Friday, January 1, 2010

Orange-Hazelnut Biscotti

Thank goodness our country allows fruits and nuts to marry.
Even Rush Limbaugh would approve of this fabulous union of bright, zingy orange and the delicate flavor of hazelnuts.

Call it a filbert, and it sounds like a comic strip character. Call it a hazelnut, and it sounds positively regal, which is exactly what this elegant, citrus-flavored biscotti imparts—regality. I got the recipe from Cook’s Illustrated (membership required), but I made a few notes in italics below. Baking Illustrated has this same recipe with almonds instead of the hazels. And as noted in the original Cook's Illustrated directions below, a combination of both nuts would also be a winner.

I served this biscotti with chocolate sorbet, and it was a match made in heaven. However, next time, I think I’ll try to introduce chocolate into the biscotti itself. But that's another day, another recipe, and another legal battle for the state of California.


The addition of a small amount of butter produces a richer, more cookie-like texture. Although they will keep at least two weeks in an airtight container, these biscotti are especially good when eaten the same day they are baked. A combination of almonds and hazelnuts works very well, too.

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon table salt

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 cup granulated sugar

2 large eggs

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

¼ teaspoon almond extract

¾ cup whole hazelnuts with skins; toasted, cooled, and chopped course (After roasting the nuts, the skins were so hard, they tasted kind of burnt, so I took them off)

1 large orange zested and minced to yield 2 tablespoons zest (It took 2 oranges for me to get 2 TBSPs)

1. Sift first three ingredients together in a small bowl.

2. Beat butter and sugar together in bowl of electric mixer until light and smooth; add eggs one at a time, then extracts. Stir in hazelnuts and zest. Sift dry ingredients over egg mixture, then fold in until dough is just combined.

3. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Halve dough and turn each portion onto an oiled cookie sheet covered with parchment. Using floured hands, quickly stretch each portion of dough into a rough 13-by-2-inch log, placing them about 3 inches apart on the cookie sheet. Pat each dough shape to smooth it. Bake, turning pan once, until loaves are golden and just beginning to crack on top, about 35 minutes.

4. Cool the loaves for 10 minutes (I would wait till completely cool so they won't break when you cut them); lower oven temperature to 325 degrees. cut each loaf diagonally into 3/8-inch slices with a serrated knife. Lay the slices about 1/2-inch apart on the cookie sheet, cut, side up and return them to the oven. Bake, turning over each cookie halfway through baking, until crisp and golden brown on both sides, about 15 minutes. Transer biscotti to wire rack and cool completely.

Makes 3 - 4 dozen

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