It won’t surprise anyone that — like most Jewish mothers — I show love through food. Which means I’ll be baking up a storm this week for Valentine’s Day.
I know it’s a big, fat cliche promoted by greetings cards manufacturers and florists, and that a Saint’s day is not terribly Jewish, but who misses out on the chance to eat cake?
This year’s bake comes to you courtesy of our rabbi – Adam Zagoria-Moffatt. Not that he celebrates V Day, but he does enjoy cooking.
I recently taught a group at our synagogue how to make the best biscotti. They’re super easy to make and looks like you’ve completed a Cordo Bleu certificate in patisserie. Well, almost. But I promise you they are really, really impressive.
At the class, a range of fillings was laid out for attendees to pick their own flavour combinations. Knowing what was in the storecupboard, Rabbi Adam sneaked a slug of rosewater into his batch. It was a flavour sensation.
So, although this recipe can be tweaked to include any fillings and flavour you want, I can highly recommend pairing rose, dark chocolate and almond. It’s so good I ate almost the entire batch on my own. (My test batch not the Rabbi’s. Obvs.)
If your Val/Gal/Pal-entine isn’t a floral fan you can easily make a recipe just for them. Just replace the rosewater/chocolate/almond combo with 100g of their favourite chocolate/fruits/nuts and any other flavourings they enjoy like orange zest, vanilla or cinnamon.
Classic combinations we love in our house are vanilla, white chocolate and cranberry but ginger and dark chocolate works as does and milk chocolate and hazelnut. The variations are endless..
The recipe can easily be doubled – which I recommend as they last ages and make gorgeous gifts, perhaps for someone you love.
Makes: 15 approx
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 1 hour
75g caster sugar
115g butter, softened
1 egg (medium)
1 tsp vanilla extract
170g plain flour
¾ tsp baking powder
Large pinch of salt
½ tsp rose water (you may need more of less depending on the brand you are using)
50g dark chocolate chunks
50g almonds (I used skin-on but any sort will do)
- Heat oven to 150°C. Line a baking tray with baking parchment.
- Beat the butter until smooth. Add the sugar and beat until fluffy.
- Add the egg and vanilla extract and mix until smooth.
- In a separate bowl, use a whisk to mix the flour, baking powder and salt. Add to the butter mixture then tip in the nuts/fruits.
- Stir to combine then use your hands to press it together until a smooth dough. Try not to knead too much – just until it’s a uniform ball.
- Shape the into a log about 2cm across and roughly 30cm long. Place on the baking sheet and bake in the centre of the oven until lightly browned, about 30 minutes.
- Place the log on a cutting board and let it cool slightly – about 10 minutes.
- With a serrated knife, carefully slice the log on the diagonal into 1cm-thick pieces. Place the slices on the baking sheet. Bake until lightly browned, about 30 minutes, turning halfway.
- Transfer to a rack to cool. Store in an airtight container.