The hazelnut obsession continues. Woot! This time, I give you biscotti. Non-dramatic, non-scary biscotti. It’s toasty and crunchy and nutty, but not in a weird boring way. I promise, these are really, really good cookies.
Plus, they’re dipped in Nutella AND melted chocolate for extra prettiness. I mean, how can you doubt them.
I’ve made biscotti earlier but it hadn’t turned out exactly the way it should. The recipe I had at the time used no butter, which is typical for biscotti, but there are versions that use some form of fat for a more tender cookie. Sally’s Baking Addiction showed me the way, and I’m never looking back!
The biscotti isn’t hard to make, it just takes a while. Sally made an almond version, but I went with hazelnuts, reduced the sugar, left out the cinnamon, increased the vanilla and totally last-minute, decided to add a wee bit of ground hazelnuts too. So good!
‘Biscotti’ means twice-baked in Italian. So you bake the dough as slabs first, then slice them and bake them so that they became super crispy and delicious. You can certainly eat them as is, they’re full of flavour. But I think there’s a lot going for decorating them a little with chocolate and more hazelnuts!
Whatever nuts you decide to use, I recommend chopping them by hand, which is what will take up most of your time. My food processor tends to pulse everything into crumbs too quickly, so with a knife, I have a little more control. Plus, it builds character!
The biscotti is warm and toasty, filled with hazelnut awesomeness and I’m definitely making much more of it! It’s fabulous with a cup of hot tea or coffee, dunked right into it. And even if you do dip it in melted chocolate or Nutella, it stays well at room temperature, in Mumbai weather too. Yay! Let me know how you like it 🙂
- 1 cup hazelnuts
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tbsp ground hazelnuts, optional
- ½ tsp salt if using unsalted butter
- ¾ cup brown sugar (preferably use a soft brown sugar)
- ¼ cup butter, cold and cubed (60 gms)
- 3 eggs
- 1 tbsp oil
- 1 and ½ tsps vanilla extract
- Extra flour for sprinkling
- To finish: melted chocolate/Nutella plus more hazelnuts, finely chopped
- Preheat the oven to 175 C. Spread the hazelnuts on an ungreased baking tray and bake for 5 to 8 minutes, until fragrant and very lightly browned. Set aside to cool for 10 minutes, then either use your fingers, or a clean kitchen towel to rub the hazelnuts and remove the skins, unless you were using peeled ones. Chop them coarsely and set aside. When you're done chopping, preheat the oven to 175 C again.
- Sift the flour and baking soda in a large mixing bowl. Add the salt (if using), ground hazelnuts, chopped hazelnuts and sugar. Stir well.
- Add the cold butter cubes to the flour mixture and rub it in with your fingertips until the mixture is sandy and no dry flour remains.
- In a small bowl, combine the eggs, oil and vanilla. Whisk well, then pour into the flour mixture.
- Mix and bring together, but do not over-mix. Flour a silicone baking mat or your kitchen counter (I prefer the mat for easy clean-up and lesser sticking).
- Turn the dough out onto the mat and knead 8 to 10 times. It should be soft, a little sticky, but easy enough to shape into a ball. Cut the dough in half.
- Place another silicone mat on the counter and place one half of the dough on it. Using extra flour to sprinkle on, shape each portion of dough into a slab, 9" long and about ½ inch thick.
- Slide each mat onto a baking tray. It's ok to bake in batches if your oven is small like mine, the second slab of dough can stay out at room temperature.
- Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until the top and edges of the slab are lightly browned, rotating the tray halfway through the baking time.
- Set aside to cool, and in the meantime, place the second tray in to bake.
- Once the slabs have cooled for about 15 to 20 minutes, use a long serrated knife to slice each one into 1 inch thick pieces (with the longer side of the slab facing you). This is best done on a chopping board.
- Place the pieces back on the silicone mat, with the cut-side facing up (the side where you'll see the hazelnuts peeking out). You may not be able to do this with the edge pieces, just place them flat on the tray.
- Bake the pieces for 8 to 10 minutes on each side, till both sides are browned well. The biscotti will feel firm, that's correct!
- Set aside on a wire rack to cool completely. Then dip into melted chocolate, Nutella and sprinkle with finely chopped hazelnuts! Enjoy :)
*Cook-time is per batch of biscotti.