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landscape view of baked coffee biscotti recipe

Hazelnut and Coffee Biscotti Recipe for Holiday Gifting

My crunchy coffee biscotti recipe combines deep espresso flavor with toasty hazelnuts to make light, crisp cookies that are the perfect little sweet snack. 

Biscotti can be varied with lots of different flavor combinations, and they’re an excellent gift because they travel and keep very well. This coffee biscotti recipe has become a staple of my holiday cookie boxes for those reasons, and also because it offers a nice counterpoint to the richness of most of the other treats I include. Sometimes I add chocolate chips to the dough, or half dip the finished cookies in melted chocolate for a chocolate espresso biscotti. More often, I leave them be so the nuts and coffee flavors can shine on their own. 

With simple ingredients and an easy process, I’ll have you mastering this fantastic hazelnut and coffee biscotti recipe in no time. Let’s get baking.

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What are biscotti?

Biscotti are small, double baked cookies which originate in Italy. They’re one of those quintessential Italian recipes that are popular all over the world, but what most of us think of as biscotti are actually closer to the Tuscan treat known as cantucci. But while biscotti and cantucci are both double-baked to make them dry and crunchy, they differ in subtle ways. 

Cantucci traditionally incorporate almonds and use less sugar than biscotti, and are enjoyed with Vin Santo, a sweet dessert wine. The wine is for dipping, to soften the cookies enough to eat more easily. Cantucci are made with no (or very little) butter or oil, in order to be very long lasting. 

Biscotti, a broader term which translates literally to ‘biscuits’, can encompass various flavors and ingredients. Most traditional biscotti recipes contain a higher proportion of butter or oil than cantucci. The double baking still makes them a dry cookie perfect for dipping, but they’re more tender and crumbly than cantucci.

Ingredients for your hazelnut and coffee biscotti recipe

This is an easy recipe and needs mostly pantry staples. If you’re like me, the only thing you’ll have to shop for are the hazelnuts. 

A great coffee biscotti recipe relies, somewhat predictably, on bold coffee flavors! You can use a good espresso powder or instant coffee powder, which is what I do most of the time. Your other option is very finely ground coffee from fresh beans. After trying both ways I prefer the espresso powder route for depth of flavor. Ground coffee gives a lovely color, a slightly sandy texture, and is more mellow in flavor. Those aren’t bad things, but I want a full-on coffee kick from a coffee biscotti recipe, and freshly ground doesn’t do that. 

ingredients for making hazelnut coffee biscotti recipe

Once you’ve got your coffee sorted, turn your attention to hazelnuts. I can’t stress enough the importance of buying nuts from somewhere with high turnover so they’re fresh; stale hazelnuts in particular taste bitter, without the beautiful sweetness and aroma of fresh ones. I found skinned hazelnuts at my local bulk foods store, but if you can only buy skin-on hazelnuts, toast them in a moderate (dry) oven for about 10 minutes, then pop them all into a folded over tea towel and rub the skins off before using them in the biscotti recipe. 

The rest of the ingredients for this perfect biscotti recipe are straightforward; for the dry ingredients you’ll need flour, superfine sugar, baking powder and salt. Wet ingredients are eggs, vanilla extract and a little melted butter.

Mixing and shaping hazelnut and coffee biscotti dough

The full hazelnut and coffee biscotti recipe with quantities, oven temperature and detailed method is at the end of the post, in a printable recipe card format. Read on if you’d like a more visual step by step guide before you bake. 

You can make biscotti dough easily by hand, so I don’t bother getting out my electric mixer for this recipe. 

kneading coffee biscotti mixture

Once you’ve preheated your oven and lined a baking sheet with parchment paper, grab a large bowl.

Dry ingredients

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt with a whisk, then make a well in the center. 

whisking dry ingredients in a white bowl

Wet ingredients

In a small bowl, tip the coffee powder into your melted butter and stir so the granules can dissolve.

coffee powder added into a melted butter

Crack the eggs into the large mixing bowl with the flour mixture, then add the vanilla, butter and coffee. Use a fork to whisk the eggs and coffee so the eggs break up, then switch to a wooden spoon or sturdy spatula and mix until a stiff dough forms. At this point it’ll look crumbly and like there’s too much flour, but it’ll come together. 

mixing liquid and dry ingredients for making coffee biscotti recipe

Add nuts

Add the hazelnuts to the bowl and keep mixing. I switch to using my hands once the nuts are in because it’s faster to mix the dough. Use your hands to gently knead it until it’s smooth and pliable.

scraping coffee biscotti mixture with hazelnuts

Divide and Shape

Turn onto a lightly floured surface and divide dough into 4 equal portions with a bench scraper. Shape each piece into a log about an inch thick, and place them onto your prepared baking sheet. Make sure to leave space between each log so they can expand in the oven. If any nuts fall out, just push them gently back into the dough. 

four parts of coffee biscotti doughs ready for kneading

kneading coffee biscotti doughs

Baking your hazelnut and coffee biscotti recipe

First bake

Pop the sheet pan into the preheated oven, and bake until the logs are puffed, light golden brown and firm to the touch. 

four logs of coffee biscotti ready for baking
baked coffee biscotti logs

Slice and bake again

Let the logs cool on the baking sheet until you can handle them. Using a sharp knife, put the logs onto a cutting board and cut into 3/8 inch (1cm) thick slices. I find a serrated knife is the best for making clean cuts; I first make a little cut with a sawing motion, then press sharply down on the biscotti. 

