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Chocolate-Hazelnut Biscotti: These Meanderings

March 19th, 2012

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Before I started a blog, I wrote poetry. I found a certain pleasure in pulling out the deepest emotions and throwing them into a few concise unpunctuated sentences that left a burn on the page. There was room for interpretation, but the core message resonated more strongly than any underlying references. A poem is the sum of its parts. Somewhere along this journey, I began writing fewer and fewer poems and started writing more and more words. Until they became fully formed sentences and paragraphs. And soon, paragraphs interspersed with photographs and images.

We meander here. Go off on tangents. Talk about travel and then transition to spaghetti. Or technology. Or growing up. I like it that way. Because that is the way we make great discoveries, often. Find great treasures. Make great friends.

It’s sort of the way I came to this biscotti. Frankly, I’m not much for biscotti. It’s often tucked away into glass jars, separated from the gooey, buttery, dough-y treats displayed at coffee shops. Biscotti often feels like a small consolation prize: a little nibble to go with your coffee, in case you really don’t want to splurge on The Real Deal. That’s where I was when I ordered a biscotti from a little coffee shop, on my way to purchase some air plants for my apartment. It was just about closing and a mad craving hit my stomach. I didn’t want a cupcake. Or a bear claw. I wanted a chocolately something. A little less sweet. A little more crumbly. Something to dunk into my afternoon caffeine jolt. I eyed the biscotti. A deep, dark, chocolate finger, dotted with halzenuts. And I went for it.

My first bite felt like a revelation: where have you been all my life, biscotto? I devoured one and considered another. And when I returned home, I realized that I must recreate this magic. That first bite sensation. I will tell you this: one batch of this biscotti was more dangerous than a tin-ful of brownies. I lost all self-control, even after trying to pass them off to other people, I found myself eating THEIR biscotti.

This biscotti recipe yields a more tender crumb, a bit of a chewier center. It has a distinct almond flavor, but also resembles Nutella, in cookie form.

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Chocolate-Halzelnut Biscotti
technique adapted from Tartine

1/2 cup of hazelnuts
1/2 cup of unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup of sugar
3 large eggs
2 cups plus 2 tablespoons of flour (I used half all-purpose, half whole wheat pastry)
1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of almond extract
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1/4 cup of cocoa powder

1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Place the hazelnuts, in a single layer, on a baking sheet and toast them for about three minutes. Transfer the nuts to a towel and rub them together to remove most of their skins.
2. Roughly chop the hazelnuts and set them aside. Reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with a Silpat or parchment paper.
3. Place the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat for 2 minutes. Add the sugar, in a steady stream, and beat for another two minutes (until pale and fluffy). Add two of the eggs, and continue beating, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a spatula, as needed. Beat in the almond and vanilla extracts. Next, add the flour, baking powder, cocoa powder and salt, and beat until the mixture is just combined. Lastly, stir in the nuts.
4. Lightly flour a work surface and transfer the dough to it. Divide the dough into two equal sized lumps, and shape each into a log approximately two inches in diameter.
5. Place the two logs on the baking sheet, side by side. In a small bowl, beat the third egg with a fork. Brush the logs with the egg wash and bake for about 25-35 minutes — until they feel pretty set when you touch them. They should be baked all the way through. If in doubt, let them bake for a few more minutes.
6. Remove the logs from the oven and let cool for about five minutes on a wire rack. Transfer the logs to a cutting board and carefully slice them, on the diagonal, into 1/2 inch thick slices. If you choose to cut your slices thicker, note that the biscotti will be less crispy and more cookie-like. Transfer the slices back to the baking sheet, cut side down, and bake for another 5-10 minutes (or until they are lightly toasted). Allow the biscotti to cool. They’ll keep in a tightly sealed container for at least a week.

Musical Pairings: Sharon Van Etten – Tramp + Chocolate-Halzelnut Biscotti

More on the Turntable.


  • http://www.thefirstmess.com/ Laura

    Biscotti is SUCH an underrated treat! I love sweeping it through the thick top foam of a latte before taking a bite. Every time I indulge in one, I feel like I’ve rediscovered them a bit too. That’s timeless classics for ya. Love the sound of yours with chocolate and hazelnuts too :)

  • http://www.eatthispoem.com/ Nicole

    Hooray for the poets-turned-cooks! Glad I’m not the only one. I’ve actually never attempted biscotti at home before… bookmarking to try it one of these days!

  • http://www.turntablekitchen.com Kasey

    Isn’t it funny how certain foods can go unnoticed and then you take a bite and have this revelation? The biscotti always gets the shaft, but I swear I ate more of these than any other cookie I’ve made this year!

  • http://www.turntablekitchen.com Kasey

    Nicole, I feel like cooking is a parellel to poetry in so many ways. This is the only biscotti I’ve made at home and I have to say- if you make biscotti, you gotta throw in some chocolate. :)

  • kelsey

    Homemade biscotti are even better than the cafe sort. I’m with Laura, a timeless classic. Also, it’s funny you should mention your transition from Poetry to Prose — I was just lamenting to my mom about how because I’ve started to write more poetry personally, my blog posts have suffered as collateral.

