Yesterday was a public holiday around here with schools and stores closed and a day off work, so we decided to visit the breathtakingly beautiful City of Maastricht in the Netherlands. We have paid many visits to this City and I do not think that we will ever tire of spending time there.
The day before we left, I decided to bake two kinds of Biscotti and today, I am posting the recipe for one of them, our new favorite, namely Almond, Hazelnut and Dark Chocolate Biscotti. Last time we were in the Netherlands, I caught a glance at a very similar recipe which we tremendously enjoyed and I decided to re-create it. In our house, these Biscotti that are studded with two kinds of nuts and dark chocolate, now go by the name of the “Dutch Biscotti". Therefore, it seemed fitting to take them along for a quick photo session along the Mass river. The Maas is a major European river, rising in France and flowing through Belgium and the Netherlands before draining into the North Sea. It has a total length of 925 km (575 mi). One of the many cities that borders the Maas is Maastricht.
These crunchy Italian biscuits or cookies were traditionally made with hazelnut and aniseed. But nowadays they are often flavored with a wide variety of nuts and lemon or orange rind or different kinds of chocolate and all sorts of dried fruits. They are hard and crunchy because they are twice-cooked ("bis" is the Italian word for "twice" and "cotti" for "cooked"). This makes them ideal for dipping into dessert wine or coffee, as a delectable after dinner treat. But they are equally good with some tea or just on their own. Recipes for Biscotti date back as far as the 13th century in Italy.
Almond, Hazelnut and Chocolate Biscotti
Ingredients for the Biscotti
- 100 grams (3.5 ounces) whole almonds
- 50 grams (1.7 ounces) whole hazelnuts
- 100 grams (3.5 ounces) dark chocolate of your choice (I use Lindt Excellence 70% cocoa solids)
- 125 grams ( 4.4 ounces) AP (plain) flour, plus extra for dusting
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- one pinch of fine sea salt
- 1 ½ tsp vanilla sugar
- 125 grams (4.4 ounces) powdered sugar
- 25 grams (0.8 ounce/2 tbsp) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 egg (L), free range or organic if possible
Preparation of the Hazelnuts and Almonds
(you can skip these steps if you have almonds and hazelnuts that are already blanched)
- Place the almonds in a pot of boiling water, boil for about one minute, carefully pour them through a sieve, place them on a kitchen towel and squeeze the almonds out of their skins.
- Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius (350 degrees Fahrenheit).
- In a baking pan toast hazelnuts in one layer in middle of oven 10 to 15 minutes, or until lightly colored and skins are blistered. Wrap nuts in a kitchen towel and let steam 1 minute. Rub nuts in towel to remove loose skins (don't worry about skins that don't come off) and cool completely.
Preparation of the Cookies
- Line two baking sheets with parchment paper (unbleached if possible or use Silpat baking mats).
- Chop the chocolate into chunks (this is best done using a serrated knife).
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, powdered sugar, and vanilla sugar until well combined.
- Add the butter and egg and stir all the ingredients together until the mixture is well combined and begins to comes together as a dough.
- Add the whole almonds, hazelnuts and chocolate chunks and using your hands knead the dough, turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface.
- Divide the dough into two equal parts.
- Wrap each dough piece in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for abut thirty minutes and up to a day.
- When you are ready to bake the Biscotti, pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius (350 degrees Fahrenheit), take the dough pieces out of the fridge and dust your work surface with some more flour. Then shape the dough into two fat logs.
- Transfer the two logs of the dough to your prepared baking sheet and bake for about 15 minutes, or until the logs have doubled in size.
- Remove the baking sheet from the oven, place on a cooling rack and leave to cool for about 15 minutes.
- Reduce your oven temperature to 150 degrees Celsius (300 degrees Fahrenheit).
- When the logs have cooled but are still warm, carefully transfer them to a cutting board and slice each about 1 cm (½ inches) thick, you should cut on the diagonal, using a very sharp knife.
- Place each Biscotti slice onto a baking sheet or onto cooling racks that you place onto the baking sheets thereby allowing for the hot air to circulate around each Biscotti cookie slice and return the baking sheet to the oven for a further 10 to 15 minutes, or until crisp, golden-brown and cooked through.
