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Hazelnut Biscotti

September 9, 2009

I work in a small office—about 9 to 11 of us are here on a daily basis. Considering how often I want to bake, versus how much food I can guiltlessly ingest by myself (a few weeks ago I, um, ahem, ate an entire peach pie in 3 days), my coworkers get the leftovers pretty often.

A few weeks ago I decided to try my hand at biscotti, which is much, MUCH easier than you’d think. A simple dough of butter, sugar, flour, eggs, and baking powder comes together with almond and vanilla extracts easily to mesh with whatever you choose to highlight: cranberries, walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds, chocolate, you name it and it can go right in the dough. You can get as fancy or simple as you like.

I didn’t even know if I liked hazelnuts but it turns out I do—toast them in a single layer for about 15 minutes in a 350 degree oven until they turn light brown, and then let them cool before adding them to your dough. (I neglected to let them cool before putting them in my mouth OR in my dough, and burned my hands and tongue in the process.)

Form your dough into two rectangularish logs, and bake them for about 25 minutes. Remove, cool, and then slice on the diagonal into the traditional biscotti shapes.

Place the cut side down onto the baking sheet and bake again, this time for about 10 to 15 minutes, or until they get golden brown and crunchy looking. (Some people prefer a softer cookie-ish piece, and others like them so hard you could break your front teeth. I like them a little softer.)

They are easily stored and taste delicious with your coffee on a Monday morning.

Hazelnut Biscotti (adapted from the Betty Crocker Cookbook)

½ c. butter

1 c. sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 tsp. almond extract + a little extra

3 ½ c. flour

1 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

¾ cup toasted, chopped hazelnuts

Preheat oven to 350. Mix butter and sugar either by hand or with an electric mixer, add eggs and extracts. Add flour and baking powder, mix well. Add hazelnuts (or whatever filling you prefer). On lightly floured surface, knead dough for a bit until it comes together. Split dough in half and form into two rectangles, about 10 inches long and 3 or 4 inches wide. Place on ungreased baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes or until the center is firm. Let cool on baking sheets for 15 minutes.

Cut the loaves into 1 inch slices on the diagonal. Place cut sides own on baking sheet, and bake again at 350 for 10 to 15 minutes depending on how crunchy you like your biscotti. Immediately remove to cooling racks and let cool. Store in airtight container or plastic bags. Share with your coworkers for endless compliments and thanks.

[I’m sorry there’s no picture here, this was before I had intended to start this here blog and wasn’t in the photographing everything kind of mindset. Will bake again and amend the situation shortly.]

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