Biscotti are those classic crunchy Italian cookies that just seem to get better with age. Seriously. They are perfect for dunking into a hot cup of coffee or tea so the crunchier they get, the better they are. When Glenn would be at sea for months on end, I would mail him boxes of biscotti to share with his shipmates. They packed well, never got stale, and could theoretically last for months on end. That is, if they didn’t get eaten first.
Almond biscotti are the standard by which most biscotti are compared but I love these chocolate ones filled with crunchy hazelnuts. You just can’t go wrong with this combination. The recipe is courtesy of Williams Sonoma who claims that the cookies can be stored for up to two weeks in an air-tight container. Personally, I think they will keep longer. But then again, that is only if you don’t eat them all first.
CHOCOLATE HAZELNUT BISCOTTI
4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 1/2 tablespoons espresso powder
2 teaspoons vanilla powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup hazelnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped
- Preheat the oven to 300. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- In a food processor fitted with a metal blade, combine the chocolate and brown sugar and process until the chocolate is very fine. Set aside.
- Sift together the flour, cocoa, espresso powder, vanilla powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl; set aside.
- In a large bowl, beat the eggs with an electric mixer on medium-high speed. Reduce the speed to low and mix in the sugar and flour mixtures until a stiff dough forms. Fold in the hazelnuts.
- On a floured surface, divide the dough in half. Form each half into a long that is 12 inches long. Transfer the logs to the prepared baking sheet and use your fingers to pat the logs into a uniform shape and size.
- Bake until the dough is almost firm to the touch, about 50 minutes. Remove from the oven but leave the oven on and allow the logs to cool for 10 minutes.
- Using a spatula, carefully transfer the logs to a work surface. Using a serrated knife, cut the logs on the diagonal into slices that are 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick.
- Arrange the slices, cut side down on the baking sheet. Bake for 25 minutes then turn the slices over and bake for an additional 25 minutes.
- Turn off the oven and allow the cookies to sit with the oven door ajar until the oven has cooled.
Yields: Approximately 30 cookies