Gingerbread biscotti with hazelnuts

Come November, I start craving those holiday spices we're all familiar with.  Since we're comfortably into December already, those cravings are at a peak!  It's so wonderful to bake something and have the aromas of warm spices like cinnamon, cloves, and ginger swirling in the air.  Sugar and spice really does make everything nice!
To get some of those holiday spices in the air - and for a taste of those yummy flavors - I made a batch of gingerbread biscotti.  To me, biscotti is just a great snacking cookie to have around all year round.  I really love making and eating them; they're not too rich but so satisfying, and go ever so very nicely with a warm drink.
I added toasted hazelnuts to these gingerbread biscotti, which are flavored with ground cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and a few grinds of black pepper.  The mix of these spices with dark brown sugar as it bakes makes an intoxicating aroma. The holiday flavors definitely come through!  

You can the hazelnuts but I think biscotti and nuts just go together.  The hazelnuts add a layer of richness to the cookies in a healthful way. Since this batch of biscotti has a little bit of butter in it, they are crisp and crunchy, as you'd expect, but maybe not quite as intensely hard as the biscotti that do not have butter.  I used to be firmly in the "no-butter in biscotti" camp but I've come around and now really enjoy both. 
I couldn't resist dipping some of my gingerbread-hazelnut biscotti in dark chocolate.  I think that white chocolate might have been more visually appealing but I'm all about the dark chocolate so I went with what we like to eat.  And I must say...I really, really loved the chocolate dipped ends of the biscotti!  That's probably not surprising given the well-established delicious pairing of chocolate and hazelnuts.  

If you're looking for a cookie option that's fit for the holidays but not quite so rich, gingerbread biscotti is a great one.  It's also just a great cookie to have on hand right now for snacking or everyday dessert...the gingerbread flavors put me in the holiday spirit while the nice crunch of these cookies always perk me up (so I'm ready for more holiday shopping)!


This is a really easy recipe that doesn't require the mixer.  The recipe comes from Smitten Kitchen; I made a few changes, including adding hazelnuts to my batch (one log or about 15 cookies; half the original recipe), skipping the egg white glaze as well as the cinnamon-sugar coating.
It's just a mix of wet and dry ingredients and you end up with a somewhat sticky dough that you press out into a log about 2 1/2 inches wide.

Bake the log for about 25 minutes (the kitchen is going to smell great!), then take it out of the oven to cool slightly for about 15-20 minutes.  Then, it's time to slice the log and get the biscotti into the oven for the second bake.
During the second bake, the biscotti firm up further and turn nice and golden brown.  Ready to go.  Allow them to cool and dip them in some melted chocolate...I highly recommend it.
Once fully cooled, you can store the biscotti in an airtight container for ages.  It's such a great standby cookie!

Recipe:

Gingerbread Biscotti with Hazelnuts
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

- Makes approximately 15 biscotti - 

1 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
Pinch of ground cloves
Couple grinds of black pepper
1/4 teaspoon coarse sea salt
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
3 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Generous 1/2 cup toasted hazelnuts, coarsely chopped (optional; you can substitute with chocolate chunks)

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicon baking mat.

In a bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, black pepper, and salt.  In another bowl, whisk together the sugars, melted butter, egg, and vanilla.  Add wet ingredients, together with the nuts, into the dry ingredients.  Stir together with a sturdy rubber spatula until combined and you end up with a soft, sticky dough.

With lightly floured hands, transfer dough onto the prepared baking sheet and shape it into a slightly flattened log about 11 inches long and 2 1/2 inches wide.  Bake until browned, about 25 minutes.  Remove baking sheet from the oven, let cool on a wire rack for 15-20 minutes.  

Carefully transfer the warm log to a cutting board.  With a serrated knife, use a sawing moment and cut on a diagonally into 1/2 inch thick slices.  Place, cut side down, back onto the baking sheet.  Bake for 10-12 minutes, until golden underneath, then flip biscotti to the other side and bake for another 6-8 minutes until golden brown and firm all over.  Let cool on wire rack.

