Nutella and discipline

Not really two words you would find uttered together in one sentence is it? I’m sure many people could attest to the difficulties of finding the latter in the presence of the well-loved hazelnut spread, and yet these are the exact two things you would need to successfully see this recipe through.

I’ve never really been a jam and bread type of person, but occasionally we buy jams and spreads that I could use in baking. And while I’ve never been a fan of the Nutella-filled chocolate Ferrero Rocher, I do sometimes enjoy Nutella in other ways. I chanced upon this recipe as I was browsing food blogs and thought it would be worth a try because of that big waiting bottle of Nutella in the pantry. And because I know I’ll probably be too “busy” to even be aware that World Nutella Day has already passed me by, I’ve decided to make it today. But who knows, maybe I’ll be able to make something for February 5th anyway. :3

To say these are hard to resist would be an understatement. They look, smell, and taste perfect. Even the batter, as I watched my Kitchen Aide magically whip it, looks absolutely perfect, so much so that I could not resist taking photos of the batter and its gradual changes. Right then, I could already imagine how wonderfully they would turn out. The most difficult thing about all this was really resisting the urge to gorge myself after the first baking stage. First there was the smell- and what a fantastic smell it was!- which began wafting through the kitchen, trying to bend my self-control. The second challenge came when I had to stop myself from stuffing a few pieces into my mouth as I cut the logs for the second round of baking. Aside from the Nutella, this also has chunks of dark chocolate, which happens to be one of my weaknesses. And as expected, I popped a piece of biscotti in my mouth. Just the tiny corner bits though.

Discipline seems to always take a back seat for most people when it comes to food. In my case, I spend sleepless nights obsessing over collecting recipes from various noteworthy food blogs. If it’s a particularly good blog, I literally just browse through the whole thing from the beginning to the most recent post, saving recipes on my MacGourmet app. My Dad usually calls me undisciplined in this aspect because I go way beyond bedtime than I should, but that’s really the worst food-related “discipline problem” I have, and it does not involve getting half the batter in my mouth even before I can put it into the oven. I’ve never been a lick-the-spoon type of baker anyway.

But with these biscotti, it becomes a little more challenging to keep your hands off. These are softer than the usual coffee-dunk-required biscotti, which means you can eat them on their own without breaking your teeth. That, plus the fact that this is quite a scrumptious little treat, makes this recipe absolutely worth a go!

Nutella Biscotti with Chocolate Chunks

adapted from Tracey’s Culinary Adventures who adapted from a book I’ve been lusting for | Makes about 45 biscotti

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup Nutella, at room temperature
3 large eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
5 oounces (142 grams) semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, cut into 1/4-inch chunks

1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until smooth and slightly lightened in color, 2-3 minutes.

3. Add the Nutella to the bowl and beat to blend, remembering to scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.
4. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well (15 to 20 seconds) and scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition.

5. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder and salt. Add the flour mixture to the bowl of the mixer all at once and beat on low speed just until combined. Use a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl again.
6. Add the chocolate and mix on low speed until just blended. Remove the bowl from the mixer and stir gently a few times with the spatula to evenly distribute the chocolate and ensure there are no patches of unincorporated flour or butter at the bottom of the bowl.

7. Divide the dough in half and on a lightly floured surface, shape each half of dough into a 13-inch log. Place the logs on the prepared baking sheet spacing them about 4 inches apart. Press down on the logs to flatten them slightly until they are about 2 inches across. Place a second baking sheet under the first to prevent the bottoms of the logs from browning too quickly.
8. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the logs are firm to the touch. Transfer the baking sheet to a cooling rack and let the logs cool completely to prevent the warm chocolate chunks from smearing once you cut into the biscotti.
9. Turn the oven down to 275°F (135°C) and position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven. Transfer the cooled logs to a cutting board and use a serrated knife to slice the logs on the diagonal into 3/8-inch thick cookies. Line a second baking sheet with parchment paper.*

10. Place the cookies, cut side down, on the prepared baking sheets. Bake for 30-40 minutes, rotating the pans from front to back and top to bottom halfway through, until the cookies are dry. Transfer to a rack to cool completely.

Some notes:
*I would recommend breaking out another baking sheet to set the other half of logs in. Stuffing them all into one baking sheet will prevent them from becoming dry and harder, as they should be. Instead you might end up with something slightly cakey and soft, which is really not biscotti at all.

~Print this recipe

I hope all you Nutella fans will try this recipe out for yourselves, because in all seriousness, there’s a significant part of your Nutella-loving lives you will miss out on if you don’t.

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