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How to make heather biscotti

Discover how to use heather flowers to create a delicious biscotti with this recipe by author and TikTok sensation Connieach MacLeod, aka The Hebridean Baker.

Four pieces of heather biscotti piled together
Published: September 16, 2021 at 11:19 am
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This is a real taste of the Hebrides, foraging the beautiful heather flowers while in season add to this classic nutty biscotti recipe.

To dry the heather, cut spikes of the flowers while they are still in bud, and hang them to dry in small bunches out of direct sunlight.


What is heather?

Pink flowers in bloom, with lakes and hills in the background, on the Isle of Skye in the Inner Hebrides.
Heather in bloom in late summer on the most northern part of the Isle of Skye, in the Inner Hebrides. © Devon and Cornwall Photography/Getty

There are a number of plants referred to as heathers, a group of flowering plants typically found on heathlands and moorlands. The species referred to in this recipe is ling (Calluna vulgaris), sometimes known as Scottish heather or common heather and sometimes just as heather, which is the most common heather species in the Hebrides as it loves wet soil.

It has narrow, small and evergreen leaves, with pink or pale purple flowers which bloom from mid-summer to autumn.

The ling heather is closely related to the Erica genus, which contains species such as bell heather.

Ingredients

  • 1tsp Dried heather flowers
  • 90g Almonds, whole
  • 40g Hazelnuts, whole
  • 1 ½tsp Baking powder
  • Salt, pinch
  • 105g White sugar
  • 150g Brown sugar
  • 3 Eggs
  • 85g Olive oil
  • ½tsp Almond extract
  • ½ Orange, zest

Method

  • STEP 1

    Preheat the oven to 160C/320f, then place all the nuts on a tray and into the oven for 5 minutes just to toast them a little. Take them out and let them cool.

  • STEP 2

    Add to a bowl along with the flour, baking powder, salt, white and brown sugar and stir together. Blend together the eggs and olive oil then add half the heather flowers and half the orange zest and stir together. Add the dry to the wet ingredients and mix until well combined - it will be a sticky dough. Let it sit in the bowl for about 10 minutes, this helps to make it more manageable to shape.

  • STEP 3

    Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Wet your hands (or the mix will stick to your hands!). Roll the dough into logs, each approximately 25cm long. Place on the lined baking tray and sprinkle with remaining heather flowers and orange zest. Put it in the oven for about 20 minutes until golden brown.

  • STEP 4

    Remove from the oven and allow to cool, then turn the oven down to 150C/300f. After 10 minutes of cooling, slice on the diagonal into 12mm slices Return the tray to the oven and bake for another five minutes, turn over and continue to bake for another five minutes until golden-brown. Place them on a wire rack to cool and then keep them in an airtight Kilner jar.

    Four pieces of heather biscotti piled together

Inspired by family recipes and traditional Scottish bakes, Coinneach launched the Hebridean Baker on Tiktok in 2020. Fifteen million video views (and counting!) later, Coinneach has motivated his followers around the world to bake, forage, learn Gaelic, have a dram or two or whisky and to lead a more wholesome, simple life.

Coinneach MacLeod

This is a recipe from his debut book, The Hebridean Baker - Recipes & Wee Stories from the Scottish Islands. Focusing on small bakes that use a simple set of ingredients, these recipes will unleash your inner Scottish baker. It's all about rustic, homebaking and old family favourites because as Coinneach says 'Homemade is Always Best.'

The Hebridean Baker book cover

Authors

Coinneach MacLeodBaker, forager, TikTok creator and author

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