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Hazelnut Cranberry Biscotti

Hazelnut Cranberry Biscotti

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Makes about 40.
By Dennis W. Viau; an original creation.

Besides being a little expensive to make (I paid nearly $15 for the hazelnuts), it is sweet and delicious. Homemade biscotti is always a treat. Enjoy it with coffee or tea, at breakfast or after a meal. It makes an excellent gift, too.

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon baking soda
10 ounces (280g) hazelnuts; skinned and roasted (see below)
2 cups (255g) dried cranberries
4 cups (20 ounces (570g)) all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
1½ teaspoon baking powder
1¾ cups (350g) sugar
4 large eggs plus 1 large yolk (reserve the egg white)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Optional For Garnish:
Reserved egg white (to make an egg wash)
2 tablespoons raw sugar
About 40 almonds

Directions:

Heat about 3 cups of water to boiling in a medium saucepan with high sides. Add the baking soda (it will bubble up) and the hazelnuts. Return to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer about 3 minutes. Prepare a large bowl of cold water. Using a spider or slotted spoon, transfer the boiled hazelnuts to the cold water to cool. Rub the skins off the hazelnuts with paper towel. Arrange the skinned hazelnuts on a baking sheet and roast in a 350°F (175°C) oven for 15 minutes. Remove and allow to cool. In a food processor, chop the hazelnuts until most have been reduced to the size of bread crumbs but some larger pieces still remain. Add the dried cranberries to the food processor and chop briefly.

In a large bowl combine the flour, salt, and baking powder. In a smaller bowl combine the sugar, eggs and egg yolk, and vanilla extract. Mix well. Pour the egg mixture into the flour mixture and combine until a dough starts to form. The mixture doesn’t need to be thoroughly combined yet.

Add the chopped hazelnuts and cranberries to the dough and combine until well incorporated. Using your hands to squeeze the dough together works best. Turn the dough onto a clean surface and knead until combined, about 2 minutes. The dough will be sticky.

Heat the oven to 350°F (175°C) if not heated. Divide the dough in half and shape into two loaves about 16 inches (41cm) in length, or long enough to fit onto your baking sheet. Wetting your hands with a little water will help you to shape the loaves more easily without sticking. Arrange the loaves on a baking sheet.

Combine the reserved egg white with a teaspoon of water and mix well. Using a pastry brush, coat each loaf with egg wash and press almonds, close together, into the surface, angling the almonds slightly (see Step 17 below). Brush again with egg wash and garnish with raw sugar.

Bake 35 to 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool about 10 minutes. Slice diagonally between the almonds and arrange the biscotti on the baking sheet with a little space between them. Reduce the oven to 275°F (135°C) and bake the biscotti for 40 to 45 minutes to thoroughly dry. Cool and store in an air-tight container.