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Breakfast in the Backcountry pt. 2

Biscotti is a great backpacking food- it’s basically the hardtack that explorers used for generations, but with added sugar, protein and caffeine. It’s perfect for dipping in your morning coffee/tea/porridge and stands up well to being crushed in the bottom of a backpack for a week.

We started off using the Dirty Gourmet recipe for biscotti (after getting the idea from them!), but found that it crumbled a bit too easily in the pack. Next we tried the Smitten Kitchen version but she’s not kidding about it being meant for dipping- you risk breaking a tooth if you eat it dry!

This adapted version adds just a bit of oil to the Smitten Kitchen recipe to split the difference on the hardness. In theory the added oil might cause them to spoil faster but we’ve never noticed an issue with it. This version also reduces the temperature for the second bake because I found some of the thin, diagonally cut ends were coming out tasting scorched.

Rolling the nuts and chocolate into the centre of the dough helps keep all the good stuff in the middle (rather than poking out the edges) and seems to help them maintain integrity. I also like to decorate the exterior with pearl sugar (just very large sugar crystals, available from German/Scandinavian import stores) because it looks good, and because the extra calories help, right?

This recipe is safe to experiment on- adding more or less oil for instance- because it all gets baked rock solid anyways.

This batch was made with half and half store-bought and wild hazelnuts I that picked in the Edmonton river valley (apparently they’re common there!)

Mocha Breakfast Biscotti

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen’s Chocolate Hazelnut Biscotti and Dirty Gourmet’s Chocolate Chip and Coffee Biscotti

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup whole hazelnuts
  • 2 1/2 cups AP flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 or 2 tablespoons espresso powder or ground dark roast coffee
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil (optional)
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • pearl sugar for topping

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350℉.
Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Spread hazelnuts in a pan and toast in the oven until lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Remove skins by wrapping in a clean dish towel and rubbing. Set aside to cool.

Mix flour, cocoa, coffee, salt, baking soda, and baking powder together in a large bowl.

Separately, stir eggs together and set aside 2 tb in a small bowl. Add vanilla and oil (if using) to remaining eggs and mix well.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix just until it comes together. Turn out half of the dough onto a floured surface and shape into a square about 1/2″ thick. Spread half of the nuts and chocolate on top and then roll into a cylinder. Squash the dough back into a rectangle, about 4 1/2″ inches wide, 1″ thick, and as long as necessary (they’ll spread about an inch as they bake.) Place this on your prepared tray and repeat with the remaining dough & filling.

Brush the top of your logs with the reserved egg mixture and sprinkle the top with the pearl sugar.

Bake for 35 minutes. Remove pan from oven and place on a cooling rack. Reduce oven temperature to 325℉ and wait 10 minutes. Using a serrated knife, cut each log into 3/4″ slices on the diagonal.

Put the slices on their sides back on the tray and bake for 10 minutes. Flip pieces and bake for another 10 minutes. Remove from oven and allow them to cool completely before storing.

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