Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Cinnamon Hazelnut Biscotti

"They don't look very... They look, um...rustic."   Say what you will, they're beautiful and they're f*cking delicious.  I know, I'm completely shameless, but they really are.  I made them late last night and then after the first bite, honestly, the first thing that went through my mind was, "f*cking hell, pat on the back, Maria, pat on the back."
I'm not giving myself the all the credit here, it's yet another recipe by my favorite pastry chef, Christoph Felder. These biscotti are made with almost a meringue base, where instead of just mixing all the ingredients together to form a dough, the eggs and the sugar are beaten for 20 minutes (as specifically stated in the recipe) and then the flour, nuts and cinnamon are gently folded in. These are crisp and crunchy and taste like a cross between brutti ma buoni and biscotti.  Have you ever had brutti ma buoni?  "Ugly but good", as literally translated, they are these Italian hazelnut cookies that are crisp on the outside and almost macaron-like in the middle.  Here's a nice recipe of it if you've never tried them. 

These are made to be dipped into a shot of espresso.  It's a different experience, and either way, eaten on their own, or having them disintegrate in your mouth with the bitter coffee, these cookies are mind blowing.  I think next time I'll make these with peanuts and lemon zest...
It's been a really good day.  It was sunny, it was dry, we were at double digits in terms of temperature -- may I remind you that I live in Scotland, where when I first arrived I was convinced that the sun was just a newspaper.  I spent today sitting outside on the bench eating cookies and fresh British strawberries that came early this year.

Oh and I got into my dream culinary school in London.  Yea.  Sh*t's getting real :)

Recipe adapted from Patisserie
makes about 30 biscotti
2 eggs
250g ( 1 1/4 cup) sugar
1 tbsp cinnamon
250g (1 1/2 cups) hazelnuts
260g (2 cups + 1 tbsp) flour

Put the hazelnuts on a single layer on a baking tray and put in a preheated oven of 180C for 10-15 minutes until toasted and fragrant.  Take out and rub with a kitchen towel to remove the skins.  Roughly chop.

Combine the eggs with the sugar and, using an electric whisk, beat for 20 minutes.  Then whisk in the cinnamon.

Fold in the hazelnuts and then the flour.  The batter should be thick. 

Divide the batter in half and 2 loaves on the baking sheet with wet hands.   Bake at 180C for 30 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.

Leave the oven on.  Immediately transfer the loaves to a cutting board and slice them on the diagonal about 1cm thick.  Place the slices cut side down on the baking sheet and bake for 7-10 minutes, until crisp. 

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