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Hazelnut biscotti are an Italian specialty which are popular in many regions of the world. These crisp, crunchy cookies can be dipped in hot drinks, paired with wine, and eaten on their own as a snack. Some markets and bakeries carry hazelnut biscotti, sometimes offering several varieties, and it is also possible to make them at home or to order them from specialty companies which import Italian treats.
In Italian, “biscotti” simply means “biscuits,” and the term may be used for any sort of cookie, but outside of Italy, people use the term to refer to a particular type of cookie which is known in Italy as “cantucci.” Cantucci have been made from Italy for centuries, and they are considered a quintessential example of Italian cuisine.
Biscotti are made by mixing a slightly sweet dough which traditionally contains anise and at least one type of nut, with hazelnuts being especially popular. First, the dough is baked in the shape of a loaf, then sliced, and then the slices are baked a second time. The second baking is used to allow the cookies to become very crisp and crunchy, and as long as they are stored in an airtight container, they will keep for an extended period of time.
Classically, hazelnut biscotti are made with toasted hazelnuts, which create a very rich, nutty flavor. Some cooks may also include hazelnut extract to intensify the flavor, and in some cases chocolate or cocoa may be mixed into the dough. Hazelnut biscotti may also be dipped in white or dark chocolate for additional flavor. In all of these variations, the cookies remain crispy, and they have a very rich flavor without too much sweetness.
Biscotti are ideal as dipping cookies to pair with coffee or coffee drinks such as espresso, and this is a common way to serve them. They may also be dunked in tea and other drinks, or eaten as a palate cleanser after a meal. When the cookies are dipped, they become dense and chewy, absorbing the liquid along with its flavors.
In addition to hazelnut biscotti, it is also possible to find biscotti made with walnuts, almonds, pecans, pistachios, and other types of nuts. Variants on the basic recipe can also include dried or candied fruit and various forms of chocolate, including chocolate chunks and chocolate dips. Some people like to present several kinds of biscotti after dinner as a treat, allowing people to choose the variation which is most appealing.
Do you know of any hazelnut biscotti recipes I can use? And are they easy to make? What ingredients and materials are needed? I personally like to dip my biscottis in chocolate tea. It is a tasty combination!