Hazelnut Butter Biscotti

Alright. I admit it. Historically I have snubbed biscotti.

Why make a weird-shape cookie that’s kind of dry, a bit brittle, and rather bland?

Valid question for a lover of ooey-gooey under-baked chocolate chip cookie goodness.

But then I made these.

And boy are they playing on a field all their own.

Hitting home runs at every at bat.

The purpose of biscotti is to be enjoyed with coffee or tea. That’s the reason for the dry crumb texture.

You want them to be a vehicle for both cookie and coffee flavors.

Phew. That’s pretty fabulous.

And even more fabulous?

Adding a layer of hazelnut heaven to the party. And then a chocolate drizzle.

Coffee. Hazelnut. Chocolate.

Talk about #squadgoals am I right?

Another biscotti misconception I had?

They’re challenging to make.

Nope. Not so.

Just a couple simple, real ingredients.

Especially this recipe.

Traditional recipes call for butter and flour, but I upgraded to creamy hazelnut butter and a mix of almond / cassava flours. So these are paleo-friendly! (And honestly more delish that way in my opinion…)

Sweetening these with a combination of maple syrup and coconut sugar allows the cookies to have both the classic structure and a rich, natural sweetness.

Start by creaming them together with the hazelnut butter.

Once well combined, you can beat in the eggs and some vanilla extract.

I have not texted these with flax eggs (for a vegan option), but feel free to experiment!

Do you see those hazelnut pieces?!

Oh yes please and thank you!

I recommend combining the dry ingredients in a separate bowl before you add it to the wet mixture. This will ensure all spices and leavening agents are evenly distributed, and clumps of almond flour.

Also another pro tip: try mixing with a fork.

I use a fork to mix most of my batters actually. Not sure why I started? Maybe all the spoons were dirty? 🙂

Regardless, I have found the dry and wet incorporate much quicker with the ‘ol fork method.

The dough should be thick and stick together in one big blob.

Transfer said blob to a lined baking sheet.

(and use a spoon this time)

Now you’ve got to shape your biscotti log.

The dough is sticky, so slightly damp hands will be your best bet here.

Use both hands to elongate and flatten the dough into a rectangular shape.

It should be about a foot long, four inches wide, and less than an inch thick.

Time for the first bake. Yep. First bake.

Why double oven time? That’s the key to the signature biscotti dry crumb texture.

So throw your log in the oven for 25 minutes.

After the first bake, you will see it has puffed up slightly and is beginning to get nice and golden brown on the edges.

Don’t touch it.

Let it cool for 20 minutes.

Ya hear me?

Be patient.

Okay time’s up. Now let’s cut the biscotti.

Using a serrated knife, slice through the log at an angle.

The slivers should be just over half an inch wide – this will create 14 biscotti.

To prepare for the second bake, lay the biscotti on their sides on the lined baking sheet.

Reduce the oven temperature and bake for 8-10 minutes.

Flip them.

Bake for another 8-10 minutes.

Watch them closely as they develop a gorgeous golden brown crisp.

See? Golden beauties all in a row.

Now, the biscotti are fabulous just like this.

But if you want to be extra (duh), then drizzle on some chocolate.

And even more fancy?

Sprinkle some slivered almonds on the chocolate.

Oh my oh my how pretty.

I placed the biscotti flat on a sheet to stick in the freezer to speed up the chocolate-setting process.

But you can go ahead and dig right in!

As long as you don’t mind a little chocolate on your fingers 🙂

There you have it folks.

Delish, homemade biscotti.

They look like you just picked them up from an Italian cafe.

And was it really that hard? Nope.

I used Georgia Grinders Hazelnut Butter for this recipe (cause I’m lowkey obsessed), but really any nut or seed butter would work!

Peanut butter? Sunflower? Cashew?

Send me a batch if you make those renditions please!

These biscotti are delish on their own, but in true accordance with biscotti best-practices, I highly recommend the only coffee-dunk situation.

Now you can have your cookies and eat them for breakfast too.

Enjoy friends!