Rearrange the sliced biscotti on your parchment-lined baking sheet (you may need a second sheet to fit them all), and now it’s time for the second baking. Put the biscotti back into the oven until they’re dry and lightly golden. Don’t overbake them, they should be crisp but not dark brown and hard! 

Once the second bake is done, transfer and allow the biscotti to cool completely on a wire rack. For an extra touch of decadence, drizzle or dip them in melted dark chocolate.

Storing your homemade biscotti

To maintain freshness, store the biscotti in an airtight container, where they’ll keep well for a couple of weeks. If your crunchy biscuits become a little soft, which they can do in humid climates, pop them into the oven for 5 minutes to refresh and dry them out again. 

For longer storage, I seal biscotti cookies in a vacuum bag (do NOT vacuum seal them, just heat-seal the edge of the bag to make it airtight!). I put the sealed bag into the freezer, where they’ll keep for months. Thaw on the counter before opening the bag.

That’s it, you’ve mastered the art of the perfect crisp, crunchy hazelnut and coffee biscotti recipe! If you’re anything like me, you’ll be making these at least a few times a year, so you’ve always got something to serve with a cup of coffee or tea. 

Happy baking, see you here again soon. 

landscape view of baked coffee biscotti recipe
Print Recipe
5

Hazelnut and Coffee Biscotti Recipe

Crunchy hazelnut and coffee biscotti is deeply flavored but light and crisp at the same time. These cookies keep well for a few weeks, and they're a welcome gift during the holidays.
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time35 minutes
Total Time55 minutes
Course: Afternoon Tea, Food Gift, Morning Tea
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: biscotti, biscotti recipe, coffee biscotti, hazelnut biscotti
Servings: 80
Calories: 40kcal

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Preheat your oven to 350°F/180°C (for my regular readers, that’s no steam today!). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  • Place flour, sugar, baking powder and salt into a bowl and whisk to combine. Make a well in the center.
    2½ cup all-purpose flour, 1 cup superfine sugar, 1 tsp baking powder, ½ tsp fine salt
  • Tip the coffee powder into the melted butter and give it a stir so the coffee can start to dissolve.
    1 Tbsp instant coffee powder, ⅓ cup unsalted butter
  • Break the eggs into the well and add vanilla and the coffee/butter mixture. Using a fork, whisk the wet ingredients together, slowly incorporating the dry ingredients as you go.
    2 eggs, 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Once the mixture begins to come together, swap the fork for a sturdy spatula or wooden spoon. Tip in the hazelnuts and continue mixing to incorporate all the ingredients together. I usually switch to using my hands once it gets too hard to mix, which has the added benefit of not breaking up the nuts too much.
    1 cup hazelnuts
  • Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and divide evenly into four portions.
  • Roll each portion into a skinny log, about an inch (2.5cm) in diameter. If any of the hazelnuts pop out just poke them back in and smooth the dough over the top so they don’t burn in the oven later.
  • Place logs onto the lined baking sheet and bake until they’re just firm, slightly puffy and light golden, about 20 minutes.
  • Remove from the oven and let them cool until you can handle, about 10-15 minutes. Reduce your oven temperature to 300°F/150°C.
  • While the biscotti logs are still warm, cut them into even slices about 3/8 inch (1cm) thick. To get the cleanest cuts, use a sharp serrated knife and make a little sawing-motion cut into the top of the log, then press sharply down on the knife to finish the cut. You should get about 20 slices from each log.
  • Arrange the sliced cookies back on the baking sheet (you may need to add another sheet to have room, or do this in batches) and return to the oven until they feel dry and only very slightly soft when pressed with a fingertip, about 10-15 minutes. They’ll crisp up as they cool.
  • Cool the biscotti on a wire rack and store in an airtight container, or package in little clear bags for gifting.

Notes

  1. Coffee powder. You can use a good espresso powder or instant coffee powder in this recipe. Your other option is very finely ground coffee from fresh beans. After trying every different way I prefer the espresso powder route for depth of flavor.
  2. Hazelnuts. I want to stress the importance of buying nuts from somewhere with high turnover; stale hazelnuts in particular taste bitter, without the beautiful sweetness and aroma of fresh ones. I get skinned hazelnuts at my local bulk foods store, but if you can only buy skin-on hazelnuts, toast them in a moderate (dry) oven for about 10 minutes, then pop them into a folded over tea towel and rub the skins off before using them in the recipe. 
  3. To maintain freshness, store your biscotti in an airtight container, where they’ll keep well for a couple of weeks. If they become a little soft, which they can do in humid climates, pop them into the oven for 5 minutes to refresh and dry them out again.  For longer storage, I seal biscotti cookies in a vacuum bag (do NOT vacuum seal them, just heat-seal the edge of the bag to make it airtight!). I put the sealed bag into the freezer, where they keep for months. Thaw on the counter before opening the bag.

Nutrition

Calories: 40kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 0.03g | Cholesterol: 6mg | Sodium: 16mg | Potassium: 21mg | Fiber: 0.2g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 30IU | Vitamin C: 0.1mg | Calcium: 5mg | Iron: 0.3mg

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