Monday, December 10, 2007

Hazelnut Cocoa Biscotti

While in the States, we like to crunch our biscotti with a cappuccino or a caffe latte, in Italy, they're dipped in a sweet wine called vin santo for dessert. These cookies went in style with the high-end coffee revolution in the States but in Italy, they're a classic. Oh and by the way, in Italian, they're called cantucci, since biscotti is a general term for any sort of cookies (think "biscuit"). The cocoa in this recipe mixes so well with the hazelnuts, it gives them a gianduja flavor right out of Piedmont.

1-1/2 cups hazelnuts, toasted
3 cups flour
2/3 cup unsewwtened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)at room temperature
2 cups confectioners sugar
3 large eggs at room temperature
2 tsp vanilla extract

Grind 1/2 cup of the hazelnuts and 1/2 cup of the sugar to a powder. Don't go so far as to grind it to a paste. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt. In a large mixing bowl beat butter and rest of the sugar until creamy. Add vanilla extract and eggs one at a time and incorporate until you get a uniform texture. Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture little by little stirring to combine. Add the ground hazelnuts and then the whole ones and mix to incorporate. Refrigerate the dough for at least an hour so that it will be less tacky and easier to manage.

Pre-heat the oven to 350F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Divide the refrigerated dough into 4 pieces and roll each into a long log shape. Place 2 on each sheet and bake for about 35-40 minutes or until the logs feel firm when pressed on top. Remove from oven and cool but do not turn the oven off nor throw away the parchment paper. Let logs cool for 15 minutes.

Slice the logs crosswise with a serrated bread knife making 1/2 inch pieces. Music to slice biscotti/(biscuits) by: "My Way" by obnoxious rockers, Limp Bizkit. Place the pieces back on the parchment-lined baking sheets leaving 1/4 inch spaces between each piece. Bake them again (not resting on one side, but standing up) for 15 minutes so that they can sufficiently dry to get that super crunch that goes so well dipped into coffee or Italian sweet wine. Oh and dry they last a long time in a tupperware container, if you don't eat them all up the first day!


Blogger Bellini Valli said...

Your Cantucci Susan would be perfect for my mid morning coffee!!!Give my chocaholic complex a good hit!

3:38 PM  
Blogger cantbeatfresh said...

looks great suzan... you've been busy. Bravo Cuz! Love the site and I'll will be back soon to share the passion

Not sweet related but more or less cheezy

"you know about making cheese? Not for nothing... my mother brought over some manocotti the other day, and it was no big bargin. your mozzerella is tough some times" Paulie - Pope of Grenwich Village - 1984

Ciao Susan Marie

6:41 AM  
Blogger Proud Italian Cook said...

Susan, Your recipe comes just in time for me! I've been looking for a new "Cantucci" to make! Thanks

6:58 AM  
Blogger Susan in Italy said...

Hey Bellini, Thanks for stopping by, is you want to you can add a cup of chocolate chips to this too.

Cousin Jimmy from Berwyn?! Wow! How've you been? Thanks for reading my blog. I might be confusing your quote with a scene in Mean Streets (I think) where Robert De Niro really wanted to hurt Harvey Keitel's feelings, so he tells him, "Your mozzarella is tough!"

Hi Marie, I imagine you make thousands of Christmas cookies each year, right?

8:37 PM  
Anonymous cantbeatfresh said...

Easily confused, Suz... Not sure about mean streets reference. But In "Pope..." Paulie's talking to Jimmy the cheese maker after his thumb was whacked by the local boss. Now that's passion for the craft even under fire.

I'm catching up on some of your projects and I must say, I am impressed... Good food, good music, good humor.

One more thing and I'll let you go and try to have me baned for good. Can you answer an ugly american/s question... and yes, there are stupid questions especially from berwynites. In Italy... Is Wednesdays really Prince Spaghetti day? I had to ask. I'm thinking no.
Now that I got that out of the way.... hope you'll spare me.

7:41 AM  
Blogger Susan in Italy said...

Hey Jimmy, I think people eat pasta way more than once a week here. If you ask Italians what their favorite food it they almost invariably say "pasta asciutta" which translates as "dry pasta" but it means pasta with very little sauce.

8:15 AM  
Blogger Proud Italian Cook said...

Are we talking about Berywn, IL.??? Just curious, cause I grew up real close to there.

5:28 PM  
Blogger Susan in Italy said...

Hey Marie,

Yeah, Berwyn, IL! I grew up there and my cousin Jimmy lives there now. You're from near there? Where? Oak Park, Stickney, Cicero or Riverside?

8:23 PM  
Blogger Proud Italian Cook said...

I was raised in Forest Park as a kid,went to Proviso East, got married, moved away for awhile came back, stayed till my daughter got to 6th grade, then moved to the far western burbs. But that is my old stomping grounds!!! D'Andrea's is my absolute favorite Italian store on 22nd in Berwyn, did you ever go there? What about Freddys in Cicero??? The best Italian ice!! pepperoni bread! Pizza, fried artichokes!! Susan I can't believe we are from the same area!! How cool is that! I'm going to do a post about D'Andrea's in the very near future, I'm bringing in my camera!!Ha ha We still go there for the best Italian sausage.
I'll be checking back to read your response!! Can't wait

6:32 AM  
Blogger Susan in Italy said...

Oh, Forest Park! Ok, I used to go to D'Andrea's all the time since it was so close to home, they have good frozen ravioli. But I like Caputo's even better since they have everything D'Andrea's has plus fresh fruit and veggies. They even have the Italian Tarocco oranges (blood oranges) in the winter. Now I've never even heard of Freddy's in Cicero. Now for Italian beef, nobody beats Novi's (oh, I hope I'm not starting a fight here!) but for lemon Italian ice, Johnny's on North Ave, in Elmwood park can't be beat. Actually when I read your blog, I think a lot about my friend Angela's mom in Elmwood Park, so I thought you were probably from there. Funny huh? God, I totally miss Italian beef. Believe it or not, it doesn't exist here.

5:00 PM  
Blogger Proud Italian Cook said...

Hi Susan, Small world isn't it! I just walked in the door from Caputo's, you're right about the fruit and vegies there, I go there alot too. You gotta ask cousin Jimmy about Freddys, it's a landmark for Italian ice its right on 16th st. just west of Austin in Cicero. If you're ever in town I'll buy you a quart!!!
Have a great day!
P.S. Thanks for the link!

9:20 PM  
Blogger Bette said...

Y'all are making me homesick! As a former Oak Parker, I know and like D'Andrea's and Caputo's (especially for produce), although I prefer Joseph's on Irving Park, just east of Cumberland. In fact, last time I was in Chicago with my car, I made a special trip there just to load up my trunk. Still haven't found the Italian markets of Kansas....

3:02 AM  
Blogger Susan in Italy said...

Hi Marie, You're so nice! I looked up Freddies online and it turns out to be some sort of Mecca for great pizza and gelato/italian ice. There are customer comments on this site and they're all raves. Who knew?

Hi Bette, I hear ya! When I lived in Minnesota (also Italoamerican-challenged like Kansas) every time I'd drive back from a Chicago visit, I'd load up the car with fresh mozz, prosciutto, salami, ricotta, etc. Now, I've never heard of Joseph's. This conversation has been an eye-opener for me. I have a couple of field trips to make when I'm back for the holidays.

2:20 PM  

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