Chocolate Hazelnut Biscotti

Chocolate Biscotti

If this blog accurately reflected the amount of biscotti that has come out of my kitchen in the last couple of months, I would have to seriously consider changing my blog name to The Biscotti Merchant. A couple of months ago, I made this Vegan Almond Biscotti and have been obsessed with finding a chocolate version that I like just as much. I found a ton of different recipes to try. Some used eggs, others just the whites. Some used oil, some used butter, some used both and others used none. I wasn’t sure how these ingredients affected the final texture, so like an obsessive baking weirdo, I just tested them all. I’m not even kidding, but I’ve literally made about 20 batches of biscotti in the last few months.

The good news is, I found a favorite! By far, the winner was David Lebovitz’s Chocolate Biscotti. It calls for whole eggs but no butter or oil. It’s crunchy enough to be distinguishable as biscotti and not just a biscotti shaped cookie, but it’s not so hard that it will break your teeth. The best part is that these biscotti get better with age. I actually liked them better on day 3 than when they were freshly baked.

I decided to veganize David Lebovitz’s original recipe by replacing the egg with a chia egg, although you can use a regular egg in this if you prefer (you’ll just need to omit the water). I also replaced some of the flour with leftover hazelnut meal from making hazelnut milk, but you could also use almond or pecan meal in its place. This recipe makes a small batch of biscotti, but can easily be doubled.

Oh, and I don’t want to sound like Ina or anything, but use good cocoa powder, The majority of the flavor in these biscotti comes from the cocoa powder. My absolute favorite brand is Valrhona which I’ll splurge on once in a while, but I usually use Cacao Barry, which is a little more reasonable and also excellent quality.

Chocolate Biscotti
Chocolate Biscotti
Chocolate Biscotti

Chocolate Hazelnut Biscotti

Yield: 8-10 biscotti

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup good quality Dutch process cocoa powder
  • 3 tablespoons hazelnut meal
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground chia or flax seeds
  • 3-4 tablespoons water
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup coarsely chopped toasted hazelnuts, divided
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips (I used Enjoy Life brand mini chocolate chips)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, hazelnut meal, baking soda, and salt. If your hazelnut meal is clumpy, you can pulse the dry ingredients together in a food processor.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the ground chia seeds and 3 tablespoons of the water and let sit for a couple of minutes.
  4. Whisk in the sugar and vanilla extract.
  5. Add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and stir gently to combine. Add the remaining tablespoon of water as needed until the dough just comes together without getting too sticky.
  6. Add about 2/3 of the chopped hazelnut and the mini chocolate chips and gently knead them into the dough with your hands.
  7. Roll the dough out into a long rectangle (about 2 1/2 inches wide) and press the remainder of the hazelnuts on top of the dough.
  8. Bake for 25 minutes until the dough is firm.
  9. Cool the biscotti on a wire rack for 15 minutes.
  10. Using a serrated knife, cut the biscotti diagonally into 1/2-inch slices.
  11. Place the biscotti back on the baking sheet and bake for an additional 10 minutes on each side.
  12. Cool completely on a wire rack before serving.
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Recipe adapted from David Lebovitz

Toasted Hazelnut Milk

Hazelnut Milk

I know what you’re thinking. What is the beige-y liquid and where is my cake? Don’t worry, cake is on the way, but in the mean time, I’m bringing you my new favorite thing, toasted hazelnut milk. Ever since my vegan month, I’ve cut back significantly on dairy, but I’ve been spending a fortune on almond milk. Store bought almond milk can be expensive, flavorless, and makes a lame cappuccino. I hate lame cappuccinos.

My mom had been suggesting that I make my own almond milk for a while now and even sent me some cheesecloth in the mail, so I took the hint, made a batch, and I’m never looking back. Nut milk in everything! That sentence made me slightly uncomfortable.

I tried the next batch with hazelnuts, and got the idea from Smitten Kitchen’s blog to make the batch after that with toasted hazelnuts. Mind blowing. Toasted hazelnut cappuccinos, lattes, mochas, milkshakes, hot chocolate, cold brew…the possibilities are endless. I may or may not have tested all of these.

