It has been a baking frenzy at my house these past few weeks.
Between testing recipes for the new blog, celebrating birthdays and baking for Easter, goodies like chicken pot pie, chocolate Skor shortbread daisies, trays and trays of freshly shucked oysters, strawberry rhubarb pies and these biscotti have been gracing my kitchen.
It has been busy but it feels like spring has (finally) arrived. I hear the birds chirping outside and people are “alive”. This is a time to get outside and breathe that fresh air we have been waiting for! So, I decided to make a batch of these to keep in the cookie cupboard ’cause people are gonna come visit now, right? Now that the snow has melted, everyone is eager to shed their coats and get back out there. And, what better way to welcome spring than to share some freshly baked goodies with a friend!
I remember seeing a recipe in the Toronto Star years ago for biscotti that had all of the flavours of a good espresso…so why not add the scents of a beautiful cappuccino? Chocolate, coffee, orange, cinnamon, hazelnut…
Biscotti are for dunking – primarily in coffee but imagine these dunked in a cappuccino. Yum!!!!!
1/2 c butter
1 1/2 c sugar
1 tsp vanilla
3 c flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp instant coffee (crushed a bit with the back of a spoon to pulverize a bit)
grated orange rind of 1/2 an orange (or, if you have it, you can use orange extract…but the real thing is better)
1/2 c chocolate chips (if you have dark chocolate hanging around, cutting it into chucks and substituting it here would be fabulous!)
1/2 c hazelnuts, chopped and toasted (see #4 below for tips)
additional sugar/cinnamon for coating (about 1/2 sugar mixed with 2 tsp cinnamon)
1. Preheat your oven to 350F. In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar until white and fluffy.
2. Beat in eggs and vanilla and mix again.
3. In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking powder, instant coffee, orange rind and chocolate chips…blend together with a wooden spoon.
4. Toast your nuts (either in the oven at 400 or in a dry, hot skillet…but watch because they burn quickly); if you don’t feel like taking out your food processor and you aren’t confident with your knife skills (those babies like to roll around when you chop!), just cover it with some plastic wrap and pound with a meat cleaver…that should do the trick!
Add the nuts (make sure they are cool or they will melt your chocolate…which is fine but not as pretty!)
5. Add the dry mixture to the butter mixture and mix well (it will look crumbly, but don’t worry!!)
6. Separate the mixture onto 2 baking pans lined with parchment so it is equal (I told you it would be crumbly!)
7. Pat the mixture together like this…
…until you get the logs to look formed like this.
8. Bake them for about 30 minutes (or until they begin to brown and crack a bit…they will feel firm when touched in the middle); take them out of the oven and cool for about 5 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 325.
9. Cut them into slices with a serrated knife (about 1/2 – 1 ” slices) and lay them on their sides. Sprinkle with half the sugar coating mixture and bake for about 10 minutes. Remove from oven and turn over; sprinkle with the rest of the sugar mixture and bake again for another 10 minutes.
Now, find yourself a comfy chair, make yourself a coffee (an espresso or cappuccino would be even better) and enjoy.
Hey, now that I think of it, grab a few biscotti, wrap them in foil, throw them in your pocket and head to your local Starbucks. Call your friend and tell her to meet you there. It’s been busy these past few weeks…you deserve to eat your biscotti with your friend… in peace 🙂