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Practically Speaking

Kyle and her husband moved to Brookfield in 1986. She became active in local politics and started blogging in 2004. Her focus is primarily on local issues but often includes state and national topics, too. Kyle looks at things from the taxpayers' perspective in a creative, yet down to earth way, addressing them from a practical point of view.

Biscotti Nocciole Cioccolato (hazelnut, chocolate cookies)

Good food / recipes, Just for fun!, Living well on less $

It is no secret; I love coffee! And what goes better with coffee than a good cookie? Biscotti, of course!

Biscotti are twice baked cookies. The bis meaning twice and cotto meaning baked. They are a dry cookie, meant to be dunked.

For years people have been requesting* my cookie recipes that are part of my annual cookie marathon. Some people are very secretive about their recipes--either not sharing at all or more sinisterly, not including a key ingredient. That is not my style. My philosophy is spread the wealth when it come to recipes. So while we are still in the relaxed state of post Christmas/New Year holidays mode, here is the biscotti recipe:

Biscotti Nocciole Cioccolato 

1/2 Cup butter

3/4 Cup sugar

2 eggs

2 Cups unbleached white flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 Tablespoons of Frangelico or Amaretto 

3/4 Cup hazelnuts (toasted* and chopped finely) I use twice this amount

4 oz. bittersweet chocolate (chopped) I use twice this amount

Directions

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease or spray with Pam 2 cookie sheets. I use very heavy aluminum pans. (Aluminum is the only way to bake in my opinion. Tin causes things to burn on the bottom and edges and be underbaked in the center and top.)

Prepare the nuts and chocolate. I have not had good luck with purchased, shelled hazelnuts--even from high end stores. They often were rancid. I instead purchase nuts in the shell, toast them in a 300 degree oven for about 1/2 hour, cool, shell, rub as many of the brown hulls off as possible, and then chop finely. That is a lot of work, but I love the hazelnut flavor. You could substitute toasted almonds instead. Place shelled nuts on a cookie sheet and bake for about 15 minutes at 300. Test often during the process to avoid burning.

I use Ghirardelli extra dark double chocolate chips. (I think they call them 60% cocoa now?) Chop the chips separately from the nuts on a cutting board.

Cream the butter and sugar. Add eggs and cream until light and fluffy.

Add the dry ingredients and mix.

Add in the chopped chocolate, nuts and flavoring. I use Frangelica, a hazelnut liqueur. (Really it is just hazelnut extract.) Mix.

Baking

Divide the dough into 4 parts--more or less--depending on what sized cookie you want. Scoop out 1/4th of dough and shape it into a log as you put it on one side of the cookie sheet. Pat smooth. Put another log onto same cookie sheet. Then do the same on the other cookie sheet with the remaining 1/2 dough. They will expand.

Bake for about 25 minutes at 300 degrees. (Always check about 3/4 of the way through. Not all ovens bake alike.) Take out of oven. The original directions told you to transfer to a bread board and cut, but I cut the cookies right on the cookie sheet after letting them cool for a few minutes. Using a meat cleaver helps as it is a shorter, more square shaped knife. Cut into 3/4 to 1 inch thick slices. As I cut them, I turn them on their sides and arrange on the same cookie sheet.

Bake for another 10 minutes. (While you are baking you could make some coffee!)

Yield 

One batch makes about 60 tiny cookies. The ones you see in coffee shops are about 3 to 4 times the size mine are. If you want those giant sized ones, probably you just make one log! Baking times would need to be adjusted too. A double batch makes 3 trays of 3 thin logs. These I baked 20 minutes, sliced, then baked 7 minutes longer

Store in an air-tight container.

This recipe came to me courtesy of my sister. She got it from a biscotti cookbook. Although our grandfather was from Sicily, we never had biscotti in the house. Stella Doro anise toast was about as close as we came. I think we can credit the rise of the Starbucks coffee shops and their like with the popularity of biscotti.

For those of you who enjoy the history, one website stated: 

Biscotti is said to have originated during Columbus's time and credited to an Italian baker who originally served them with Tuscan wines. They became so popular that every province developed their own flavored version. Because of their long storage ability they were an ideal food for sailors, soldiers, and fisherman.

Most European countries have adopted their own version of biscotti: English - rusks, French - biscotte and croquets de carcassonne, Germans - zwieback, Greeks - biskota and paxemadia, Jewish - mandelbrot, and Russians - sukhariki.

Maybe this should be my New Year's resolution for those things I keep meaning to do? Do it now! 1 cookie recipe posted...14 or so to go?

Enjoy.

A batch of home baked biscotti and a pound of coffee would make a nice hostess gift. 

*Kathryn requested a biscotti recipe recently, stating her recipe was very sticky and difficult to form. (You could try spraying your hands with Pam while forming the dough.) The same website I got the history from said that recipes that have no shortening are stickier. The recipes with butter are not as sticky and do not bake up as hard. They also don't keep as long. Mine have never lasted long enough to know how long they keep, but in general, cookies made with butter keep a very long time without losing flavor.
 

Please, comment content should relate to the subject of the post. Although I try to respond to many, do not interpret my lack of a response as agreement.

Links: 

 

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Brookfield7, Fairly Conservative, Vicki Mckenna, Jay Weber, The Right View Wisconsin, Mark Levin, CNS News

 

 

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