Don’t ask me why but I suddenly decided I wanted to make biscotti. I’ve never made it before. I don’t usually order it with coffee because it’s typically dry and crunchy, and I want something a little gooey or fudgey with my cappuccino. But I found a biscotti recipe that called for hazelnuts and cinnamon and I was sold.
The hazelnut and cinnamon wasn’t enough for me though. The lightbulb over my head went ping! thus giving me a vision of chili and chocolate. This combination will always, always make me think of the film Chocolat, with Juliette Binoche and Johnny Depp (the best Irish accent ever committed to celluloid), for this is the first time I had ever heard of putting chili into chocolate. For this version of biscotti, I wanted to use very dark chocolate indeed to hold its own against the chili – we had 81% cocoa in the cupboard, from Lidl or Aldi (I have no idea which is which, or if there even is a difference).
The cinnamon in the hazelnut biscotti is just beautiful. I may have put in a smidgen more than the recipe calls for – this was purely accidental but worked out wonderfully. The basic recipe for hazelnut and cinnamon comes from All Recipes.com. I made the recipe as normal up until the part where you put in the hazelnuts and cinnamon, then I divided the dough in half and put half the amount of hazelnuts and cinnamon in one batch and kept the other batch for my chocolate and chili divine inspiration. The chili isn’t spicy but adds a real kick to the flavour, really fun!
Biscotti3/4 cup / 6 oz of butter 1 cup / 8 oz sugar 2 eggs 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract 2 1/2 cups plain flour 3/4 tsp baking powder 1/2 tsp salt
For the hazelnut and cinnamon: add 1/2 tsp of cinnamon, sifted + 1/2 cup hazelnuts (add a pinch more cinnamon if you love it like I do!)
For the chocolate and chili: add 2 0z very dark (at least 70%) chocolate, roughly chopped + 3/4 tsp of chili powder
1. Preheat oven to 175C. Line a large baking tray with parchment or a silpat.
2. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar til they’re fluffy. Beat in the eggs and vanilla. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Mix into the buttery mixture with a wooden spoon.
3. Divide the mixture in half if you’re doing the two flavours as above. In one half, add your hazelnuts and sifted cinnamon. Mix well. Into the other half, mix the chocolate and chili powder.
4. Roll each half into a log that will fit onto a large baking tray. FLatten them out to about 1/2 inch thickness.
5. Bake for 25-30 mins (I overcooked mine slightly, keep an eye on them!), or until the edges are golden and the biscotti is firm. Allow to cool on the baking tray.
6. Using a serrated knife, cut the biscotti logs diagonally into 1/2 inch slices. Re-position them on the baking tray and pop back in the oven for another 10mins. Allow them to cool completely then keep them in an airtight container. I drizzled mine with an icing sugar + cream mixture but I couldn’t wait til it set before gobbling up a bunch of biscotti pieces.