To me, Christmas time is synonymous with baking time.
There is something about the joyous holiday season that beckons you – no, demands you! – to enter the kitchen; pull out all the sugar, butter and flour you can find; and bake until you’ve successfully been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.
And if you can come up with a way to include Nutella in the mix, then all the better.
Because Nutella makes everything better.
This I know for certain.
I mean, how can you not want to include this chocolate hazelnut spread in everything you make? Sometimes when I am at work and supposed to be helping citizens with their real life problems, I am actually imagining new ways of incorporating Nutella in my everyday life that doesn’t involve my unoriginal yet favorite way, which is dipping my stubby fingers directly into the jar.
Today, I came up with another: biscotti.
adapted from Gingerbread Biscotti at Running to Slow Things Down
2 cups flour
1 t cinnamon
1 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1/4 t salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 t vanilla extract
1/3 cup Nutella (or other hazelnut chocolate spread)
1/2 cup dark chocolate-roasted almonds (regular works too)
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
In a medium bowl, sift your dry ingredients together. Set aside.
In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, brown sugar and vanilla. Add to the dry ingredients, along with the Nutella. If you “accidentally” add more than 1/3 cup, I wouldn’t judge you.
With a spatula, gently mix until the dough comes together.
Have no fear.
It may look crumbly, but two things are going to fix that: your hands.
Add in the almonds, and dig your appendages in.
Knead the dough several times on a lightly floured surface until it comes together.
Divide the dough into two equal pieces, and form two rectangles approximately 10″ x 4″. The dough should be roughly 3/4″ to 1″ in thickness. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until lightly browned and firm in the middle.
Take your biscotti out of the oven, and let it cool for 5 to 10 minutes.
Slice your two loaves into 3/4″ wide pieces, and place them back on your pan.
Bake an additional 5 to 7 minutes per side until the biscotti is hard to the touch.
Let the biscotti cool, which is by far going to be the hardest part of this whole process.
Or, you can just eat one anyways and burn the roof of your mouth, which is what I usually do.
Despite what it may look like, you will actually find these biscotti are not overly sweet or chocolatey. Instead, the cinnamon gives the biscotti a rich depth of flavor (a certain je ne se quois, if you will) and the texture is spot-on crunchy.
If you find yourself in diabetic shock because you’ve eaten too many of these, I recommend curling up in a blanket next to your tree and watching “It’s A Wonderful Life.”
Not that I’m speaking from personal experience or anything…