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Author Notes: I love to make biscotti any time of year but at Christmas especially, they make the BEST dunking cookies (well, along with the taralli wine cookies!) and with a hot cappuccino, I couldn’t ask for a happier breakfast. The only problem is the number I consume due to how much I love them….
It brings me back to the times when my italian grandmother made them for us, she would have never varied from the traditional recipe of anise or almond but it didn’t matter because they were one of those delectables that I waited to have every time we went to her house for a visit. I can remember the old antique plate stacked full of biscotti waiting on the table when we arrived. I am not even sure I said hello or gave her a hug, I just made a bee line to that table. Of course no vin santo for us but milk did the trick when I was younger, she probably wished she would have given us a sip or two of vin santo when she agreed to watch all 8 of her grandkids together. Oh mama mia, poor lady!
Each year during Christmas baking, I change up the dried fruit and nut mixture which makes them seem like a whole new invention and a whole new invention needs A LOT of sampling, right? Works in my world…These particular biscotti really hit my happy button because they contain dried figs and hazelnuts, two of my favorite. I also added in a little fennel seed and drizzled with really good dark chocolate. I thought about adding a little cinnamon but since fennel seed is so yummy and not used as much, I went that route and it was a beautiful discovery, it is a happy dance in your mouth and washing down with cappuccino (maybe some vin santo for a evening treat) just starts your day right (or ends it right!). Seriously, these are an explosion of flavors, you will love it.
So forgive me nonna for veering away from tradition but I promise if you were here to try them, you would approve —Eatentions
Makes: 2 1/2 dozen
teaspoons baking powder
cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
teaspoon grated lemon zest
teaspoon fennel seed
cup hazelnuts, coarsely chopped
cup dried figs, coarsely chopped
ounces good-quality dark chocolate, chopped
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
- Line a heavy large baking sheet with parchment paper. Whisk the flour and baking powder in a medium bowl to blend. Using an electric mixer, beat the sugar, butter, lemon zest, fennel seed and salt in a large bowl to blend. Beat in the eggs 1 at a time. Add the flour mixture and beat just until blended. Stir in the figs and hazelnuts.
- Form the dough into 2 logs. Bake until light golden, about 25-30 minutes. Cool for 30 minutes.
- Place the logs on the cutting board. Using a sharp serrated knife, cut the log on a diagonal into ½ to ¾-inch-thick slices. Arrange the biscotti, cut side down, on the baking sheet. Bake the biscotti until they are pale golden, about 10-15 minutes. Transfer the biscotti to a rack and cool completely.
- Stir the chocolate in a bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water until the chocolate melts. Drizzle the chocolate over the biscotti. Refrigerate until the chocolate is firm, about 35 minutes.
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