldn’t just do Gingerbread Cookies, I had to try something different. I’ve for whatever reason had biscotti on the brain recently so biscotti it would be — and instead of sugar in the dough I could just use that leftover coconut caramel — how very perfect.
Well it was perfect until I over baked the whole batch and ended up with a lovely pile of charred tasting, hard as rock, biscotti. Damn. Luckily there was enough caramel left to make a second batch and they turned out nothing short of perfect. So good in fact that I made the dough again and baked it as soft drop cookies the following day for a cookie swap event. I may be in love.
I of course couldn’t leave well enough alone with one goodie so I whipped up a batch of Gingerbread Syrup too — but you’ll have to wait a few days for that one!
Have you ever received a brilliant — or terribly terrible — Secret Santa (Kris Kringle / Non-denominational Politically Correct Office Holiday Gift Exchange) gift?
Coconut Caramel Gingerbread Biscotti
Sweet and spiced this biscotti simply screams Christmas. Wrap in bags as gifts or just keep them all for yourself, I won’t tell anyone.
Makes 30 pieces
- 3 c spelt flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 2 tsp powdered ginger
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp each ground cloves and allspice
- 1/4 c chopped crystallized ginger
- 1/2 c chopped nuts — almonds, macadamias, walnuts or a combination
- 3/4 c coconut caramel (see recipe below) or raw sugar
- 2 Tbsp molasses
- 2 Tbsp coconut oil
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp grated fresh ginger
Sift dry ingredients into a large bowl, stir through chopped crystalized ginger and nuts. Whisk remaining ingredients together in a large jug. Pour wet over dry and mix to combine well.
Batter will be very sticky, refrigerate for 15 mins while you preheat oven to 180 C (350 F).
On a large baking paper lined tray, form chilled dough into two rough log shapes — about 27 x 7 cm (10.5 x 2.5 inches). Use wet fingers to smooth into shape making sure to leave a bit of room between logs to allow for spreading as they bake.
Bake for 25 mins until just firm, cool on tray 10 mins then move to a rack to cool completely. Slice cooled cookie logs on an angle, about 1 generous cm (1/2 inch) thick. Place a rack over your baking tray and set biscotti in a single layer, cut sides up, on the rack.
Bake again — this time in a 150 C (300 F) oven — for 10 mins. Flip and bake a further 10 minutes until biscotti are dry. They will continue to firm up as they cool so be careful not to overbake or burn them.
Dip in coffee, tea or pretty much any other hot beverage of your choice.
vegan // vegetarian // dairy-free // soy-free // refined sugar-free
- 1 1/4 c raw sugar
- 1 cup coconut cream, warmed
In a heavy based pan over medium heat gently warm raw sugar. As the edges begin to melt pull in towards the centre with a metal spoon, continuing until all sugar is melted and mixture is smooth. Do not step away, really. Watch caramel very carefully and the moment it starts to smoke pull it off the heat.
Immediately pour in warm coconut cream and quickly stir to combine. The mixture will hiss and spit, you may want to wear an oven-mitt on your stirring hand. Stir until smooth, returning to heat briefly if necessary to melt any lumps.
Pour into a sterilised jar and store in fridge. Makes approximately 1 1/2 cups. Use cooled coconut caramel to make Gingerbread Biscottti.
vegan // vegetarian // gluten-free // dairy-free // soy-free // refined sugar-free
Proof that Secret Santa exchanges are better when food bloggers are involved. Chocolate Crackles and Rosemary Lemon Salt from Claire, Bread & Butter Pickles and Dukkah from Lizzie and Spiced Cranberry Sauce from Charlie Louie. Not a scented candle or blinking reindeer antler in sight. Thanks ladies!