The realization that I am a morning person came to me in high school, when a friend rather grumpily remarked that I was the only person she knew who could be so cheery first thing in the morning. Let it be noted that I wasn’t cheery to be at school, per se; I wasn’t THAT much of a dork. I was simply happy to be among my friends every day, and by the time I got to school, I’d managed to shake the lead out and get the cobwebs out of my brain. And as any good morning person should, I’d had a good, solid breakfast to fuel me for the day ahead. It is a very rare day that I skip breakfast, I simply can’t seem to function very well without it.
These days, however, I often find that I am not quite ready for a hearty breakfast from the get-go. With small kids around, I am usually up so early, my stomach hasn’t quite woken up yet. I like to sip my coffee for a while and maybe snack on something small, before I work up the energy to make myself an omelet or some other hearty, low-carb breakfast. But it’s the snacking on something small that presents a problem. What to eat that’s tasty, low in carbs and goes well with coffee?
Traditional biscotti isn’t, obviously, low in carbs, but the texture and taste can be relatively easily replicated using low carb ingredients. I’d seen some wonderful-looking almond flour biscotti on Sugar Free Low Carb Recipes, a blog run by Lisa, a fellow low-carber. I had also seen any number of nutella biscotti recipes on non-low carb blogs. These two ideas shook hands and became acquainted in my head, and I got thinking about how I might make a chocolate biscotti with hazelnut flour, to replicate the flavours of nutella. So I ground up some hazelnuts and went to work.
The Results: I will tell you that although these are delicious, and just what I was looking for to go with my morning coffee, they are incredibly crumbly. This was especially true when trying to slice the logs so that they could be baked for the second time. I already have ideas about how this might be overcome. First off, do as I say and not as I do. Use commercially ground hazelnut flour, as it will be much finer than anything you can grind in your own food processor, and thus more cohesive and less fragile. Secondly, forego the additional chopped hazelnuts in the batter. Although they might make the final product a bit prettier, they make it difficult to slice without crumbling and they don’t really add anything to the flavour.
I also found that the chocolate flavour somewhat overpowered the hazelnut flavour. I still think they are very tasty, but next time I would consider adding hazelnut extract in place of the vanilla extract, to get more of a nutella-like experience. But this is a matter of personal preference and you may do as you wish!
Chocolate Hazelnut Biscotti
1/4 cup butter, melted and cooled
1 large egg
1/4 cup granulated erythritol
1/2 tsp vanilla or hazelnut extract
15 drops stevia extract
1 3/4 cups hazelnut flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup low carb chocolate chips (optional, adds carbs)
Preheat the oven to 325F and line a baking sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper.
In a large bowl, whisk together butter, egg, erythritol, vanilla or hazelnut extract and stevia.
In a medium bowl, whisk together hazelnut flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, xanthan gum and salt.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir well to thoroughly combine. Dough will be sticky and thick.
Turn dough out onto prepared baking sheet and shape into a low, flat log. Bake until firm to the touch and lightly browned, about 20 minutes. Remove from oven and reduce oven temperature to 275F.
Let the log cool for 10-15 minutes and then transfer to a cutting board. Using a sharp knife, gently cut into 1/2 inch slices. This is easier with a non-serated knife, and cutting straight up and down, as opposed to a sawing action.
Place slices, cut-side down, back onto silicone- or parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake until exposed side is crisp, 10-15 minutes, and then flip cookies and bake on the other side, 10 more minutes.
Let cool completely on cookie sheet. They will continue to firm up as they cool.
Makes 15 cookies. Each cookie has 6.5g of carbs, but only 3.3g if you subtract erythritol. Adding chocolate chips adds carbs.