Sunday, December 8, 2019

Double Chocolate Hazelnut Biscotti


I have a rule: Christmas can't go by without a batch of biscotti. Deal with it.

Biscotti fall under either love or hate for a lot of people - some go crazy for these crunchy cookies and see them as a fancy treat that only comes from a bakery or cafe. Others scoff at them for their dry texture and hard-as-a-rock perception.



Well, that last part is wrong!

Biscotti will not break your teeth if made properly, and biscotti are delicious just like decadent gooey chocolate chip cookies can be (well, they come close!). Yes, they're lower in sugar and lower in fat, but they shall not be lower in flavour. 


What their dryer, crisp and crunchy (not HARD) texture allows for is a complement to crunchy toasted nuts that don't really have a place in soft cookies.



Welcome almonds, hazelnuts and pistachios! Walnuts and pecans have a place in brownies and cookies because they are so buttery soft, but crunchy nuts just get in the way. That's where biscotti come in :)


The intensity of the roast on these hazelnuts is what makes this recipe magic. And when you bite in, the combination of deep roasted hazelnut, dark chocolate and intensely cocoa-y yet just-sweet-enough cookie will make your eyebrows raise. Pair this with a steaming cup of coffee, espresso or latte and see how you feel about biscotti now ;)

This recipe is based on the Mocha Pistachio Biscotti with Dried Apricots in "Scientifically Sweet: Chocolate" cookbook.




Double Chocolate Hazelnut Biscotti
makes 24 biscotti

1 2/3 cups (235g) all-purpose flour
¾ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
½ cup (42g) cocoa powder 
½ cup (85g) chocolate chips
½ cup (65g) whole roasted hazelnuts
2 large eggs, at room temperature
¾ cup (150g) granulated sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup (75g) unsalted butter, melted
½ cup (60g) dried cranberries

Preheat your oven to 350°F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Sift in cocoa powder and whisk to blend evenly. Add chocolate chips and hazelnuts and set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk eggs to blend evenly. Gradually stream in sugar while whisking constantly until smooth and lightened by a shade. Whisk in vanilla extract and melted butter.

Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients in the large bowl and pour in the egg mixture. Stir gently with a spatula or wooden spoon until most of the flour is absorbed. Fold in dried cranberries until evenly distributed. The dough will be stiff and a bit sticky but not wet. Use your hands to incorporate the cranberries and bring the dough together if necessary.

Divide dough in half and roll each half into a 10-inch log. Flatten it down to about 2 inches wide and place onto prepared baking tray. Bake for about 25 minutes until puffed, shiny and slightly cracked at the surface.

Transfer baking sheet to a wire rack and let biscotti log cool on the pan for at least 30 minutes, or until cool enough to handle. Reduce oven temperature to 300°F.

Transfer the log to a cutting board and use a serrated knife to slice it diagonally on a sharp angle into ½ to ¾-inch-thick slices with a gentle sawing motion. Place cookies back onto the baking sheet so that they are sitting right-side-up and bake for 10-15 minutes until dry and crisp. Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.
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