  • http://www.turntablekitchen.com Kasey

    Totally. Plus, at the cafe, you pay $2 to eat just one. That’s no fun at all. I think I have to be all in with my creative outlets (ie: I find it really hard to write poetry when I spend so much energy on the site). So, naturally, the site’s been coming first. I hope you maybe decide to share some of your poems on the site! I love that so many of us out there are closet poets (or have been at one time or another) :)

  • http://www.xobreakfast.com noelle

    My first “ooh, biscotti(?!)” moment was when we got one of those pod espresso machines at work and it came with free biscotti. The espresso was not memorable but that biscotti soaked in it was. And now I want to make some. Thx for the baking prompt :)

  • http://www.xobreakfast.com noelle

    My first “ooh, biscotti(?!)” moment was when we got one of those pod espresso machines at work and it came with free biscotti. The espresso was not memorable but that biscotti soaked in it was. And now I want to make some. Thx for the baking prompt :)

  • naturallyella

    I live where there isn’t a coffee shop (shocking, I know) and so I always forget about biscotti! I think I’ll have to bake some up soon (and you can’t go wrong with one that taste someone like nutella!)

  • http://www.turntablekitchen.com Kasey

    I love that you called it an ‘ooh, biscotti (?!?!)’ moment. Captures it perfectly – that surprise/confusion/elation. I’ve had those biscotti you speak of, and I completely agree! It’s when it’s soaked in that coffee…it makes the whole experience.

  • http://www.turntablekitchen.com Kasey

    Sounds like a lot of us forget about it! Personally, I find that coffeeshops just throw them on the counter because they’re easy…and most of them don’t think about the quality. But it’s when you bake up a batch at home that you have that ‘ohh, biscotti (?!?!)’ moment that Noelle mentioned. They last for weeks, too, and travel/ship well. It’s a shame these babies don’t get as much love as they deserve!

  • http://www.dulanotes.com/ NicoleD

    It’s so true that the biscotti in a jar always seems a bit neglected at the coffee shop. I use to think they and scones were the dry offerings that were primarily for dipping and not enjoying on their own. I’ve come round to scones and now it looks like biscotti is next! Of course, you had me at chocolate and hazelnut anyway :)

  • http://www.turntablekitchen.com Kasey

    Ohhh, I’ve felt the same way about scones for a while…until that is, I baked those buttermilk scones from Tartine! I think I see a pattern here…

  • http://www.MyBeautifulAdventures.com/ Andi Perullo

    Yuuuuuum!

  • http://www.yummysupper.blogspot.com/ erin @ yummy supper

    Kasey, “Nutella in cookie form?” Say no more! I’m sold.
    -Erin

  • http://twitter.com/ecosalon ecosalon

    Yeah.. we want that.

  • http://everybodylikessandwiches.com/ Kickpleat

    I always neglected biscotti – never seemed appealing. Crumbly and dry and sure to shred the roof of your mouth. But I did make my own fairly recently and LOVED how it turned out. I used a similar recipe + orange zest and I was surprised at how buttery and delicious it was. Hooray for biscotti!

  • http://www.turntablekitchen.com Kasey

    Hahah. I thought that’s what would put people on the edge of their seats ;)

  • http://www.turntablekitchen.com Kasey

    Ohhh, yes. I have seen a lot of biscotti recipes with orange zest – I bet yours were delicious. I think that the crumbly/dry baked goods get overshadowed by yeasted goodness, but there is something nice about having something toothsome to nibble on!

  • http://www.athoughtforfood.net/ Brian @ A Thought For Food

    You have just reminded me that I need to get going on some biscotti. For some reason, it’s one of those things that I have never made… but I just ADORE eating them. Some coffee or tea and a newspaper and a plate of these and I’m a happy man.

  • http://www.turntablekitchen.com Kasey

    I’m so glad to see all of these closet biscotti lovers coming forward! Ahhh, a few biscotti, a good cup of coffee and a newspaper/magazine is all I need for a relaxing Saturday morning.

  • musik.is.magik

    I tried this recipe and the biscotti turned out great, thanks! There are only two things I’m less pleased with; the bisctotti are too tender to my taste, they’re not crispy enough, I think I didn’t bake them long enough. Also, the almond extract tastes way too much, it’s good but it kinda over powers the chocolate taste. If I were to remake it (which I probably will) I would put 1 teaspoon of vanilla and 1/2 teaspoon of almond extract (maybe I’ll just completely skip it!)
    Anyways, Thank you for the recipe, biscotti are so yummy :)

  • Rye

    So I weighed my chacolate and made a double batch ended up having to add twenty ounces more of chacolate something in this recipe is way off

  • Rye

    Sorry wrong recipe please disregard