You can melt some chocolate and dip the biscotti about halfway; allow to sit on parchment or wax paper until chocolate sets.  Once fully cooled, you can store biscotti in an airtight container for weeks.




32 comments:

  1. I bet they smell and taste divinely!

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    1. Yes - first it was that divine aroma and then you really taste it in the biscotti. : ) Happy holidays!

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  2. I've never made biscotti before but I would love to find some time; love the hazelnuts in this.

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    1. I love having a biscotti as a nibble or treat. The hazelnuts add such a great richness (and goes so well with the chocolate)!

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  3. Don't you just LOVE biscotti? Coffee or tea and a crunchy cookie will cure anything :) These are really lovely and I adore Gingerbread anything. Have a wonderful week!

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    1. I really, really do. Thanks, Tricia.

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  4. Love this Italian classic! These are extremely delicious with all the warm winter spices and hazelnuts.

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  5. Hi Monica, these look divine, all my favorite flavors and smells this time of year. Love that you dipped them in chocolate. Happy Holidays!!!

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    1. The extra ends were extra good. ; )

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  6. Ginger and spices! They surely smell good and the biscotti looks delcious!!

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    1. Thanks, Bal. I loved the smell and taste of this batch.

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  7. Gingerbread anything is my son's favorite! Love that you made yummy biscotti! These look delicious, Monica! I can just imagine how amazing they made your house smell! I'd love a few with my tea right now and they're the perfect addiction to any cookie platter! :)

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    1. I wish it was my son's but he's not heavily into gingerbread or biscotti though he did have a gingerbread men cookie phase. : ) These did smell wonderful. Love all your holiday cookies!

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  8. What a coincidence, Monica. I also made Gingerbread biscotti last week and my next post is Gingerbread biscotti, but yours look way more delicious than mine. A hot cup of tea and these biscotti would make a great brunch. Would love to give this is a go when my baked batch is finished.

    Anu
    http://www.mygingergarlickitchen.com/

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    1. I am sure yours are every bite as good and better! No doubt I'd love to swap gingerbread biscotti with you!

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  9. Gingerbread + hazelnuts?? That combo sounds out of this world! Biscotti is such a staple in my family and I make at least two batches for my grandma every year for Christmas! I think these may need to be one of them...

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    1. Yeah, those rich hazelnuts really boost them but the gingerbread flavors still come through loud and clear. Your grandma might enjoy these! : ) Happy baking!

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  10. Yummy... These aromas of warm spices: cinnamon, cloves, and ginger are my favourites in biscuits. I can image the smell in your kitchen, Monica :)

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    1. Yes...it's so nice with a cup of something! : )

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  11. Such a lovely treat! Yes, I do smell the spices from here and the hazelnuts are the perfect addition...makes them look stunning!

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    1. Thanks so much, Sonali. It is a nice treat to have on standby for the holidays. Wish I had some right now.

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  12. Mmm I love the gingerbread and hazelnut together! Lovely!!

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    1. Thanks, Ashley. I really liked the addition of the hazelnuts...they gave the biscotti more substantial and just tasted good! : )

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  13. Monica I have been wanting to make biscotti for such a longtime and today looking at this, I totally feel motivated to give these a try!! Love the flavors!!

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  14. Monica, can you believe that I have never made biscotti? I am loving this recipe with all the hazelnuts and spices...I can imagine how tasty these are...
    Hope you are having a great week :)

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    1. You make super fancy breads so this would be a walk in the park. Enjoy the weekend, Juliana.

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  15. Half the original recipe sounds great and I really like the changes…they fit my tastes perfectly. Just pinned, thank you!

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  16. I am a huge fan of crunchy hazelnuts. I know these would be a favorite at our home, especially if you dipped your biscotti in dark chocolate.

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    1. Thanks, Bobbi. Biscotti is definitely handy to have around.

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