Straight from the Slopes: Hazelnut Chocolate Orange Biscotti and Almond Biscotti

Last December, the Los Angeles Times ran a Culinary SOS column featuring two biscotti recipes from Deer Valley Resort: hazelnut chocolate orange biscotti and almond biscotti. Both of the recipes use a method I have never seen before with biscotti -- you make the dough, shape it into a log, and freeze the dough overnight before baking it. I saw these recipes right after our holiday party and realized it was the perfect time to try the hazelnut chocolate orange biscotti recipe. Not only did I have lots of freezer space again, but I always have candied orange peel on hand for holiday baking, so I had all of the ingredients I needed as well.

To make the chocolate biscotti dough, you cream room temperature butter with sugar and brown sugar; add two eggs (you are supposed to use extra large eggs but I always buy large, so I threw in two whole eggs and an extra yolk); add instant espresso powder, natural cocoa, and Dutch cocoa; incorporate flour that has been sifted with baking powder and salt; and mix in chopped bittersweet chocolate, candied orange peel, and toasted hazelnuts. You're supposed to shape the dough into a single log but I looked at the amount of dough and decided to shape it into two smaller logs instead. I put them both on a single parchment-lined baking sheet and froze them for a day before baking.

The following day, I was supposed to brush the logs with egg white and sprinkle on sugar before baking, but I forgot and just put then logs in the oven. After baking them once and letting the logs cool completely, I sliced them and baked them a second time to dry them out. I got 38 nice-sized biscotti from the recipe.
I loved these biscotti. I was a little concerned about the long baking times, because the dark color of the dough would make it difficult to tell if the cookies were overbaked. But they were perfectly done, light, and crunchy. Sometimes I have dried out biscotti too much, making them a bit too hard -- but these were just delightful and wonderful to eat without the need to dunk them in coffee. They were very chocolate-y, and the chocolate-hazelnut-orange flavor combination was a standout. I would absolutely make these again.

A few months later, I decided to try the almond biscotti recipe from Deer Valley as well. It's the same basic method -- make the dough (butter, sugar, orange zest, lemon zest, eggs, vanilla, almond extract, flour, salt, ground almonds, and whole almonds); shape it into a log; freeze it overnight; bake; cool; slice; and bake again. As I did with the chocolate biscotti, I formed the dough into two smaller logs instead of a single huge log, and I got 40 biscotti. The dough became quite dark during the first bake and while the cookies were in the oven during the second bake, they started to burn. I had to take them out of the oven early and as you can see in the photo below, the tips of the cookies were burned.
I did not care for the almond version of these cookies. It wasn't just the fact that they were slightly burned. The texture was sandy, instead of crunchy, and I also thought they were not almond-y enough (which was surprising, since they have ground almonds, whole almonds, and almond extract). I think there was a little too much citrus zest, which overpowered the almond a little, but I also think the biscotti needed more almond extract. The almond biscotti were particularly disappointing given how wonderful the chocolate-hazelnut ones were -- but I'm happy to at least add the chocolate version to my file of great biscotti recipes.

Recipes: "Hazelnut Chocolate Orange Biscotti" and "Almond Biscotti" from Deer Valley Resort, recipes published in the Los Angeles Times.

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Kevin Smith said…
Thanks for the kind words - it's great to know that others out there appreciate traditional Biscotti as much as I do! If you're ever in need of a delicious treat, be sure to check out Giorgio cookies. They have a superb selection of Italian Biscotti perfect for dipping in coffee. Best of all, you can order Italian Biscotti online and deliver them right to your door. So why not give it a try? I'm sure you'll be hooked after just one bite!