Disclaimer: No Nutella was consumed during the making of this recipe. Or looked at.
Oh scratch that. No butter was even looked at when I was making this. And you know why? Because good biscotti uses no butter. Or oil. Or margarine.
Good biscotti relies on nuts, or fruits or eggs to get that perfect texture. Which is why, when I was pottering around in the market and I found a small bag of hazelnuts which were perfectly affordable, I was in heaven.
I've been trying to source good quality hazelnuts forever back home in Delhi. But either the lot is completely unaffordable, or the nuts are rancid and I have to go have a fight with the shopkeeeper. So when I spied them this time round, I only bought 200 grams worth.
When the husband found me in the kitchen yesterday trying to toast half before biscotti-ing them, he asked me a pertinent question... will these taste like how they taste a in chocolates? The truth is that they didn't. But they felt buttery and crunchy which was a good sign.
As I went about assembling the ingredients of the biscotti, the toasted hazelnuts had cooled down considerably and I was slipping the skin of them when I popped one in my mouth. Oh. My. God. They tasted amazing. Straight out of a chocolate. So delicious.
I called the husband to taste it now, and he couldn't help but grab a handful and run off, but not before letting me he'd seen so many hazelnnuts of his trips to the middle-east and that I never told him that I liked them so much.
I was ready to dump all the flour on him.
Anyhoo, to cut a long story short, I now know where to find them.
This biscotti is a adaptation of a David Lebovitz's recipe and while I couldn't find the best quality cocoa (I only had the Cadbury's Orange box), I did use some 70 percent callebaut chips that my friend Ammar gave me the other day. Ammar incidently runs Burning Brownie, which does amazing chocolate cake variations.
These biscottis had a nice rich deep dark chocolate flavours and the hazelnuts tasted wonderful with it. I baked my biscotti for 25 minutes initially and then 30 minutes for the second baking. They came out crisp and very dippable. You can soft bake them if you like, but I think that defeats the purpose.
Chocolate and Hazelnut Biscotti
Minimally adapted from David Lebovitz
For the biscotti
1 cup flour
- 1/3 plus 2 tblsp cocoa powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1.5 eggs, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup hazelnuts toasted and very coarsely-chopped
- 1/3 plus 2 tsp chocolate chips
For the glaze1/2 large egg2 tablespoons coarse or crystal sugar
1. Preheat the oven to 350F (180C) degrees.
2. In a small bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt.
3. In a large bowl, beat together the 3 eggs, sugar, and vanilla & almond extracts. Gradually stir in the dry ingredients, then mix in the nuts and the chocolate chips until the dough holds together.
4. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Divide the dough in half. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into logs the length of the baking sheet. Transfer the logs onto the baking sheet, evenly spaced apart.
5. Gently flatten the tops of the logs. Beat the remaining egg and brush the tops of the logs liberally with the egg. (You won’t use it all). Sprinkle the tops with the coarse or crystal sugar and bake for 25 minutes, until the dough feels firm to the touch.
6. Remove the cookie dough from the oven and cool 15 minutes. On a cutting board, use a serrated bread knife to diagonally cut the cookies into 1/2-inches slices. Lay the cookies cut side down on baking sheets and return to the oven for 20 to 30 minutes, turning the baking sheet midway during baking, until the cookies feel mostly firm.