Try this chocolate orange biscotti filled, with hazelnuts and coated in dark chocolate and hazelnut spread. Perfect for dunking into your morning coffee.
What goes perfectly with a hot drink, I hear you ask? A biscuit.
But what type of biscuit goes well? A biscuit that can withstand a good dunk I say, and there’s no better choice than biscotti.
One of the best comforts is a hot drink and a dunk-able biscuit to pair. Especially during the colder months when coffees, chai and a good cup of tea are the most frequent beverages. I’m a huge fan of a classic dark chocolate digestive (one of my favourite biscuits of all time).
But I have to say these chocolate orange biscotti are serious competition for that space. They have a strong dunk-ability factor which makes them perfectly fit for purpose.
The chocolate orange combination entwined with toasted hazelnuts is a match made in heaven. Let’s not forget the dark chocolate and hazelnut coating across the base of the biscotti which just gives it that extra slick of elegance. As if biscotti weren’t perfect already.
These make for a great holiday biscuit, they’re perfect for gifting to your loved ones! Or just enjoy them all to yourself, it’s worth it.
So what are biscotti?
Biscotti, also known as cantucci are a type of biscuit that originated in Tuscany, a region in central Italy. The original biscotti were almond flavoured due to the abundance of almonds in Tuscany.
They are biscuits that are twice-baked and hence this process of double baking creates a texture which is crisp and very dry. Due to how dry the biscuits are, they’re traditionally served as a dessert along with a drink to dunk into.
The drink to pair is typically a sweet dessert wine, i.e. a vin santo, however coffees and teas have also become a very frequent combination.
There are a huge number of flavours available as it’s such a versatile biscuit. These can range from various nuts to spices such as star anise, or even just as simple as vanilla. Plenty of varieties exist with chocolate chips or chocolate glazes like these chocolate orange biscotti.
Traditionally biscotti will be made with a very low butter content if any, and the main liquid component of the dough will come from the eggs. The first bake will be in a long oblong/slab shape at a high temperature, after which is partly cooled and sliced.
These slices are then baked a second time at a lower temperature to dry them out completely.
These chocolate orange biscotti
So these chocolate orange biscotti won’t be classed as traditional, but they are insanely delicious. Contrary to the original method making biscotti, my recipe contains no eggs.
On the other hand it does contain butter to make up for the fat that the eggs would have otherwise provided. As well as butter, it also contains ground flax seeds. The flax helps with binding and even adds a little extra fat content, in a similar fashion to the way the egg yolk would.
I’ve also added in some cornflour which helps to lower the gluten content and tenderise the crumb of the biscotti. (This is sold as corn starch in the US)
There’s an abundance of orange zest mixed into the biscotti dough which infuses it with the most incredible fragrance and flavour. Chocolate orange is a classic combination and something I love around the winter and festive period.
The biscotti themselves are not overly sweet, I’m personally not a fan of super sweet ones. Hence I’ve held back a touch on the sugar. A lot of the sweetness will actually come from the chocolate and hazelnut glaze along the base of the biscotti as well as the drink you’ll be dunking it in!
There’s hazelnuts within the dough (keep the skin on people!) which gives it texture and nuttiness. It’s an added little surprise that works beautifully. But for anyone with nut allergies, feel free to leave it out.
You could totally enjoy these on their own, but they are a dry and crisp biscuit as all biscotti are. My go-to pairing would be either a flat white, latte, cappuccino, or a mocha. So those would be my top recommendations for sure.
What’s the purpose of the double baking? Is it essential?
The double baking is what makes a biscotti a biscotti.
The first bake is primarily to set the ingredients and to form your basic biscuit, albeit in an oblong slab. The slab is then allowed to cool slightly, then cut into pieces and baked a second time. That second bake is carried out a lower temperature to allow the pieces to dry out completely, thus forming biscotti.
It’s absolutely essential, it wouldn’t be biscotti without the second bake. If you choose not to, you’ll be left with a more soft and crumbly biscuit that’s neither a cookie nor a shortbread. That’s what we’ll class as a low dunk-ability factor, and that’s not what we’re here for!
If you’re looking for a biscotti that’s:
- Easy to make
- Can be veganised
Then you’re in the right place.
