Fig Hazelnut Biscotti

I have made biscotti a few times before but I’ve always thought the consistency has come out a bit more brittle than I like. I think biscotti should be a flaky sort of crunchy. Dry, and perfect for dipping, but easy to bite; light and airy. Then I found this recipe in Food&Wine Magazine a couple months ago and as a picky biscotti eater, this is hands down, the answer to my biscotti prayers. I followed it to the letter (ok, full disclosure: I used salted butter and 1/4 tsp additional instead of unsalted butter. But praise the skies it still worked!) These biscotti came out crisp and crunchy, almost like shortbread and the fig and hazelnut combination is an absolute winner.
A warning that this recipe makes so many! I make my biscotti a bit longer, 4-6 inches and i still had nearly 5 dozen.  not that that was a problem at my house, but several did find their way into a biscotti birthday basket with plenty left over. Happy Birthday Granddad. Hope you enjoy!

2 1/2 cups hazelnuts
14 oz dried figs, I used common black figs
1 1/2 cups cold, unsalted butter, cubed
1 3/4 cups sugar
3 large eggs
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp salt

1 bag premium white chocolate chips for dipping

First roast the hazelnuts. Preheat the oven to 325 and spread the hazelnuts out on a baking sheet. Roast until the skins blister, recommended 12-14 minutes but it took mine a bit longer, about 16-18. When cool enough to handle rub off as much of the skins as you can using your hands or a kitchen towel and chop coarsely.

Steep the figs, fully submerged in a bowl of water, in the microwave for a minute or two until the figs become plump. Drain well and slice into 1/8 inch slices.

In the bowl of an electric mixer beat the butter and sugar until smooth. Add the eggs one at a time, blending well after each addition.
In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the butter and beat on low speed until just combined. Fold in the figs and hazelnuts.
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Divide the dough into six parts and roll each into 10″x1 1/2″ logs. Arrange the logs on the baking sheets and shape a logs into biscotti lumps. Bake at 325 for 30 minutes until golden brown and firm.

Let the logs cool for 15 minutes and slice the logs on the diagonal about 3/4 inch thick. Arrange cut side up on the baking sheets and bake for an additional 18-20 minutes until lightly browned.

Dipping White Chocolate
The white chocolate dipped biscotti is really a thing of beauty. It’s a combination that will trump any dessert in my father’s mind and is therefore a daughter’s life goal for which to constantly strive…obviously. Despite the just-short-of-perfection taste and texture of these biscotti I had to go just one step further. They aren’t super sweet to start with so the touch of white chocolate was an excellent addition. For just a bit less sweet try drizzling the chocolate while the biscotti sit on a sheet of parchment.

Using a double boiler (or one pot inside another pot as I do) bring enough water to a boil so that when the smaller pot is set inside it is partially submerged but not sitting on the bottom. Add the chips and reduce heat to low. Watch the chocolate, stirring occasionally.  When the chocolate looks about half melted remove from the heat and stir until smooth (return pot to the water if there are still lumps).
Dip the biscotti to the chocolateness of your liking and lay, undipped side down, on a sheet of parchment to dry for a few hours.

NOTA BENE (or, really good things to know): be careful not to over heat your chocolate as it will burn and get lumpy. if this happens DO NOT add water. trust me, it will make the problem so much worse. In fact, be careful not to get any water into your chocolate at any point. I’ve read that steam from the double boiler — or MacGyvered version thereof — can be enough moisture to cause lumps in the chocolate but it was fine for me.
If your chocolate becomes dry or begins to burn add a bit of vegetable oil (start with a teaspoon) to smooth it out.


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