Sunday, March 4, 2012

Due Biscotti Cantuccini

Almond biscotti on bottom, Hazelnut biscotti on top

I'm a tea drinker, and Adam is a coffee drinker. We both love these for dipping; they make a wonderful light dessert, breakfast, or snack. These biscotti are twice baked. In Italy these are known as cantuccini; biscotti means only cookie. Most of what Americans call "biscotti" are too thick, too sweet, and too soft for dipping. These are not too sweet and are really crunchy!

Both are good, but I'm partial to the hazelnut recipe myself. If I make them again I will use the dough for the hazelnut ones for the almond. Here is the hazelnut biscotti recipe!! They can both be found in the Baking with Julia book that I adore!

2 cups water
3 tablespoons baking soda
2/3 cup hazelnuts

1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
2 teaspoon hazelnut liqueur or brandy
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup sugar

Begin by skinning the hazelnuts. Boil the water in a pot (larger than you think, this will foam). Add the baking soda and the hazelnuts to the water. Boil them until the skins come off easily when the hazelnuts are submerged into ice water. The water you boiled them in will be black and stain things, so be careful! Once they are ready, run them under cold water and discard the hazelnut skins.

Next place the hazelnuts on a jellyroll pan and toast them in a 350 degree oven, tossing regularly, until they are evenly browned. Once the nuts are cool, chop them coarsely.

Now we will begin the dough. Mix the flour, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. In another bowl whisk the eggs, liqueur, vanilla, and sugar. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix with a spoon. Finally, mix in the nuts. The dough will be very stiff.

On a cookie sheet form the dough into two logs about 12 inches long. Bake the logs in a 300 degree oven for 35 minutes. Let them cool at least ten minutes. (Now you can wrap them overnight if you'd wish).

Using a serrated knife cut the logs at an angle into 1/3 inch slices. Lay the slices on a cooling rack and bake on that cooling rack in a 300 degree oven for 10 to 15 minutes, until they are dry and slightly golden.

They keep a pretty long time (around a month) at room temperature in a tight container.

They're really good!