I made these as a birthday present for my dad, who loves coffee and on the weekends he makes himself multiple cappuccinos on his coffee-machine. He is also quite partial to a biscuit with his coffee, so I thought these would suit his purposes, with their hint of coffee.
Biscotto means ‘cooked twice’ in Italian, which is what they are. They’re very crisp and hard, so don’t slice them too thick before you return them to the oven or there may be severe dental damage incurred.
200g whole hazelnuts
375g flour, plus flour for work surface
4 tbspns cocoa powder
2 tbspn instant coffee powder
Pinch of salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
¾ teaspoon baking powder
4 large eggs
Preheat oven to 180C. Toast the hazelnuts for about 10 minutes, the skins begin to crack, then remove them from oven and wrap them in clean tea-towel (cotton, not towel fabric). Rub the hot nuts in the towel to remove most of the skin. It doesn’t matter if it doesn’t all come off. Sometimes they need some encouragement by rubbing them with your fingers.
Sift the flour, cocoa, coffee powder, salt, baking soda and baking powder together and set aside.
Beat the eggs lightly, just until blended. Remove two tablespoons of egg mixture to small dish for gazing purposes later.
Beat sugar into remaining eggs until blended. Stir in flour mixture to form soft dough.
Divide the dough in half and place one portion on a well-floured work surface. Pat it into a six-inch square. Scatter half the hazelnuts on the dough and press them into the surface.
Roll the dough into a cylinder about 5cm in diameter and about 40 cm long. Repeat with the remaining dough and nuts. Place the rolls on a lined tray and brush the tops with the reserved egg.
Bake about 20 minutes, until firm. If they’re not firm enough, they will crumble when you cut them.
Transfer to a cutting board and cut on an angle into slices about 1 cm thick.
Return the slices to the tray, laying them on their cut sides, and return them to the oven. Bake another 20 minutes, until they are crisp and dry.