Hazelnut Milk
Hazelnut Milk

Most recipes I found use a ratio of at least 3 cups of water per one cup of nuts, which works well for drinking or using in cereal. For coffee creamer or making espresso based drinks, I would recommend a ratio of 1 1/2 cups of water to 1 cup of nuts. You can add any flavors to this that you like- a pinch of salt, a tablespoon or two of maple syrup or honey if you’re not vegan, and/or some vanilla extract. I’ve even read some recipes where people blended this up with cacao nibs. I haven’t tried it yet, but it’s next on my list.

Oh, and don’t forget to save the leftover hazelnut meal. Spread it out on a baking sheet, put it in the oven on the lowest setting for a couple of hours, and let it dry out, and if it gets clumpy, pulse it in the food processor a few times. I’ve got some fun recipes coming up with hazelnut meal, so stay tuned!

Toasted Hazelnut Milk

Ingredients

  • 1 cup hazelnuts
  • 1 1/2 - 3 cups filtered water plus more for soaking
  • Optional: pinch of salt, sugar, honey, maple syrup, vanilla extract
  • You will also need some cheese cloth or a nut milk bag.

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit.
  2. Place the hazelnuts on a rimmed baking sheet and spread them out in an even layer. Make sure they're not piled on top of each other and they have a little bit of wiggle room.
  3. Toast the hazelnuts for 10 minutes and toss them around about halfway through.
  4. Let the hazelnuts cool. You can skin them of you want, but I didn't bother.
  5. Soak the hazelnuts in a large bowl or jar for 12-48 hours. If you soak them on the longer side, make sure you change out the water after 24 hours.
  6. Drain the hazelnuts and place them in a blender with your desired amount of water.
  7. Blend until the mixture is white (this may take 30 seconds or longer, depending on your blender).
  8. Line a bowl with a fine mesh sieve and line it with cheesecloth.
  9. Pour the hazelnut mixture into the cheesecloth and wring it out until you can't get any more liquid.
  10. Stir in any add ins that you want and keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week.
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Adapted from Smitten Kitchen, The Kitchen Treaty, and Mom.

Momofuku Inspired Chocolate Stout, Pretzel, and Marshmallow Cake

Momofuku Stout Cake-11

My 2nd birthday cake comes to you almost a month after my actual birthday and barely in time for St. Patrick’s day (even though it’s St. Patty’s inspired). I wish I could say I was just too busy to make it in a timely manner, but really, it was put off due to sheer intimidation. This year, I really wanted one of my birthday cakes to be a Momofuku Milk Bar cake. At first, I toyed with the idea of ordering one online. I couldn’t decide on a flavor, so I was going to pretend that I had an upcoming wedding (even though I got married last year) and order the sampler pack. Slightly pathetic, I know, but my idea of a good birthday is eating an entire sampler pack of Momofuku cake in my pajamas while watching cheesy 90’s movies on Netflix. Hawt.
In the end though, I just couldn’t justify paying a shipping cost that was significantly more than the actual cake, so I figured it was time to put on my big girl pants and make one. I will say that once I assembled all of the ingredients and equipment, it was not as difficult as I made it out to be in my head. Time consuming, yes, but not so hard. I also think that making this cake would have been a lot less stressful had I not tried to do everything in a 24 hour period. I would actually recommend spacing it out over 5-7 days if you can, since a lot of it can be made in advance. I would also recommend reading through the entire recipe and familiarizing yourself with the process before you start making this cake.

Momofuku Stout Cake
Momofuku Stout Cake

After browsing the website, I decided on making the Salted Pretzel Cake because I love the idea of beer in a cake. I just recently discovered that I like beer, but only if it’s a darker beer that tastes like chocolate (such as this one). After checking out the Momofuku Milk Bar Cookbook from the library, I realized that other than the Pretzel Crunch, the rest of the Salted Pretzel Cake wasn’t in there. I was able to find the cake recipe online, but some of the instructions weren’t clear (or in weight measurements like the cookbook). For example, the recipe states that 3 cups of mini pretzels should be ground down into a powder, but should you measure the pretzels before or after you crush them? It’s a pretty big difference, since 3 cups of mini pretzels is only about 1 cup after it’s ground. There was no stout ganache recipe, but I found one online, and I replaced the burnt honey frosting with a charred marshmallow frosting (inspired by Momofuku’s Malted Chocolate Cake). In the end, I used my best judgement and was happy with the result. I’ve also included a few step by step photos at the bottom of this post as well. Please excuse the awkward lighting and non-prettiness since some were quickly snapped on my iPhone.

