Chocolate Hazelnut Biscotti (Low Carb and Gluten Free)


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.

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  1. Michael aka TheFlavorJunkie says

    I love biscotti and these look delicious! Care to fast ship some to Canada for me? I need a pick-me-up tomorrow with my coffee.

  2. Sommer J says

    How deliciously creative, Carolyn. Love the use of ground hazelnuts and chocolate to mimic nutella. I love nutella, but avoid it like the plague. Way too addictive for my ridiculous sweet tooth. What a great idea to copy it's flavor. Great job!

  3. Hester aka The Chefdoc says

    These look absolutely amazing! I've not made biscotti yet with chocolate or hazelnuts. This hazelnut flour is rather intriguing to me! I'll have to search some out because chocolate and hazelnut is a great combination!

  4. She's Cookin' says

    They sure look pretty and very chocolaty! Great advice – do as I say, not as I do :) I would probably prefer a stronger hazelnut flavor too – I like how you share the not-so-good aspects and what you would do differently. Have a great weekend, Carolyn!

  5. Foodiva says

    There are so many chocolate recipes around so early in the year that I'm very encouraged to create something chocolatey. And I know you're so innovative with your low carb recipes that I'm not the least hesitant (or guilty) to try them out your way! I love Nutella but unfortunately, Nutella loves my hips, so this healthy way of achieving the same flavor is being bookmarked!

  6. Barbara @ Modern Comfort Food says

    I am so much like you in my early bird ways and seem to get up earlier and earlier the older I get. I usually can be found happily sipping my coffee, emailing, and catching up on news from 5-8 a.m. And then get a faint twinge of hunger, which I usually ignore. I SO want and need to make a batch of these this gorgeous, yummy looking biscotti, which are just the perfect remedy!

  7. Sugar Free Low Carb says

    It must have been the added nuts that made it crumbly. The ones I made with almond flour were crunchy and held together like a cookie. I certainly wish I had your talent for baking and picture taking. The biscotti looks amazingly delicious.

  8. Green Girl @ A little bit of everything says

    another tempting recipe but I have some questions, as usual : what's the difference between hazelnut flour and almond flour (except the fact that one is from hazelnuts and one from almonds)? Can I substitute one with the other? I still have almond flour left from the cranberry bliss bars and since that was the only time I used it I have no clue how I can use the rest.
    would be much appreciated if you'd clear that up for me.

    Have a wonderful evening

  9. Carolyn says

    Hey Roxana…If you wanted to make the biscotti with almond flour, that would work just fine. Substitute it cup for cup. They can be used pretty much interchangeably, I do it all the time!

  10. Dinners and Dreams says

    I love baking gluten-free so these biscotti sound just perfect. I would love a couple with a good cup of coffee. The picture is beautiful too.


  11. Ang says

    I adore biscotti! These look so rich in flavor and so easy. You always put out such tasty dishes and treats. I really appreciate your focus:)

  12. Lindsey says

    Too funny… it was in high school that I discovered I was NOT a morning person when a friend pointed out how grumpy I was in first period. Ha! I soon discovered coffee after that and found that I became more pleasant. :)

    I love hazelnut flavored coffee as a special treat every once in a while, but I think I would much rather dip one of these in my regular coffee instead. Yum!

  13. rosanna says

    Wow, so yummy and low carb!!!!! Fantastic!!!! I'm also a morning person. I like going late to bed, I don't wake up early when I'm free, but I'm happy and in a good humor as soon as I get up. I also love breakfast, it's my favourite meal on the day, so when I wake up the thought of my breakfast makes me jump out of bed!!!!!

  14. Amy Bakes Everything says

    OMG what a gorgeous biscotti! I'm with you on the hazelnut flour thing; I want to try to make macarons, but refuse to make them with my own ground almonds…there's no way I could get them fine enough!

  15. Boulder Locavore says

    Thanks for the insight in baking these Carolyn. That's what I love about you is you tell it like it is vs. letting us hash it out. I just made a chocolate hazelnut ice cream and found something similar with the taste. Maybe something to do with the combination of hazelnut and chocolate? I full agree by the way about the progressive breakfast. I cannot eat much when I first get up.

    Pop by this week is you have a sec. Doing Michael Pollan book giveaway now (through Mon. midnight), will have some fun GF recipes Monday and Tuesday and another yummy giveaway starting Wednesday (no hoops, just leave a comment to participate)!

  16. Belinda @zomppa says

    This would make even the grumpiest in the morning smile. Wonderful…want this with tea. I'm totally with you, I'm a morning person too and I have to eat…a couple breakfasts, but when I first wake up, I need just a little bit to wake up the stomach. The second breakfast is the heartier one.

  17. Pretend Chef says

    I'm an "all-day" person. Haha! I'm generally in a good mood until I get incredibly hungry. Having these to go with my coffee would make my mornings that much better.

  18. whatsfordinneracrossstatelines says

    I figured you were a morning person. I'd eat these for breakfast even if they were crumbly. I just bought some almond flour to play with, I will have to look for the hazelnut now. Have a great rest of the weekend.

