Lately I’ve had a serious hankering for biscotti. It just hit me out of the blue and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it. Yesterday I finally had time to make some.
I’ve made a number of different biscotti recipes before, and while I’ve liked all of them, the one whose texture charms me the most is this one, a cardamom biscotti from Martha Stewart.
Unlike most biscotti recipes, which are made only with flour, or with a combination of flour and cornmeal, these are made with ground almonds in addition to the flour. While I love that cardamom biscotti recipe, it wasn’t exactly what I was yearning for. So I decided to make something different, but keep the ground almonds in there for texture.
I had some hazelnuts in my pantry, so I thought the nutty combination would hit the spot nicely. I swapped out regular all-purpose flour for whole wheat pastry flour, cut the sugar back a bit and threw in a little bit of cocoa powder to compliment the hazelnuts.
First, I toasted the hazelnuts. To do this, spread 1 cup of hazelnuts on a baking sheet and put into a 350˚ oven for 10-15 minutes, or until the skin has cracked and the nut underneath has started to turn a golden brown.
While the hazelnuts are toasting, you can turn your attention to the dry ingredients. You’ll need a cup of ground almonds. You can buy almond meal or almond flour at the store, or you can grind up your own in a food processor. I opted to do the latter, using blanched almonds. If you’re grinding your own, approximately 3 3/4 ounces of almonds will yield 1 cup of ground almonds. I like blanched in this recipe (no skin) but I think it would still work to use whole almonds. Grind in a food processor until the consistency of cornmeal.
In a medium bowl, mix the ground almonds with 1 cup + 2 Tbsp whole wheat pastry flour, 2 tsp baking powder, pinch of salt, and 1/4 cup cocoa. Hazelnut is definitely the most prominent flavor in these, even with the almonds & cocoa. I purposefully kept the cocoa content on the lower side so it would act more as a complement to the hazelnuts rather than competing with them. However, if you want to have a more chocolately biscotti, you can add more cocoa. If you add a lot more cocoa, though, you might need to add a little less flour.
You can use all-purpose flour instead, but if you’ve never used whole wheat pastry flour, you should try it! It substitutes well in most recipes for all-purpose while giving you more nutrition and fiber. In many things I’ve used it for, you can’t even tell the difference.
In a large bowl, whisk together 2 eggs, 1/4 cup sugar and 3 Tbsp dark (grade B) maple syrup. If you don’t have/don’t like maple syrup, just use all sugar. I personally love the burnt sugar flavor of grade B maple syrup and think it adds a nice depth to baked goods.
Stir the dry ingredients into the wet. The dough will be stiff & sticky.
When your hazelnuts have finished toasting, put them on a kitchen towel and fold it over them for a minute.
Then rub the hazelnuts together in the towel, and most of the skins should rub right off. Don’t worry about the skins that stay stuck. Fold the nuts into the dough. I left mine whole, but feel free to roughly chop them as well.
Turn the dough onto a floured surface and divide into two pieces. Shape each piece into a log about 3 inches wide and 1 inch tall. You might find using wet hands helps to keep it from sticking to you. Place the two logs onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake at 350˚ for about 25 minutes. Reduce heat to 300˚.
Allow to cool for a good 20-30 minutes, then slice on the diagonal with a serrated knife into 1/2 inch slices. You’ll end up with approximately 30 total slices.
Lay the slices, cut side down, on the parchment-lined baking sheet, and bake for an additional 20-25 minutes or until nicely toasted.
I ended up starting these too close to when I had to leave the house, and had to take them out of the oven and run. I forgot to tell Hubs to put them in a container when he got home, so they “cooled” for about 4 hours. Ha. They ended up a little on the dry side.
But you know what? Dipped into my morning latte, they’re still perfect.
I found the whole hazelnuts made slicing a little more difficult in a couple of places. But Little Man loves that they look like “O”s when sliced. :)