Biscotti (including tozzetti, cantucci)

25 Jan

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There are many ways to make biscotti. The defining characteristic is that they are cooked twice (bis = twice; cotti = cooked), first baked in a loaf, slices of which are then gently toasted to dry.

They go by various names, and with many variations, in different parts of Italy. The almond and lemon ones here are similar to the tozzetti or cantucci dunked into Vin Santo, especially in central Italy. Some of my favourite biscotti are lightly flavoured with anise, though I haven’t tried to make these (yet). For tozzetti, cut the slices thicker than what you see here, up to 1cm thick.

Here I give the recipe for two different flavours – almond- lemon or hazelnut-chocolate. The almond variety are best suited to dunking in Vin Santo, or with a cup of tea, while the the hazelnut and chocolate go better with coffee or darker liqueurs. For special occasions I like to make a batch of each.

I will occasionally bring these to meetings when it’s my turn to bring the snacks.

You get a clearer sense of how to make biscotti with the visuals, I think, so this recipe has an unusually high number of pictures. The specifics of getting the skin off hazelnuts, and the shaping and cutting of the pastries is better conveyed in photography than in verbal description.

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Ingredients

– 1 cup (220g) caster sugar

– 2 eggs

– 2 cups (300g) plain flour, sifted

–  ½  teaspoon baking powder

and EITHER:

– 150g (just over a cup) natural almonds

– grated rind of  a lemon

OR:

– 150g (just over a cup) hazelnuts

– 1 to 2 tablespoons Dutch cocoa powder (to taste)

 – grated rind of an orange (optional)

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Equipment

– Baking Tray

– Teatowel

– Baking paper

– large mixing bowl

– electric beater (can use a hand-operated beater if necessary)

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 170°C (150°C fan-forced)

2. Toast the nuts in the oven on a baking tray for about ten minutes, turning frequently.

If working with hazelnuts do the following: Once toasted, wrap the hazelnuts up tightly in a teatowel, let them ‘steam’ in the towel for two to three minutes, then wring them to loosen the skins. Once the hazelnuts are cool enough, rub the remaining skins off as best you can (not all the skin will come off all the nuts). Hazelnut skins are bitter, you want to get rid of as much of them as possible.

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3. Place sugar, eggs and grated lemon/orange rind into a large bowl. Beat until pale and thick. Fold in flour and baking powder (and the cocoa powder if making the hazelnut version).

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4. Stir in the almonds or the hazelnuts.

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Knead on a floured surface until the dough is smooth and ingredients well combined.

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5. Form two long flattish logs (about 25cm long x 5cm wide) and place on a sheet of baking paper on a baking tray, leaving space between logs. Bake for 20-25 minutes until the dough is firm to the touch. The almond log will be slightly golden. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool completely (about an hour).

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6. Preheat the oven to 140°C (120°C fan-forced).

7. Once logs are cool, use a small serrated knife to cut each log on the diagonal in 0.5cm slices.

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8. Lay slices flat on the baking tray and return to oven for 15-20 minutes, turning part-way through , until completely dried out. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.

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These will keep in an airtight container for 2-3 weeks.

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2 Responses to “Biscotti (including tozzetti, cantucci)”

  1. Anne P January 25, 2014 at 2:21 am #

    Okay yes I am totally partial. But these are seriously really really yummy. I was upset about this big batch you see in these beautiful pictures because they were mostly saved for a QSE function. But I kept sneaking them anyway!

  2. Silvan Rus January 25, 2014 at 4:46 pm #

    I probably ate the most of these at this year’s first meeting.

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