Did you know that classic Italian biscotti (bee/SKOHT/tee) traveled the seas with Columbus? While Cranberry Hazelnut Biscotti aren’t exactly the same as those biscotti, they are twice baked to remove excess moisture. It’s the twice baking that gives them the name biscotti. It’s also the twice baking that makes these cookies dry and crisp enough to withstand holiday travel by land, by sea, by air and/or by hand.
Light and satisfyingly crunchy from cornmeal and almond flour, these golden-hued Cranberry Hazelnut Biscotti are also gluten and dairy-free. The butter replaced with coconut oil. The sugar replaced with a light local honey. These are great cookies for holiday giving. Great cookies for holiday sending. And great cookies for eating throughout the year.
Tips for peeling hazelnuts
Hazelnuts have a thin brown and slightly bitter skin. For the best flavor, peel most of the nuts. If you’ve toasted and wrapped hazelnuts before, you know that rubbing the nuts together removes only some of the dark brown skin.
Here’s how to remove even more of that skin:
- After toasting, immediately wrap the hazelnuts in a clean kitchen towel.
- Have the nuts sit in the towel for at least 20 minutes to cool.
- Use your hands to rub the hazelnuts together while still in the towel, to remove the skin.
- When the nuts are heated, they expand.
- When the nuts have time to cool, they contract.
- It is the contraction that separates the nuts from their skin. This allows the skin to more easily fall away.
Other holiday treats that travel well
♥ Happy Baking to You ♥
Update 6 December 2013
I just realized why the liquid from plumping the cranberries taste so good. It removes much of their flavor. So I have just updated the recipe removing that step.
Cranberry Hazelnut Biscotti — Gluten & Dairy-Free
Inspired and adapted from a recipe by Martha Rose Shulman in the New York Times.
Gluten & dairy-free and lightly sweetened with honey.
Satisfyingly crisp, crunchy and flavorful. Perfect for holiday giving.
I use a food processor, though a mixer also works well for making these biscotti. I find fruit-sweetened cranberries tarter and tastier than their sugar-sweetened cousins.
Makes 4 ½ – 5 dozen Printer-Friendly Recipe
¾ cup whole hazelnuts
2 ounces coconut oil
2/3 cup dried cranberries (fruit-sweetened)
1¼ cups almond flour
1 cup finely ground organic cornmeal
½ cup plus 1 tablespoon organic cornstarch
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
1/3 cup light, local honey
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon pure almond extract
¼ cup brown rice flour for forming the biscotti
- Heat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Measure out the coconut oil and place it in the refrigerator.
- Spread the hazelnuts on a parchment lined baking pan. Bake for 10 minutes. Turn off the oven. Wrap the hazelnuts in a kitchen towel. Let the nuts completely cool, about 20 minutes. Use your hands to rub the hazelnuts together while still in the towel, to remove their skins. Discard the skins.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the almond flour, cornmeal, cornstarch, baking powder and salt.
- Use the food processor’s pulse button to very coarsely chop some of the skinned hazelnuts, leaving most of them whole. Transfer them to a plate.
- Whip together the cold coconut oil and honey in a food processor till combined. Add one egg. Once incorporated, stop the processor. Add the other egg, vanilla and almond extracts. When just incorporated, stop the processor.
- Add the dry ingredients. Use the pulse button to combine. Transfer the biscotti dough to a bowl. Use a rubber spatula to fold in the hazelnuts and cranberries. Chill the biscotti dough for at least 15 minutes for easier handling.
- Heat the oven to 300 degrees. Line two pans with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper.
- Sprinkle the rice flour on your counter. Divide the chilled dough in half. Place one half on the counter and return the other half to the fridge.
- Dip your fingers in the rice flour. Form the moist dough into a log approximately 15 inches long by 2 inches wide and 1 inch high. Use a long metal spatula to transfer the log to one of the baking pans. Reshape and smooth the log as necessary. Repeat with the remaining dough. Be sure the logs are at least three inches apart from one another as they’ll spread a bit during baking.
- Bake for 25 minutes. Rotate the pan 180 degrees and bake for another 15 minutes. The biscotti will be golden brown, dry and firm to the touch. Remove the pan to a wire rack to cool.
- After 30 minutes, use a long metal spatula to remove the biscotti to a cutting board. With a sharp serrated knife carefully cut half-inch wide slices on a slight diagonal. Transfer the slices to the prepared baking pans.
- Bake for 8 minutes. Turn the biscotti over and bake for another 7-8 minutes until golden. Note: If both baking pans will fit on the oven’s middle rack, bake both pans at the same time. Otherwise, bake the pans separately.
- Biscotti store well in the freezer. They’ll also keep for at least 2 weeks in an airtight container.