Here are the the components of the cake:

The Salted Pretzel Cake: This can be made up to 5 days in advance is kept wrapped in plastic in the fridge. I recommend making it at least a day in advance since it is easier to work with if you refrigerate it overnight.
The Stout Beer Soak: Just go buy your favorite stout beer. I used Samuel Smith’s Organic Chocolate Stout.
The Malted Chocolate Pretzel Crunch: These can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for a week or refrigerated for up to one month.
The Stout Ganache: Can be made a week in advance and kept in the fridge. You’ll need to rewarm it in order to spread it over the cake.
The Charred Marshmallow Frosting: This needs to be made and used immediately.

There’s also the equipment. You’ll need:

A quarter sheet pan. I used the 9×13 pan I had and got away with it. It’s a little smaller than a quarter sheet pan and required me to piece a few more scraps together.
A 6-inch cake ring. I used a 6-inch cheesecake pan with a removable bottom that I already had and it worked just fine. A springform pan would work too, but I wouldn’t recommend a regular 6-inch cake pan or anything with a closed, non removable bottom.
Two 3×20-inch strips of acetate. I was able to get 2.5×20-inch strips at my local cake supply store and they worked well. You can also find larger sheets on amazon and cut them down to size.

Momofuku Inspired Chocolate Stout, Pretzel, and Marshmallow Cake

Yield: One 6-inch round cake

Ingredients

    For the Pretzel Cake:
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick, 113 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups (250 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/3 cup (80 ml) buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup (120 grams) grapeseed oil
  • 3/4 cups (85 grams) cake flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 3 cups (150 grams) unsalted pretzels, ground down into a powder (this ended up being about 1 cup of pretzel powder)
  • Your favorite stout beer for soaking the cake.
  • For the Malted Chocolate Pretzel Crumbs:
  • 2 cups (100 grams) unsalted mini pretzels
  • 1/4 cup packed (60 grams) light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons malted milk powder
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 7 tablespoons (100 grams) melted unsalted butter
  • For the Stout Ganache:
  • 1 cup chopped bittersweet chocolate (170 grams)
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) stout beer
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) heavy cream
  • For the Charred Marshmallow Frosting:
  • 1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons, 170 grams) unsalted butter, softened but still cool
  • 3/4 cup (85 grams) powdered sugar
  • 10 ounces (283 grams) mini marshmallows, divided

