I love biscotti. Any baked good that you can justifiably eat before 11am with your morning coffee (black, please) goes straight to the top of my list. In fact, I love biscotti so much that I recently had a dream about them; a very frustrating dream in which the person in front of me in a bakery bagged the last one. It was brutal. Ever since, I’ve been craving that seriously dangerous sweet-but-not-too-sweet flavour that means you can eat five in a row no problem; the satisfying crunch; the subtle flavours of citrus and nuts.
This is a deceptively simple recipe and one that is very easy to customise. The traditional additions are nuts and citrus peel, but you can add chocolate, freeze-dried fruit or any dry product that won’t add liquid to the dough. The only trick to this bake is good timing: left too long in the oven and your biscotti will break teeth (if this happens, a good dunk in a cuppa should help!). Follow the timings listed here precisely, and don’t worry that they will feel soft when you first remove them from the oven – like most biscuits, biscotti harden as they cool.
120g plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
80g caster sugar
Half a lemon, zest finally grated
50g dark chocolate chips
1 large egg
A splash of milk
Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper and preheat the oven to 160°C fan.
Roughly chop the hazelnuts (or blitz in the food processor). Place the flour, baking powder, sugar and lemon zest in a bowl. Break the egg into a cup, add the milk and beat lightly with a fork to combine. Add the liquid to the dry ingredients and stir to bring them together into a wet dough. If your egg is a little on the small side, you may need to add a little more milk to bring it together, but go easy: a too-wet dough will be difficult to handle and spread too much in the oven.
On a lightly floured surface, shape the dough into a rough log around 25cm long (don’t worry about getting it the same width the whole way along) and transfer to the prepared baking tray. Bake for 35 minutes. Remove from the oven and, using a serrated knife and a clean tea towel to protect your hand, cut the log into slices around 1.5cm thick. Turn them to lie side-up and return to the oven for ten minutes, then turn and repeat to bake the other side. Remove from the oven and leave to cool.