Monday, September 10, 2012

Hazelnuts and Biscotti

Monday, September 10th, 2010

Weather Report:

Lovely cool morning, - sunny skies, a few white clouds in the delft blue heavens.  Just a bit over 20 degrees C at eleven a.m.  Wonderful!

Inspired first thing to mow the two little hankie lawns at the back and side gardens - as the light hand mower mower whirred away and spoke to me of the same sounds rising from my grandparent's garden, and the  carefree summers I spent there, I was interrupted in my reverie by the mower skipping over hazelnuts, blown free of the tree in Saturday night's wind storm.

Last year there was a bumper crop from the hazelnut tree, but now as I gaze up into the branches I see very few little brown nuts wrapped in their frilly overcoats.  So far I have picked up fifty-seven - hardly enough to chop up and decorate a cake.

On the other side of the house the neighbor's giant walnut trees are laden with bright green balls and the heavy branches rest on the roof of her tool shed, from where they will slide over the edge and land on the walkway between the two properties.  The walnuts we garner (with some encouragement from the owner) are enough to keep us supplied until the next harvest.

After years of growing veggies and having our own fruit trees, etc. I don't have to feel guilty about being bereft of any harvesting, - people who are still gardening are so grateful to find someone who will take their surplus tomatoes and cucumbers and squash and apples and peaches, - and especially the odd zucchini or two!!

Anyway, I do love Hazelnuts, ground up and used as flour in cookies, or chopped for muffins and cakes.
I like to make hazelnut biscotti at Christmas time - it makes a nice little gift with a mug and some hot chocolate powder. This is the recipe I use.....

3/4 cup of butter
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup of hazelnuts

Cream together butter and sugar, beat in eggs and vanilla.
Sift together the dry ingredients and mix into the egg and creamed mixture.
Stir in the hazelnuts and shape the dough into two equal logs, about 12 inches long.

Place the logs on a baking sheet and flatten out to about 1/2 inch thickness.

Bake for about half an hour in 350 degree oven, then remove from oven a let cool.

Slice the loaves diagonally into 1/2 inch thick slices and return them to the oven to bake for an additional 10 minutes, turning over once.

Cool completely and store, - delicious!

While I was in the garden this morning I found two fall crocus - a white one and a pale purple.  I had forgotten about what a lovely autumn surprise they were last year!


Barb said...

I'm thinking of trying that biscotti recipe, Hildred - I just saw some shelled Hazelnuts at the market last week. You know I'm not much of a baker, but I had success with your orange muffin recipe! Your new header is very dreamy - enjoy your great weather.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

Hazelnuts (filberts) are a big crop here in the Willamette Valley. But one lovely orchard near where we used to live in Springfield has been turned into a housing development. All the streets have Orchard names. It's very sad!

Barb is right about your wonderful new header!