- Transfer to cooling racks and cool completely.
- Place them in cookie tins, they keep well for up to one month.
Twice-baked, these sophisticated Italian-style crunchy Almond, Hazelnut and Dark Chocolate Biscotti are not only a perfect foodie gift, but are just the thing to accompany a silky dessert or a strong espresso.
Thank you for taking us along on your visit...I've not been there. Your almond, hazelnut and chocolate biscotti could become my favorite as well.ReplyDelete
Karen, thank you for your comment - if you ever get the chance to travel to the Netherlands, believe me, Masstricht is a "must see" city.Delete
Lovely to visit the town :) the biscotti look and sound delicious -ReplyDelete
Mary, if you like Biscotti, this seems to be a family friendly recipe, I tested it on numerous occasions and it did receive rather raving reviews - especially from the kids.Delete
Europe is so lovely and it's easy to travel to different countries. Lovely pics!ReplyDelete
Great recipe - I've never made biscotti and I'm going to try your recipe, Andrea. xo
Colette, yes, it is easy to cross borders when living in EU, in every sense of the words. And we consider ourselves rather lucky that we are able to do so. The Netherlands, for example, are a mere hour´s drive away from where we live.Delete
Wow, shot on location! And what a fabulous location! Love biscotti. Will try this recipe very soon, Andrea.ReplyDelete
Hester, lovely comment, thank you! These biscuits always look so complicated but they are not and people love to eat them with their coffee and they love to receive them as gifts too. So go ahead and try this nice recipe and let me know how it turns out if you get a chance.Delete
I have yet to try ones with aniseed. I have been to Maastricht on a trip to Europe, and I remember an flower auction going on at an open market! The biscotti and pictures are wonderful Andrea!ReplyDelete
Thank you, Paula - biscotti are always such a treat, no matter where you eat them.Delete
Oh how lovely. I so enjoyed the last picture. Those colorful bikes against the gray wall are gorgeous! I love biscotti, and this one sounds particularly delicious. Hazelnut and Almond? Such a great idea to add both! Thank you for sharing, sweet friend!ReplyDelete
Monet, thank you for the nice comment - I adore the Dutch bicycles, one of those colorful ones with flowers is next on my wish list. Two of our kids already have them, they are simply fantatsic!Delete
I have yet to make biscotti--for some reason I thought you had to drink tea or coffee to enjoy these (do you). I do like crisp cookies with wonderful flavors and nuts. I must make them--soon. Thanks for the beautiful history lesson, complete with photos. I do love coming to your blog. I come away with so much more than yummy food ideas. Thank you.ReplyDelete
Cindy, what a wonderful comment - thank you for myking my day today! It makes me happy to learn that you enjoy reading my blog and looking at the photos! And those biscottis can be eaten anytime, anywhere, no need to drink coffee alongside - I know that you are not the coffee drinker - those cookies are delicious on their own.Delete
What a fun day you had Andrea with delicious treats to go along! Maastricht looks like an amazing place that you could just wander around for days, of course checking out every little Bäckerei, of course!ReplyDelete
Chris, yes, Maastricht is a beautiful city to visit and to drop by a "bakkerij" or "bakeshop" is always one of the highlights of our visits there.Delete
Sounds like you had a great day. And your biscotti looks great!ReplyDelete
Beth, wonderful sightseeing, cool weather and great Biscotti - what more could one want on a day off?!Delete
The biscotti looks delicious! Great bit of photography too.ReplyDelete
Thank you, Trishie! Glad that you enjoyed the pictures that I took along the beautiful Maas river in the even more beautiful City of Masstricht (NL).Delete
I love biscotti! And I love the nuts in them too. So glad to see you have almond and hazelnuts....these are the ones I use quite often. Your photos are gorgeous. SO glad you took them with a lovely background. I'm envy that you got such a great view. ;)ReplyDelete
Thank you, Amy, biscotti are some of our very favorite cookies of all times. Almonds, hazelnuts and dark chocolate sure taste wonderful together with some pure vanilla sugar and cinnamon, perfect as an afternoon pick-me-up or just as a little indulgence during the day.Delete