aboveThe first time I ever tried biscotti was when it was brought home as a gift. One of the great things about having teachers for parents is that holidays always mean gifts. My dad would come home laden with Ferrer Rochers and Favourites gift packs, while my mum was gifted tea cups – my brothers and I took great delight in teasing them, trying to gauge who was the better teacher based on the volume of presents that they received.

I’m fairly sure that it was dad who received the biscotti, and he let us try some. Unaccustomed to the hard, not-sweet biscuit, I was not a fan. I spent years thinking I didn’t like biscotti based on my one encounter with it.

What I once disliked about biscotti is what I love about them now. They’re nothing like a cookie…biscotti are like the cooler, older brother of cookies. They’re effortlessly delicious and don’t over-do it with the sugar. They’re perfect for a little afternoon pick me up and FABULOUS for dipping in tea or coffee.

(I realise that the analogy got away from me a little there, I don’t recommend dipping older brothers into your hot beverage.)

These biccies are the perfect anti-Christmas treat – unlike most Christmas food, they’re not super rich, they won’t leave you bloated and you can store them in the pantry for up to two weeks without worrying about them.

Chocolate hazelnut biscotti:

  • 3/4 cup hazelnutsclose
  • 100g butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup of sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons bicarb
  • 1 teaspoon of almond extract
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla
  • 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons plain flour
  • 1/4 cup of cocoa
  • 1/3 cup choc chips

squeezePreheat your oven to 180°C and line a baking tray with baking paper. Toast your hazelnuts for four minutes. Allow them to cool for a few minutes and then rub with a tea towel to remove skins. You can also squeeze them gently to remove the skins – it takes longer, but it’s more fun.

Reduce the oven to 170°C.

Cream together butter and sugar until pale. Add eggs and mix well, scraping down the sides as you go.

mixtureAdd the almond extract, vanilla and 1 cup of flour and mix. Add the second cup and the extra two tablespoons of flour and mix until just combined.

Roughly chop the chocolate and roast hazelnuts and mix them in. Divide the mixture in half (they should weigh about 420 each) and shape them into logs 20cm in length and 10cm in width. Pop them into the oven for 25 minutes.

loaves

Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 8 minutes. Grab a thin, sharp knife and slice them into thumb-width pieces.

rowsFlip them onto their sides and return to the oven for 10 minutes to dry them out further.

cherrySpread with a little Nutella for extra indulgence.

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