Sunday, 7 June 2015

Chocolate & Hazelnut Biscotti

A new departure for me today, biscotti.  I have never eaten one, let alone tried to make any.  Biscotti means twice-baked, so it is a biscuit that is baked twice to make it hard and dry and very suitable for dipping into coffee or a hot chocolate sauce.  Of course there is nothing to stop one eating them just by themselves, or dunking in a cup of tea.

For this bake I decided to use a recipe from Joyofbaking - courtesy of Stephanie Jaworski, Chocolate & Hazelnut Biscotti.  I must say the aroma that comes from the oven as the biscuits bake is just wonderful and the resultant biscuit is very tasty indeed.  

Since I don't like coffee, under any circumstances, or in any shape, I didn't include the coffee element of the recipe, but Stephanie does say, in her video, that this can be omitted.  Also when trying the baked result I used a nice hot cup of English breakfast tea for dunking and thoroughly enjoyed both the tea and the biscotti.

The recipe is easy to follow and works very well indeed.  The dough is very tough and heavy and also sticky, so a fair amount of flour is required on the work surface, to mould it to the shape required. Baking is in two stages, after having roasted the hazelnuts.

I guess one could save some time by buying ready roasted nuts, but I did my own.

All in all I am very pleased with the result and will be trying a few variations in the next few weeks.
Chocolate Hazelnut Biscotti
Ingredients:
  • 1 cup (150 grams)hazelnuts
  • 4 ounces (120 grams) semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup (210 grams) firmly packed light brownsugar
  • 1 3/4 cups (230 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup (30 grams) unsweetened cocoapowder
  • 1 tablespoon (4 grams) instant espresso powder
  • 1 teaspoon (5 grams)baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 large eggs(UK medium eggs)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Method:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C). 
  2. To toast hazelnuts: spread on a baking sheet and bake for about 15 minutes or until lightly browned and fragrant, and the skins start to blister and peel.
  3. Remove from oven and cover the nuts with a clean dish towel. 
  4. Let the nuts 'steam' for 5 minutes and then briskly rub the towel (with nuts inside) to remove the skins from the nuts. Cool and then chop coarsely.
  5. Reduce the oven temperature to 300 degree F (150 degrees C). Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  6. In a food processor, fitted with the metal blade, place the coarsely chopped chocolate and brown sugar and process until the chocolate is very fine.
  7. Then, in a large bowl, sift or whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, espresso powder, baking soda and salt.
  8. In the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the eggs and vanilla extract until combined (about one minute). 
  9. Add the chocolate/sugar mixture and the flour mixture and beat until a stiff dough forms, adding the hazelnuts about half way through mixing.
  10. With floured hands divide the dough in half. 
  11. On a lightly floured surface roll each half of dough into a log shape about 10 inches (25 cm) long and 2 inches (5 cm) wide. 
  12. Transfer the logs to the prepared baking sheet, spacing about 3 inches (7.5 cm) apart.
  13. Bake until almost firm to the touch, about 35 -40 minutes(logs will spread during baking). Remove from the oven, place on wire rack, and let cool for 10 minutes.
  14. Using a long spatula transfer the logs to a cutting board. 
  15. Using a serrated or sharp knife cut the dough into slices 3/4 inch (2 cm) thick on the diagonal. Arrange the slices cut-side down on the baking sheet. 
  16. Bake 15 minutes. 
  17. Turn the slices over and bake until crisp and dry, about 15 minutes.
  18.  Remove from oven and let cool on wire rack. 

These are wonderful with a white chocolate glaze: Melt 3 ounces (90 grams) of chopped white chocolate in a small metal bowl placed over a saucepan of simmering water. Dip one end of the biscotti into the chocolate and let it dry, on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Store in an airtight container for several weeks.



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