In the headnote accompanying this recipe for Chocolate Hazelnut Biscotti, excerpted here from The Sweeter Side of Amy's Bread, author Amy Sherber states that "if you pick just one recipe to try" from the 70 included in the cookbook, "this is it!" As a self-proclaimed biscotti fanatic, I couldn't resist such an enthusiastic endorsement. So last night, I rolled up my sleeves and baked a batch.
Less than 24 hours later, I've already eaten seven. Seven biscotti. I can't walk by the Tupperware container they're in without sneaking another one. And since they're crunchy little numbers, trying to break one in half doesn't work. (In my mind, eating half a cookie doesn't really count as eating a cookie.)
The finished biscotti are quite crisp and incredibly chocolaty, thanks to a dash of instant espresso powder and a pinch of cinnamon, each of which serves to heighten the flavors. Chocolate chips melt into the dough as the cookies bake, leaving behind what Amy calls "little pockets of soft chocolate" that perfectly compliment the toasted hazelnuts.
These cookies are absolutely perfect for dunking in coffee, tea, milk, wine, Grand Marnier, or whatever else you have on hand. They would also make an ideal holiday gift, as they keep for up to six weeks when sealed in an airtight container.
- Yield:3 dozen cookies
- 2 tablespoons (28 grams/1 ounce) unsalted butter, slightly softened
- 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon (212 grams/7.48 ounces) sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 plus 2 tablespoons (170 grams/6 ounces) all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup plus 2 teaspoons (52 grams/1.83 ounces) unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon instant coffee powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 3/4 cups (227 grams/8 ounces) hazelnuts, whole, toasted
- 3/4 cup (130 grams/4.59 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
- 1 large egg for egg wash
Position one rack in the middle of the oven, and preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line the cookie sheet with parchment paper.
In a bowl with an electric mixer, cream the butter with the sugar for 1 minute or until a sandy mixture forms. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix until fluffy and lighter in color, about 1 minute more.
In a medium mixing bowl, add the flour, cocoa powder, coffee powder, baking soda, and cinnamon and whisk together. Add to the butter-and-egg mixture in 2 additions, and mix only until combined.
Fold the hazelnuts and chocolate chips into the dough, and mix until evenly distributed. The dough will be thick and hard to stir. If it is too sticky, chill briefly.
Divide the dough into 2 equal pieces, about 454 grams/16 ounces each. On a lightly floured surface, roll each piece of dough into a log about 2 inches wide by 14 inches long by 1 1/2 inches high. Place the logs on the prepared sheet pan with several inches between them.
In a small bowl, mix 1 egg with 1 teaspoon of water to make an egg wash. Brush each log with egg wash, coating them evenly on the top and sides.
Bake for 27 minutes, rotating the cookie sheet from front to back halfway through baking, until very lightly browned and somewhat firm. Remove from the oven and reduce the oven temperature to 300ºF.
Cool the logs for 20 minutes, then place them on a cutting board. With a serrated knife, slice each log on a slight angle into 3/4-inch-thick pieces, keeping them in a row. Slide the row of biscotti together, lift and place back on the cookie sheet, then separate the slices, leave 1/2 inch of space between each one.
Bake again for 9 to 12 minutes, rotating once during baking, until the biscotti feel slightly firm.