Hazelnut Butter Biscotti

Have your cookies and eat them for breakfast too! A couple simple ingredients (including Georgia Grinder's Hazelnut Butter) come together to make this paleo treat.
Servings: 14 biscotti

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup hazelnut butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup cassava flour
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • chocolate to drizzle

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degree.
  • Cream together the sugar, maple syrup, and hazelnut butter.
  • Beat in the vanilla and eggs.
  • Combine the flours, baking powder, and salt in a separate bowl, then incorporate into the wet ingredients.
  • Scoop the dough onto a lined cookie sheet.
  • Form into a long log (12 inches long, 4 inches wide, 2/3 inches thick) with slightly damp hands.
  • Bake for 25 minutes.
  • Remove from the oven and let cool for 15 minutes.
  • Turn the oven temp down to 325 degrees.
  • Using a serrated knife, slice the biscotti diagonally. You should have 14 cookies.
  • Lay the biscotti on their sides and bake for 8-10 minutes.
  • Flip the biscotti and bake for another 8-10 minutes.
  • Let them cool, then drizzle with chocolate and top with sliced almonds.

The Caffeine Conundrum

What is caffeine?

To many, it is synonymous with energy, alertness, the jolt you need to get moving and grooving.

But what is it really?

It’s a crystalline compound (C₈H₁₀N₄O₂) that stimulates the central nervous system of the consumer. Caffeine is quickly absorbed into the blood stream and broken down by the liver. The resulting compounds primarily effect brain function, through bypassing the effects of the neurotransmitter responsible for relaxation – adenosine. This phenomenon increases the activity of dopamine and norepinephrine, boosting blood adrenaline levels.

 

Bottom line: Caffeine stimulates the brain and results in a heightened nervous state of alertness and focus.

Primary sources of caffeine are coffee, tea, and cacao. Approximately 80% of the world’s population (90% of North American adults) consume at least one caffeinated beverage every day. Coffee is the boost-beverage of choice for the vast majority of North American consumers. With approximately 100mg of caffeine per cup, it can provide the surge of energy needed to seize the day.

 

The effects of caffeine have been analyzed by many – with results indicating positive nutritional and functional benefits. Caffeine elevates cognitive alertness, which has been shown to increase memory retention for up to 24 hours. Consumption prior to a workout can decrease inflammation and increase muscle torque. It has also been shown to help regulate blood sugar levels, leading to stable insulin sensitivity and a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes. The stimulating properties of caffeine can also fire up your metabolism, aiding in weight management. Antioxidants and polyphenols in coffee, tea, and cacao also provide nutritional benefits.

These results seem fabulous. Increased energy and a myriad of other benefits? We should all be chugging cup after cup of coffee. Right? Not necessarily. 

As with most things in life, the greatest benefits are realized through consumption in moderation. The recommended caffeine threshold for an adult is 300mg per day. The equivalent of two Tall brews from Starbucks. Sipping on a small cup of coffee at the start of your day could provide the benefits discussed above. However, the average American consumes over 3 cups throughout the day. So what happens when the scale tips toward the dark side of caffeine excess? 

The stimulation of the sympathetic nervous system caused by caffeine shifts the body into a fight-or-flight state of awareness. The smaller boost provided by a single cup of coffee can be beneficial in the morning when your hormones are primed for higher cortisol levels. However, continual stimulation can send the system into overdrive. Extended periods of heightened adrenaline cause physiological issues such as high blood pressure and heart rate as well as psychological downsides. Caffeine excess can increase the propensity to irritability, anxiety and panic. The problem does not lie with the chemical compound of caffeine itself, but rather continual consumption which repeatedly activates and overrides the nervous system without allowing for adequate recovery. The hypothalamic pituitary adrenal (HPA) axis is the subsystem which regulates hormones and manages stress. Over time, the heightened cortisol levels disrupt the normal patterns of other hormones, bypassing the HPA axis and ultimately causing dysfunction. The result is adrenal fatigue. The HPA axis can no longer properly manage the effects of caffeine, so it shuts down – draining energy instead of boosting it. 

So what can be done? How can the benefits of caffeine be achieved without the risk of excess? For many, the answer lies in tea. The polyphenols and antioxidant properties found in coffee are also present – sometimes to an even greater extent – in various forms of tea. The world of tea also offers a vast range of choices. Different flavors. Different benefits. Different caffeine levels. At 40mg per 8oz cup, black tea contains the highest level of caffeine. With only 20mg per cup, white tea offers the least. Herbal infusions such as chamomile are caffeine free. Mindfully choosing and brewing a cup of tea can give your nervous system a gentle boost without causing detrimental fatigue.