  19. Pegasuslegend says

    Biscotti is my favorite cookies dunked in black coffee love the chocolate ones and hazelnuts wow thats another bonus!

  20. Lisa @ Thrive Style says

    Wow-these look fab! Thanks for the idea and recipe. I can't wait to try them. I know a friend of mine will love them too and she's coming to visit soon–so I envision us sitting on the couch in the morning with our coffee and biscotti (we're both morning people!).

    Have a great day :)

  21. Magic of Spice says

    OK, I will do as you say :) These have such rich color and they look delicious…I have not made biscotti in such a long time but I do enjoy them :)

  22. Tiffany says

    Carolyn, I love your use of hazelnut flour! Anything that invokes the spirit of Nutella is alright in my book! 😀 As always, thanks for sharing!

  23. baking.serendipity says

    I'm really not a morning person, but I bet this could easily coerce me out of bed in the morning! It looks delicious :)

  24. Sandra says

    You are on roll these few weeks…you should really play lottery! I am really! Congrats on one more top 9..your food is always mouthwatering!

  25. Liren says

    Hi Carolyn! I'm a big believer in breakfast, too, but I definitely know how it can be a struggle to nourish myself in the morning what with the little ones. My coffee often goes cold in the mornings. But for my afternoon cup, this biscotti would be perfect! Love chocolate and hazelnut!

  26. Emma says

    Love the flavours in these, they look so rich and crunchy!

    I can't skip breakfast, I always have something healthy, it's just a habit I guess but if I go without on the odd occasion, I feel very flat.

  27. Sprinkles of Parsley says

    Oh wow, these look wonderful! I especially love chocolate flavored biscotti. I have yet to try making them myself, but now I'll definitely have to try them after seeing these. Congrats on making top9!

  28. Ruby says

    Wonderful, and low-carb too! My usual biscotti recipe uses ground almonds but over Xmas I ran out and oculdn't find any in the stores so I made a more traditional biscotti and didn't like it half as much. I think hazelnut would definitely be a winner for me!

  29. Joanne says

    I needed these before my race a few days ago when I was expected to get up and eat at 3 AM before running 13 miles! My stomach was just not ready for real food yet. But these would have been PERFECT!

  30. Emily Z says

    Your description of being a morning person is cute. I've never been a huge morning person. At my former job, the cubicles were low so we could all see each other and talk over the wall. The man next to me rather cheerily said "Good morning" to me every morning when I came in. I really wished he would stop doing that until at least an hour later when I was ready to speak. 😉 Great looking biscotti!

  31. BakingWithoutaBox says

    I read this twice yesterday and again today only to realize, I didn't comment. I am not a morning person but I get more done in the mornings. With that biscotti, anyone would be a morning person. So nice and crumbly. Thanks for the tips on how to make it more or less crumbly. Very helpful! (Hope your little one is feeling better soon.)

  32. Alicia@ eco friendly homemaking says

    Oh WOW I am so glad to have found your blog!!!! My husband is on a low carb (I don't want to say diet) way of eating.I am always looking for new recipes so that he doesn't get bored with the same ole things.I am really excited to give these a try. Thanks.

  33. Medifast Coupon says

    This is the answer for something alongside morning coffee! Biscotti that is low carb and gluten free, what a great idea. These look delicious.

  34. Kim - Liv Life says

    Carolyn, congrats on the Top 9!! Are these the same biscotti who were not coorperating?? They look just right to me. Nicely done!

  35. The Mom Chef says

    Once again, a beautiful and fantastic looking creation. I love biscotti and hazelnut. This sounds perfect. Thanks for the extra tips!

  36. elaine says

    have you tried carbalose flour (1/4 part of it to 3/4 parts) it seems to help with the crumbly part so I've read (I read alot of other sites and blogs)…just got mine today but haven't tried anything with it.

  37. says

    Carolyn, I just tried these as part of a biscotti-baking rampage yesterday. They are divine and held together beautifully; this morning they taste even better than they did fresh out of the oven. I used hazelnut meal and no whole nuts as you suggested, and they are perfect.

  38. Suzi says

    Wondered if you could include the calorie count for the biscotti’s and strawberry rhubarb dessert…. Also wondered if you know the calorie count of 1 cup of almond flour vs 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour? Thanks so much

    • Carolyn says

      I am sorry, I don’t have time to go back and do all the counts on my older recipes. However, there is plenty of online software you can use to calculate all of the nutritional counts. Thanks!

  39. linda says

    Hi Carolyn, when searching for an alternative to my favourite Lime Macadamia nut biscotti, I found this recipe. As I grind all my nuts to a meal texture for both – and they are crumbly and delicate to get to the second stage where you cut them into slices, I wanted to offer my solution. With both recipes I’ve begun to form 12 little ‘logs’ like my mother’s pecan crescents with the dough. I’ve found baking them at 20 minutes at 300F and letting them dry out in the oven precludes all the remaining fussing. Just move all the logs close together when they’ve cooled and dried and drizzle with your favourite topping. Cuts out a whole lot of work and they are just as tasty (if not so aesthetically correct).
    Cheers from another fan in Canada!


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