What you’ll need to make these chocolate orange biscotti
The full recipe can be found at the end of the blogpost
- Plain flour
- Cornflour – This is not corn meal. It is a thickening agent sold as cornflour in the UK and corn starch in the US
- Baking powder
- Caster sugar
- Unsalted butter
- Milk of choice – dairy/oat/soy work well
- Ground flax seeds
- Vanilla extract
- Chocolate of choice – I’ve used a 70% dark chocolate as that’s my personal preference. Use your favourite, be it milk or dark
- Hazelnut and chocolate spread – e.g. nutella
It’s a simple process to bake these. There’s not a lot of hands-on time however it does take some time to bake due to the double baking. Totally worth it I say and I have no doubt you all will agree.
How to make these chocolate orange biscotti
First let’s make the dough for the biscotti
1+2) Melt the butter on a low heat until completely melted, then take off the heat
3+4) Once the butter is off the heat, add in the milk, vanilla, orange zest and ground flax. Whisk to combine and then allow to sit for 10 minutes.
This will allow the mixture to cool to room temperature and also for the flax seeds to star absorbing some of the liquid and activate
5) Toast the hazelnuts in a pan on low heat for around 10 minutes (do this whilst the butter is melting to save time!)
6) Roughly chop the hazelnuts into chunks. Keep the skin on, don’t peel
7) Mix together the plain flour, corn flour, caster sugar, baking powder and salt
8) Add in the cooled butter mix
9) Start to incorporate with a fork until no dry flour remains. You can start using your hands towards the end
10) Add in the chopped hazelnuts and briefly mix to combine. This may take 10-20s
11) At this stage you will have a pretty cohesive dough – avoid kneading or else it will turn into bread as it will form more gluten. Split the dough into two equal halves
12) Begin shaping each half into a flat oblong slab. Do this by first creating a log shape. The transfer the two logs onto a baking tray lined with baking paper
The first bake:
13) Then flatten and shape with your hands and any flat object into an oblong slab. Roughly 17cm long, 10cm wide and 2cm in depth. It does not need to be perfect. Just try and create a flat and smooth surface on top as much as you can
14) Bake these for 25 minutes in a 190’C fan/210’C conventional preheated oven until golden brown on top. They will still be soft. Lower the oven to 160’C fan/180’C conventional at the point. Allow the slabs to cool for 10 minutes in the tray, then transfer to a wire rack to cool for another 10 minutes
The second bake:
15) After 20 minutes cut the slabs into slices with a bread knife/serrated knife. Each slice should be 1.5-2cm thick. Cut at an angle for a more authentic biscotti shape. Work carefully here as they will be crumbly and may break if you’re too forceful
16) Places these slices back on to a baking tray and bake for a further 25 mins, carefully flipping these over half way. They should be firm to the touch all over, though they will continue to harden as they cool. If you’re unsure, bake these for an additional 5-10 minutes. After 5 minutes of cooling, transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before glazing
The biscotti glaze:
17) Melt the chocolate pieces in the microwave in 10s increments until completely melted. Then add the hazelnut spread to the melted chocolate and mix to combine
18) Dunk the base of the cooled biscotti into the chocolate and hazelnut glaze
19) Transfer the biscotti to a tray lined with baking paper and placed glazed-side down. Pop into the fridge for 20-30 minutes or until the chocolate has hardened
Questions and Answers
Can these chocolate orange biscotti be made vegan?
Yes, substitute the butter for a vegan butter. The stork original baking block is my favourite for something like this – and it’s vegan. Substitute the milk for oat or soy milk for best results. Vegan chocolate and a vegan hazelnut spread for the glaze.
Can they be made gluten free?
I can’t say for sure as it’s not something I’ve tried. A good gluten free flour blend should work but I can’t guarantee. Please let me know if you do give it a try and which flour blend you used.
What if I don’t like or can’t consume nuts?
Leave them out entirely or substitute for dried fruit perhaps? You could also substitute for chocolate chips if you wanted to, but it can get messy when trying to cut the slices. If you’re just not a fan of hazelnuts, then pistachios and almonds work wonderfully well here.
