World Nutella Day was last Friday, and as is so often the case, I couldn’t get my act together in time to bake and post something to celebrate. I even had a recipe in mind, a recipe that I was really looking forward to trying out. At first I thought I would just save the recipe and make it next year but then I decided that was silly – there are plenty of other Nutella recipes I can try next year and, besides, I’d probably forget about this one if I didn’t make it soon. So, instead, I decided to share it with you all today – just in time for you to bake these wonderful biscotti for the ones you love this weekend to celebrate Valentine’s Day! And if you’re not into celebrating Valentine’s Day, just make these as a sweet treat to yourself, especially if you’re a Nutella lover!
I don’t make biscotti often because many times the texture is too hard and crunchy for me. Those biscotti are made for dunking into a cup of coffee or tea and since I don’t drink either, they just don’t hold much appeal to me. These biscotti are an entirely different story, though. They’re a bit softer, though still with the crunch you expect from biscotti – perfect for eating all by themselves. I loved these with the combination of Nutella and the bittersweet chocolate chunks but you could modify the recipe to suit your tastes. I omitted one cup of hazelnuts, which were in the original recipe (an obvious choice with the Nutella), but you could also use almonds or walnuts. Likewise, you could use a different kind of chocolate, or none at all. Like most biscotti, these will stay fresh for at least a week in an airtight container, but I highly doubt they’ll last that long!
Nutella Biscotti with Chocolate Chunks
adapted from The Art & Soul of Baking by Sur La Table and Cindy Mushet
1 stick (4 oz) unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup (4 3/4 oz) sugar
1/2 cup (6 oz) Nutella, at room temperature
3 large eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 3/4 cups (13 3/4 oz) all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
5 oz semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, cut into 1/4-inch chunks, or 1 cup mini chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until smooth and slightly lightened in color, 2-3 minutes. Add the Nutella to the bowl and beat to blend. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well (15 to 20 seconds) and scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition.
In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder and salt. Add the flour mixture to the bowl of the mixer all at once and beat on low speed just until combined. Use a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl again.
Add the chocolate and mix on low speed until just blended. Remove the bowl from the mixer and stir gently a few times with the spatula to evenly distribute the chocolate and ensure there are no patches of unincorporated flour or butter at the bottom of the bowl.
Divide the dough in half and on a lightly floured surface, shape each half of dough into a 13-inch log. Place the logs on the prepared baking sheet spacing them about 4 inches apart. Press down on the logs to flatten them slightly until they are about 2 inches across. Place a second baking sheet under the first to prevent the bottoms of the logs from browning too quickly. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the logs are firm to the touch. Transfer the baking sheet to a cooling rack and let the logs cool completely. (Definitely let the logs cool before cutting them – otherwise the warm chocolate chunks will smear and make for a less attractive appearance.)
Turn the oven down to 275 F and position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven. Transfer the cooled logs to a cutting board and use a serrated knife to slice the logs on the diagonal into 3/8-inch thick cookies. Line a second baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the cookies, cut side down, on the prepared baking sheets. Bake for 30-40 minutes, rotating the pans from front to back and top to bottom halfway through, until the cookies are dry. Transfer to a rack to cool completely.
Yields about 45 biscotti