Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Peppered Fig and Hazelnut Biscotti

 Peppered Fig and Hazelnut Biscotti

If you read my blog enough, you know I have an obsession with biscotti! Maybe even a bit crazed! It’s my mission to keep my Biscotti jar full! Over the holidays I fell short…just too many sweets in the house. So this week I decided to fill that jar! When my husband walks into the kitchen and makes a cup of coffee, he expects to have biscotti with it!  They are the cookies of choice in my house.  They’re lower in fat than most cookies, and are usually less sweet. They are always perfect with a cup of tea, coffee, or even a glass of wine.  I enjoy them just as they are, for a quick snack. 

Crunchy with a kick….a winner with me

The recipe I’m sharing with you today, is one I developed for the "Fonseca Bin 27- 2013 Cookie Rumble". Fonseca Port sponsored the contest. My biscotti may not have won the contest, but they have certainly won a special place in my repertoire of favorites!  I developed this recipe by combining some of the best parts of several of my favorite biscotti recipes; changing the amounts of flour, butter and sugar, to get the crunch just right. Then I gave them a kick of pepper. So, if you’re looking for really great biscotti to fill your cookie jar with, this one may be for you!

Biscotti just out of the oven
The figs, port, hazelnuts and pepper give you a wonderfully flavorful biscotti

Peppered Fig and Hazelnut Biscotti
by Kathy VanBruinisse

3¼ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup fine corn meal
2 teaspoons freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1 stick + 3 tablespoons softened, unsalted butter
1½ cups sugar
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons grated orange zest
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 teaspoon Fiori Di Sicilia extract or orange extract
½-¾ cup chopped dried figs
¼ cup of Port mixed with 2 tablespoons water
1 cup hazelnuts, whole and pieces, toasted.
1 egg white, slightly beaten with a tablespoon of water (for egg wash)

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Line two large baking sheets with parchment or Silpat.
2. Combine flour, pepper, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Whisk to blend.
3. Bring Port and water to boil then add the chopped figs, simmer for a few minuets. Remove from the heat. Set aside to cool.
4. Remove figs from liquid and pat dry with paper towel. Reserve the port.
5. In the bowl of your stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar until smooth. Add eggs, orange zest, extracts and a generous tablespoon of the reserved port. Beat just until smooth and well blended. Add the flour mixture slowly, and beat at lowest speed (or stir by hand) just until dry ingredients are moistened and incorporated. Sprinkle about a teaspoon of flour over the figs, and add them along with the hazelnuts to the batter. Mix until nuts and figs are distributed into the dough.
6. Divide dough into quarters. On a lightly floured surface, shape each quarter into a flattened log about 14 inches long and 2 inches wide, and 1 inch thick. Put two on each baking sheet. Brush with egg wash.
7. Bake logs until lightly browned and slightly firm along the edges, about 25 minutes. If baking both trays at once, rotate your pans between oven shelves halfway through baking. Cool logs for 30 minutes, and then transfer to a cutting board. Cut each log on a slight angle into 3/4 inch pieces. Place pieces together as logs are sliced, and transfer logs to baking sheets, and then separate slices, leaving about 1/2 inch space between each slice.
8. Bake biscotti again until golden brown. About 16 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool. Store in airtight containers. Makes about 6-dozen.


  1. I too love doubled baked cookies. These look fantastic with figs and hazelnuts.

  2. What a great flavour combo to put in biscotti, delicious :D


  3. I had been thinking about a biscotti a taste of home. Thanks!

  4. Hello, my name is Francesca and I'm Italian. I stumbled upon your blog and I liked it because there are so many things belkle. I have joined your supporters. If you go too foul. Thank you.

  5. Kathy, this is truly of a masterpiece of Sicilian Biscotti you created! The figs, and the Sicilian Orange extract give it away; (from where it originates) ...must be a recipe from the seventies that I seem to recall, with your adaptations on them.
    Thanks for sharing this amazing recipe; can't wait to try them!

  6. Hi Kathy!

    I sure am glad I didn't miss your Biscotti recipe. Of course, it would be so much nicer to have one at my side as I drink my afternoon tea:)

    You're a winner in my book and these biscotti take the cake. What a great recipe you have developed here. Very original and I'm sure delicious too!!!

    Thank you so much for sharing, Kathy...

  7. Kathy, these sound so good. I love that you keep the biscotti jar full most of the time. I wish I was your neighbor!

  8. Kathy - I love how you combine sweet and savory and piquant in this recipe! I love biscotti, too, buy rarely make them. Maybe that needs to change! ~ David

  9. Dear Kathy, I like that you put pepper in the biscotti with the sweet. I love that combination.
    I remember that my mom used to buy the hard biscuit with the pepper corns in them. I loved them even as a little girl.
    Blessings dear. Catherine xo

  10. You'll forever remain the queen of biscotti Kathy! Adding pepper to figs, how wonderful! I need to try these soon. Figs, I can't get enough of them.