Christmas Eve is rather late for posting a recipe, but I just had to squeeze another one in since not a single cookie has been posted yet this month. If you're in the mood for some snacking on a little chocolate that's on the lighter side, go no further than chocolate hazelnut biscotti.
They make a nice addition to your cookie repertoire, being on the opposite end of the spectrum to those that are rich and sweet. They taste dark, thanks to a tablespoon of espresso powder, and nutty, studded with whole, toasted hazelnuts. Peanut butter and chocolate confections have never appealed to me -- the flavors together are too rich -- but I'll take chocolate with hazelnuts any day.
If you're really strapped for a last minute gift, a bundle of biscotti in a large mug (or latte bowl), wrapped in cellophane and tied with ribbon would be a sincere gesture, especially for coffee drinkers. Homemade goodies are heartfelt, and people appreciate the time spent into making them.
Chocolate Hazelnut Biscotti
Adapted from The New York Times, via Smitten Kitchen
1 cup whole hazelnuts, preferably blanched
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
1 Tbsp instant espresso powder
½ tsp baking soda
Pinch of salt
4 large eggs
Preheat oven to 350° F. Spread hazelnuts on a baking sheet and toast for about 10 minutes, until lightly browned. Set toasted nuts aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, espresso powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, and set aside.
Divide the dough in half and place one portion on a very well-floured work surface. With floured hands, pat it into an eight-inch square. Scatter half of the hazelnuts on the dough and press them into the surface. Roll the dough into a cylinder about 2 inches in diameter and 12-15 inches long. Line the baking sheet with parchment paper and place the roll of dough on the baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough. Brush the tops of both rolls with the reserved egg.
Makes around 5 dozen biscotti.