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!