Happy October! It’s my favorite month, which also means that it’s beginning to be hot drink weather again. Looking forward to lots of cool days sipping lattes, chai, coffee, cider, or whatever. I make these biscotti around the holidays usually, but they were the perfect way to use up the rest of my leftover hazelnuts from the Grilled Pineapple with Nutella the other night. Sometimes when I’m feeling reckless, I dip one end of each biscotti in melted white chocolate and allow to harden before serving or packing them away. They’re delicious either way. Not too sweet, no butter needed, and perfectly crunchy to accompany your steamy heartwarming beverage.
Chocolate Hazelnut Biscotti
1 cup hazelnuts, preferably blanched
2 1/2 cups flour, plus flour for work surface
1/2 cup Dutch-style cocoa powder (I like this kind)
1 tablespoon espresso powder (I often substitute 1 packet of Starbucks Via- Ready Brew)
Pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
4 large eggs
1 1/3 cups sugar
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread hazelnuts on baking sheet and toast about 10 minutes, until lightly browned. If hazelnuts are not blanched, toast them until the skins begin to crack, then remove them from oven and wrap them in clean linen or cotton towel (not terrycloth). Rub hot nuts to remove most of the skin. Set toasted nuts aside.
2. Sift the flour, cocoa, espresso powder, salt, baking soda and baking powder together and set aside.
3. Beat eggs lightly, just until blended, in mixing bowl with whisk or in electric mixer. Remove two tablespoons of egg mixture to small dish and set aside. Beat sugar into remaining eggs until blended. Stir in flour mixture to form soft dough.
4. Divide the dough in half and place one portion on a well-floured work surface. With floured hands, pat it into a six-inch square. Scatter half the hazelnuts on the dough and press them into the surface.
5. Roll the dough into a cylinder about 2 inches in diameter and 12 to 15 inches long. Line the baking sheet with parchment paper (or Silpat liner) and place the roll of dough on the baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough. Brush the tops of both rolls with the reserved egg.
6. Place in the oven and bake about 15 minutes, until firm to the touch. (This took me until 20 to 25 minutes.) Transfer to a cutting board and cut on an angle into slices one-half-inch thick. Return the slices to the baking sheet, laying them on their cut sides, and return them to the oven. Bake another 20 minutes, until they are crisp and dry. Allow to cool completely before storing or serving.