Substitute the hazelnut spread for either more chocolate, or your favourite chocolate spread. You could always just add more orange zest to the melted chocolate and do an orange chocolate glaze. That would be delicious too!
How should I store these chocolate orange biscotti?
Keep them in an air tight container. As they’re dry, they keep for a while. Without the glaze they can be kept at room temperature. If they’re glazed I recommend keeping them in the fridge.
How long will they keep?
I’ve kept mine refrigerated and they’ve still been fine at the 2 week mark. I can’t say for any longer as mine have always been finished before it gets any further.
Can these be made without the flaxseeds?
Yes, just omit them. But it’s just not as good texturally. It will still work however. You may have to knead the dough a little to create some gluten to help with binding instead.
Why are my chocolate orange biscotti still soft?
Your second bake was too short or too low a temperature. Your oven may be running slightly cooler. Just pop these back into the oven (providing you haven’t glazed them) for another 10 minutes and check again to make sure they’re firm to the touch before removing.
What should I do if the dough is too sticky to shape?
The dough is slightly sticky but it’s very easy to handle. If yours is too sticky and doesn’t form a cohesive dough then it needs more flour. You can also dust your counter and the slab of dough with flour to help when shaping.
Just brush off any excess flour with a brush before baking.
Can I use a stand mixer to make the dough?
Yes you can, follow the same steps in your mixer with the paddle attachment. Just make sure to give the dough a mix with your hands mid way to ensure there’s no dry flour left at the bottom.
Chocolate Orange Biscotti
For the dough:
- 345 g plain flour
- 45 g corn flour
- 1 +1/2tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 150 g white caster sugar
- 120 g unsalted butter
- 150 ml milk of choice
- 2 tsp ground flax seeds
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 large orange zested
- 45 g hazelnuts
For the glaze:
- 50 g dark chocolate I use 70% dark chocolate, alternatively use your favourite bar or milk chocolate
- 100 g hazelnut spread e.g. Nutella
- Preheat your oven to 190’C fan/210’C conventional
- Melt the butter in a saucepan on a low heat until completely melted, then remove from the heat
- Then add in the milk, vanilla, orange zest and ground flax. Whisk to combine and allow to sit for 10 minutes for the mixture to cool and the flax to activate
- At the same time, toast the hazelnuts in a separate pan on low heat for around 10 minutes, then roughly chop. Don’t remove the skins
- In a mixing bowl, add the plain flour, corn flour, caster sugar, baking powder and salt. Whisk to combine
- Add in the cooled butter mixture and mix with a fork to combine into a dough. Avoid kneading as we’re not trying to develop the gluten, or else it will form bread
- Once it has formed a sticky dough with no dry flour, add in the hazelnuts and briefly mix to incorporate
- Form the dough into a rough circle and cut into 2 equal pieces
- Begin shaping each piece in a log/tube. If the dough is quite sticky feel free to flour your surface, but try to avoid adding more flour to the dough itself
- Transfer these logs to your lined baking sheet and gently press into a flat oblong slab. Roughly 17cmx10cmx2cm. Try and aim for a smooth top surface
- Bake both slabs for 25 minutes or until golden. They will still be soft as this is only the first bake
- Allow to cool for 10 minutes in the tray, then transfer carefully to a wire rack to cool for a further 10 minutes. At the same time lower the oven temperature to 160’C fan/180’C conventional
- Now transfer the slabs on to a chopping board and cut into 1.5-2cm thick slices at a slight angle using a serrated bread knife for ease. You should get around 12-13 pieces from each slab
- Carefully transfer these pieces back on to the baking sheet, cut-side up and place back into the oven for a further 25 minutes, carefully flipping the pieces over half way. Do this process carefully as the slices will still be soft and crumbly. After the second bake the biscotti should be firm to the touch all over – they will continue to harden further as they cool
- Transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool completely
For the glaze:
- Melt the dark chocolate in the microwave at 10s intervals or on a bain marie if you prefer. Then add the hazelnut spread and mix to combine
- Dunk the base of the cooled biscotti into the chocolate mix and allow any excess to drip off. Transfer to a baking tray lined with baking paper – glazed side down. Pop into the fridge for 20-30 minutes or until the chocolate has set
If you enjoyed this one, you’ll love my double chocolate chip cookies too!