Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Hazelnut biscotti

It was raining a little bit today! :) Just enough to evoke the comforting feeling of cold outside and cosiness inside. In other words, perfect time to make some fresh bread and warmup the house. It would be nice to have the new cookbook from Tartine baker, Chad Robertson: Tartine bread, and put to test all these varieties of flour that I keep on buying and storing around the house. But I feel guilty of ordering the new Tartine cookbook before I have at least tried out a few recipes from the one that I already have, Tartine. This bakery is my tresure island of San Francisco and I was reluctant of trying to recreate their recipes at home, thinking it would be impossible to reach similar level of perfection. But I was wrong, the "kitchen notes" in their recipes tell you exactly what to 'look out for' during the process. 
I have opted to test making biscotti first, for two reasons. Firstly because the original recipe comes from Alice Waters who for me is the synonim of fresh, seasonal, home made recipes and invokes the most beautiful memories of Berkeley. Secondly because I have a visitor from Europe whom I wanted to surprise with home made biscotti that would be good with coffee while he is recovering from jet lag.  

"Kitchen notes" say that you can increase the amount of nuts up to double of what is called for in the recipe. Since biscotti are baked twice, the nuts need to be only very lightly toasted before they are used in the dough. 

Here is the list of ingredients that I have used for my version of biscotti: 


  • 1 cup of hazelnuts (this is already double of what is called for in the original recipe)
  • 1/2 cup of unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp of anise extract (or the aniseeds)
  • 3 tsp of Grand Marnier
  • Zest from one orange
  • 2 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp of baking powder
  • pinch of salt 


Toast the hazelnutes very lightly (see the "kitchen notes" above) and rub off the skins while they are still warm, then chop them coarsly. 
Start preheating the oven to 325F and line the baking sheet with parchment paper or silpat.
Mix the butter with sugar until it is light and fluffy. Add eggs and beat until they are incorporated. Then add aniseeds or anise extract, Grand Marnier and orange zest. Add flour, baking powder and salt and mix until they are all combined. Now add chopped hazelnuts. 
Divide the dough into two and on a lightly floured surface shape each portion into a log, as shown in the picture. 
Bake the logs for about 25min, or until they are set to the touch and lightly browned. Let the logs cool for about 5min on a wire rack before transfering them to the cutting board. Cut diagonal slices, about 1/2 inch thick. Return the slices cut side down to the baking sheet and bake the biscotti again for another 5 to 7min, or until the edges are lightly toasted. Let the biscotti completely cool on a wire rack. 
They can keep in a tighly covered container at room temperature for several weeks (that's what they say :)). 

Original recipe from Chez Panisse calls for almonds instead for the hazelnuts, and grappa instead of Grand Marnier. 

Bon appetit,


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