Crunchy, crumbly, sweet, nutty and chocolate-y biscotti, with just a hint of espresso flavor. Lip-smacking and finger-licking good.
It’s early morning and with Loreto we’re enjoying gardening in our backyard: watering, pruning, cleaning the dry/dead leaves and flowers, cutting the grass, checking on the tomatoes (still green but they’re coming). The cats are with us, on a leash as usual, and everything is so quiet. The air is fresh and crystal clear, the birds are chirping and bathing in our fountains and bird baths; the waterfall in the pond gives the right soundtrack to our new day. We love mornings, we’re early risers, even on weekends. This morning, after my husband goes to work I am going to bake some Espresso and Nut Biscotti.
On my last trip to the Public Library I found a couple more cookbooks that draw my attention. In one, The “Messy Baker” by Charmian Christie, there are many recipes worth the re-making, but I decided to start with Biscotti.
Stages of the biscotti preparation:
Their preparation is done in stages, i.e. it is quite long, but the result is worth every minute you spend making them.
The recipe calls for hazelnuts, but they’re missing from my pantry where I find, instead, almonds and walnuts. You feel free to use any nut you like. Chop them roughly and put them in the oven. You can’t believe what a beautiful smell you get in the kitchen while they’re toasting!
The batter is easy and quick, especially if using an electric mixer; few steps and it is ready to be rolled into a log then flattened and put in the oven. After about 30-35 minutes it is set for the next step. Let it cool a bit then with a serrated knife cut it diagonally, place the biscotti on one side and put them back in the oven for about 10 minutes. Take them out, roll them onto their other side and place them back in the oven for an additional 5-10 minutes. Every oven is different, so the cooking time may vary a bit. I usually check their color, a nice brown is what you want.
Let them cool on a rack before doing anything: coating them, eating them, storing them. Coating is absolutely optional. I melted in a bain-marie some semi sweet chocolate chips and drizzled the chocolate with a fork. You can dip just half of the cookie in chocolate, or use any other kind of chocolate and drizzle it with a spoon, or even dust some ground nuts onto the chocolate. Whatever works best for you. I tried drizzling with a spoon first and those big chunks of chocolate that you see in the pictures dripped from the spoon, so I decided to grab a fork 🙂 .
The tasting time has arrived, the chocolate hasn’t fully set but I can’t wait any longer. A bite and I’m in bliss. They are incredibly good. Crunchy, crumbly, sweet, nutty and chocolatey, with just a hint of espresso flavor. Lip-smacking and finger-licking good.
After dinner, the best moment: a cup of Catfish Cafe a Go Go and a couple of biscotti to share with my sweet half.
P.s. Just a bit of information if it happens you’re in Italy and you’re looking for “biscotti”. “Biscotti” (plural form of “biscotto“), in modern Italian is a generic noun to intend any kind of cookies of different shapes and flavours that have common ingredients like flour, butter, sugar, eggs. So not only and specifically the “twice baked” cookies that I made today and that are popular in the U.S and North America. The closest you can find (but they’re smaller) are “cantuccini” made with whole almonds in the city of Prato, Tuscany, from where biscotti originally derive and that they usually have at the end of a meal dipped in Vin Santo.
Recipe adapted from “The Messy Baker” by Charmian Christie.
Song of the day: “Everybody” by Ingrid MichaelsonPrint
- 3/4 cups hazelnuts (or or any othe nut)
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 lemon (or orange), the zest
- 1 egg, room temperature
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 and 2/3 unbleached all purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 3/4 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp espresso powder
- 1/4 dark dark chocolate chips
- 1/4 cup semi sweet chocolate chips, melted
- Pre-heat oven to 350° F.
- Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside
- Once the oven comes up to heat, toast the nuts on an unlined baking sheet for about 10 minutes. Turn the nuts onto a cleaned tea towel and rub them to remove as much of the skin as possible. Roughly chop the nuts and set aside.
- Using an electric mixer cream the butter, sugar and lemon (or orange) peel until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla and mix until blended.
- Into a large bowl sift together flour, baking powder, cinnamon and espresso powder. With the mixer on low, mix the flour mixture into the batter, stirring just until blended. Stir in the chocolate chips and the nuts.
- Take the dough and place it onto a wood surface. Shape it into a log about 12″ long. Place on the parchment lined baking sheet and flatten to 1″ high. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until the top feels firm to the touch. Remove the baking sheet from the oven, reduc the heat to 325° F and let it cool for about 10 minutes.
- Transfer the log to a cutting board. Using a serrated knife, cut diagonal slices about 1/2 ” thick. Place the cookies cut side down on the parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes. Turn the cookies over and bake for 5-10 more minutes or until they start to brown.Transfer to a rack to cool.
- For the coating: When the biscotti are cooled, gently melt the semi sweet chocolate chips in a heatproof bowl over simmering, not boiling, water. Once melted place the biscotti back in a parchment lined baking sheet and drizzle the chocolate over the biscotti using a spoon or a fork. Let cool and enjoy!
Store between layers of parchment paper in an airtight container. Biscotti will keep for a couple of weeks.
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