Instructions

    For the Pretzel Cake:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit and line the quarter sheet pan with parchment paper (make sure you cover the sides as well).
  2. With an electric mixer, beat the butter, molasses, and sugars together on medium high for 2-3 minutes.
  3. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the eggs, and mix on medium high for an additional 2 to 3 minutes.
  4. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. On low speed, stream in the buttermilk and oil.
  5. Increase the mixer speed to medium-high and beat for 4 to 6 more minutes, until the mixture is lighter in color and homogenous. Don’t rush this process.
  6. Scrape down the sides on the bowl and stir in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and the ground down pretzels until just combined.
  7. Bake the cake for 30 to 35 minutes. Check the cake at 30 minutes. If the center is still jiggly and underdone, bake for an additional 3-5 minutes.
  8. Cool the cake completely on a wire rack. I recommend wrapping it in plastic and refrigerating it overnight before assembling the cake.
  9. For the Malted Chocolate Pretzel Crumbs:
  10. Preheat the oven to 275 degrees fahrenheit.
  11. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
  12. Place the pretzels in a food processor and pulse until you get small bits (stop pulsing before it gets powdery). You can also break them up by hand.
  13. Stir the crushed pretzels, brown sugar, granulated sugar, malted milk powder, cocoa power, and salt in a bowl.
  14. Add the melted butter and stir to combine.
  15. Spread the mixture on the sheet pan and bake for 20 minutes.
  16. Cool completely before using.
  17. For the Stout Ganache:
  18. Place the chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl.
  19. In a small sauce pan, combine the cream and beer and heat until it just starts to boil.
  20. Pour the beer/cream over the chocolate and let stand for 5 minutes.
  21. Whisk until smooth.
  22. Let cool until the ganache reaches a spreadable consistency. You can speed up the process by refrigerating it for about 15 minutes.
  23. For the Charred Marshmallow Frosting:
  24. With an electric mixer, beat the butter on medium speed until smooth.
  25. Add the powdered sugar and beat on low to combine.
  26. Take a handful of marshmallows and set them aside for later. You'll use these to top the cake.
  27. Place the remainder of the marshmallows on a parchment lined baking sheet and put them in the oven on broil. Toast them to your preferred level of doneness. I like them past the point of toasted until they are slightly burnt.
  28. Scrape the marshmallows immediately into the bowl with the butter and sugar and beat on medium to combine. At this point, it will look like a soupy gloomy mess but that's ok. Set it aside for about 15-20 minutes and it will thicken slightly to the point of being spreadable and will set up completely in the freezer.
  29. To Assemble the Cake:
  30. Once you take the cake out of the fridge, use the cake ring to stamp out 2 6-inch circles. These will be the top 2 layers of your cake. The remaining scraps will make the bottom layer.
  31. Line a sheet pan with parchment and place the cake ring in the center (if you used a cheesecake pan with a removable bottom, you don't don't need to place it onto a separate pan).
  32. Place the first strip of acetate inside the cake ring.
  33. Place the cake scraps inside the cake ring and use you hand to gently press the cake into the bottom layer.
  34. Dunk your pastry brush into the beer and give the bottom layer a good healthy soak.
  35. Spread 1/2 of the ganache onto the first layer of cake.
  36. Cover the ganache layer with about 1/3 of the pretzel crunch and press it gently into the ganache.
  37. Spread the 1/3 of the marshmallow frosting over the pretzel crunch.
  38. Before you start the second layer, gently tuck the second strip of acetate between the cake ring and the top ¼ inch of the first strip of acetate. It should be sticking out enough to support the next 2 layers (see picture below).
  39. Then, place the second layer on top of the marshmallow frosting, top with the remainder of the ganache, another 1/3 of pretzel crunch, and another 1/3 of marshmallow frosting.
  40. Place the las layer of cake on top and spread the remainder of the marshmallow frosting on top.
  41. Top the cake with the remainder of pretzel crunch and put it in the freezer for at least 12 hours.
  42. Remove the cake from the freezer and slide it out of the cake ring (or cheesecake pan).
  43. Place the rest of the marshmallows on top and toast them with a blowtorch (or toast them under the broiler and put them on top).
  44. Let the cake defrost in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours.
  45. Slice, serve with stout beer, and enjoy!
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After you cut out two circles with the cake ring, line the inside of the cake ring with one strip of acetate. Use the leftover cake scraps to form the bottom layer. You can use you hand to gently press the cake scraps down and a pastry brush to soak the bottom layer with stout.
Momofuku Stout Cake
Spread 1/2 of the ganache on the bottom cake layer.
Momofuku Stout Cake
Cover the ganache with pretzel crunch. You can use up to 1/3 of it (I used a little less) and press it gently into the ganache).
Momofuku Stout Cake
Spread 1/3 of the charred marshmallow frosting over the pretzel crunch.
Momofuku Stout Cake
Before you start the second layer, tuck the second strip of acetate between the cake ring and the top 1/4 inch of the first strip of acetate. It should be sticking out of the cake ring high enough to support the next two layers. Then, repeat the process with the 2nd layer: the remainder of the ganache, 1/3 of the pretzel crunch, and another 1/3 of marshmallow frosting.
Momofuku Stout Cake
Place the last layer on top and spread the remainder of the marshmallow frosting on top.
Momofuku Stout Cake
Gently press the remainder of the pretzel crunch on top and put the cake in the freezer overnight (at least 12 hours).
Momofuku Stout Cake
After the cake has set in the freezer, pop it out of the cake ring. Since I used a cheesecake pan, I pushed the base from the bottom up and it slid right out. Peel of the first strip of acetate.
Momofuku Stout Cake
Then the second…
Momofuku Stout Cake
And voila! Let it defrost in the fridge for at least 3 hours and serve with chocolate stout.
Momofuku Stout Cake
Eat cake!
Momofuku Stout Cake
This cake will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Cake recipe adapted from the Momofuku website.
Pretzel Crunch recipe adapted from the Momofuku Milk Bar cookbook.
Stout Ganache recipe adapted from The Beeroness
Charred Marshmallow Frosting adapted from Cookies and Cups