Deep chocolate biscotti punctuated by hazelnuts and dark chocolate chips. These gluten free cookies are perfect for dunking in your morning cup of coffee, or your bedtime hot chocolate. Anytime is biscotti time!Biscotti is one of my favourite treats but gluten free biscotti is hard to find in cafes, which is a shame because it is so easy to make, and the perfect treat to nibble alongside your latte (I’ll take a chai latte please). I fell in love with this crispy biscuit when I was travelling through Italy a few years ago. I enjoyed biscotti at all hours of the day: alongside a morning cappuccino, as an afternoon pick me up with a deep black espresso, or dunked into a sweet glass of vin santo after dinner. I was in biscotti heaven.Finding gluten free biscotti at cafes at home though has proven hard, but never fear, today I am here with a gluten free makeover for everyone’s favourite Italian cookie!
I have a particular weakness for the classic Italian combination of chocolate and hazelnut (I think that Nutella should be counted among the Italian masterpieces alongside the Sistine Chapel) and infusing biscotti with these flavours results in the perfect baked treat to accompany your beverage of choice. I especially enjoyed these dunked into an ice cold glass of milk on a hot summer afternoon.To allow the hazelnut flavour to shine through the chocolate I used hazelnut in three different forms so that you can taste the distinct but delicate flavour underneath the dark cocoa. There is hazelnut meal in the cookies, which renders them a little softer and not so teeth-shatteringly hard as other biscotti, a touch of hazelnut liqueur (Frangelico) in the batter, and then toasted hazelnuts are stirred through the batter before it is baked. A triple threat of hazelnut works out perfectly in these cookies. When you come to make your own biscotti, the two baking sessions can seem a little intimidating, but these are secretly the simplest biscuits to make! One tip: the cookie batter for biscotti is a little stickier than normal, but if you make sure your hands are slightly damp you will be able to handle it more easily when you pat it out into two loaves. You bake the loaves until they are just firm and then allow them to cool for an hour (I actually left mine overnight because I ran out of time!) then slice them up and bake them again for just 10 minutes. For one extra baking session you are rewarded with crispy-edged, soft-centered biscotti generously sprinkled with toasted hazelnuts and dark chocolate chips. Heaven.
These chocolate and hazelnut goodies would be perfect for your holiday cookie baking plans too. I know I would love to receive a plate of biscotti (not that I’m throwing out hints or anything). Wrap up some biscotti for a quick neighbour gift, bring a plate to your office holiday party, make some as a treat for Santa Claus. See – anytime is biscotti time!
Chocolate Hazelnut Biscotti
Makes about 2 dozen | gluten free
- 125 grams hazelnuts
- 40 grams hazelnut meal
- 60 grams buckwheat flour
- 60 grams sorghum flour
- 60 grams brown rice flour
- 60 grams white rice flour
- 60 grams (1/2 cup) cocoa powder
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 90 grams butter, softened
- 200 grams (1 cup) caster sugar + 2 tablespoons extra
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon instant coffee powder
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon Frangelico liqueur (optional)
- 1 cup dark chocolate chips
- Preheat your oven to 180C (350F) and line two baking sheets with baking paper.
- Spread hazelnuts over one of the prepared sheets and bake in the oven for 8 minutes or until they are fragrant. Remove from the oven and allow to cool until required.
- Whisk together hazelnut meal, buckwheat flour, sorghum flour, brown rice flour, white rice flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Whisk until no lumps remain and use your fingers to break up any lumps of hazelnut meal.
- In the bowl of a standmixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a large bowl using a handheld mixer, beat butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.
- Add eggs, coffee powder, vanilla, and Frangelico (if using) and beat until well incorporated. Your mixture may look curdled, but don’t worry, this is normal and the dough will come together nicely in the next step.
- With the mixer on a very low speed add your whisked dry ingredients and mix until a dough forms.
- Switch to a wooden spoon and mix through the chocolate chips and toasted hazelnuts. You may have to knead them in with your hands very lightly if the dough is too stiff to work with the wooden spoon.
- Turn the dough out onto a clean bench and divide in half. Work each half of dough into a log that is about 12cm wide and 20-25cm long. Place on one of the prepared baking trays. Repeat with the other half of the dough. Sprinkle both logs with the extra caster sugar.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes or until the logs are just firm to the touch. Switch the tray’s positions halfway through baking time. The surface will crack a little and the logs may spread a small amount.
- Remove the baking trays from the oven, place the logs on a cooling rack, and allow the logs to cool for an hour.
- Preheat your oven to 160C (320F).
- Take one of the logs and cut across to make pieces that are about 1-1.5cm thick, or thinner if you’d like.
- Lay each piece back down on the lined baking sheets until the baking sheets are full. Repeat with the other log until both trays are full.
- Bake the slices in the oven for 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and carefully flip the biscotti pieces over and bake for a further 5 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and cool for 5 minutes on the trays before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.