March 8, 2013

Chocolate Orange Hazelnut Biscotti

Biscotti is pretty much the perfect dessert. It's sweet, healthy, crunchy, and can suit any taste. You can make it chocolaty, nutty, fruity, or a combination of all three and more! This recipe happens to have all three; there's the slightly bitter mini chocolate chips, tart but sweet candied orange, and nutty roasted hazelnuts. And as if the combination of flavors wasn't enough, these cookies really aren't that bad for you. There's hardly any fat - just two tablespoons of oil in the whole batch - and not much sugar as well.

Of course you can alter the recipe and use a different type of chocolate or dried fruit or nut since the base recipe can be altered to fit what you are in the mood for, but I happen to love this combination. I first tasted it when I was shadowing the pastry chef at Pricci, a local Italian restaurant. I was lucky enough to try the gelato of the day, a rich, creamy chocolate base studded with candied oranges and hazelnuts. I loved the layers of flavors, so I decided to put it in a crunchy cookie. Actually, the two would be delicious together, so you may see my interpretation of the gelato recipe soon!

3 Cups Flour
2 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Salt
1 Cup Sugar
3 Eggs
2 T Oil
2 1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
3/4 Cup Chopped Toasted Hazelnuts
1/3 Cup Diced Candied Orange Peel
3/4 Cup Mini Chocolate Chips

Preheat oven to 350F. Line a large cookie tray with parchment paper.

Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a bowl to blend. 

Using a stand mixer, beat sugar, eggs, oil, and vanilla  until well blended. Add flour mixture and beat until smooth. Stir in hazelnuts, orange peel, and chocolate chips.

Shape dough into two logs. Bake until lightly browned and almost firm to the touch, about 30 minutes. Cool logs on sheet for 30 minutes and reduce oven temperature to 325F.

Once logs are cool, transfer to a cutting board. Slice logs into 1/2" thick slices. Place the slices back onto prepared trays and bake another 20 minutes or until golden. The cookies will harden as they cool.

Makes 35
Recipe Adapted from Bon Appetit

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