Sunday, 9 December 2012


I can't believe Christmas is now less than a month away. Work has been crazy busy over the past few weeks and November simply came and went without me realizing it.

Between work and holidays travelling, I only have about 10 days to get all my Christmas preparations sorted and that includes: 

- Decorating the house
- Organising presents (which includes working out who I need to by presents for) 
- Organising Christmas Eve celebrations at my place 
- Ordering the turkey! (we're not a leg of ham household) 

So this weekend was spent sorting out the first 2 items on my list. About a month ago I was invited to participate in a "product talk" by Nuffnang on Lucky nuts. They sent me a big pack of nuts products to try at home together with a list of Christmas inspired recipes. I decided to make rather than buy my Christmas presents and use the Lucky ingredients to make cookies that I'll give to family and friends. 

It's the perfect gift - gender and age neutral, suits even people who don't eat biscuits, as everyone will be hosting at some stage of the festive season and cookies are great to serve with coffee. There you go - Christmas shopping sorted! 

Together with my awesome baker sister-in-law, we made  almond biscotti and hazelnut shortbread. I really enjoyed the biscotti. We added a lot of lemon zest to it which you could taste, but still didn't overpower the almonds. Hubby liked the shortbread better (I suspect due to the addition of nutella!). Both recipes were pretty easy to make and it took us about 3 hours to do everything. 

Almond biscotti

Almond biscotti recipe 

1 cup (220g) caster sugar
2 eggs
1 lemon
1 cup (150g) plain flour
1 cup (150g) Lucky nuts almond meal 
1/2 tsp baking powder
150g Lucky nuts almonds 

Preheat oven to 170°C. Line a large baking tray with baking paper.
Place sugar, eggs and grated lemon rind in a large bowl. Beat with electric beaters until pale and thick.
Fold in sifted flour, baking powder and almonds, then use your hands to lightly knead dough on a floured work surface until the dough is smooth.
Divide the mixture in half. Form 2 long logs about 25cm long x 5cm wide and place on prepared baking tray, leaving space between logs. 

Bake for 20-25 minutes until the dough is firm to the touch and slightly golden. 
Remove from the oven and set aside to cool completely (about an hour).

Preheat over to 140oC
Once dough is cool, use a small serrated knife to cut each log on the diagonal in 0.5cm slices.

Lay slices flat on the baking tray and return to oven for 15-20 minutes, turning once, until completely dried out. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely. Store in an airtight container for 2-3 weeks.

Hazelnut shortbread

Hazelnut shortbread

125g Butter - room temperature
60g Icing sugar
60g Lucky nuts Hazelnut meal
115g (3/4 cup) Plain flour
100g (1/3 cup) Nutella

Preheat oven to 180°C. Line 2 baking trays with non-stick baking paper.

Use an electric beater to beat the butter and sugar in a large bowl until pale and creamy. Add the hazelnut meal and flour and fold to combine.

Use an electric beater to beat the butter and sugar in a large bowl until pale and creamy. 
Add the hazelnut meal and flour and fold to combine. Spread mixture of a flat surface and cut into desired shape.

Lay biscuits onto the lined trays, allowing room for spreading. Bake in oven for 12 minutes or until golden. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Spread the bases of half the shortbread with the Nutella. Top with the remaining shortbread, base-side down. 

Happy baking and Merry Christmas everyone! 

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