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Chocolate Hazelnut Biscuits & My Visit to Domodossola


Another Christmas is fast approaching and it seems like yesterday when I wrote about my longing to visit my birth town in Italy hereLittle did I know then that my dream would be realized so soon and that I would be fortunate to return to this quaint place that I have very little recollections of; to find a part of myself  I had left behind at the age of two. 

This journey was taken with my cousin Vincenzo, who also has an attachment to Domodossola.  Although not born there, he spent most of his childhood years there and often visits his extended family and friends.  Vincenzo wrote a book titled Identita` in which he incorporates many of his childhood recollections within short stories. 

These selected photos are of Sacro Monte Calvario that overlooks Domodossola. Here I felt a sense of peace, connection and at home. Read more here about this beautiful place.  My parents first home in Domodossola was on the summit of this mountain.

Piemonte is a region of Italy that makes world class wines and cheeses, it is also renowned for its fine chocolate like household names Ferrero Rocher and of course my favourite Nutella.  Growing up I ate this often for merenda (snack) and sometimes for breakfast too, spread on a slice of bread. 

When we migrated to Australia in 1970, my mother could not find Nutella and to my horror, I had to resort to other substitute brands that did not live up to my expectations. It was not until many years later that the true Nutella reappeared in our household.  To this day, I still love it.  Hence my post on chocolate & hazelnut biscuits. Chocolate + hazelnuts = Nutella in my mind.  So any sweet that incorporates these two ingredients must be trialled.  I came across this recipe when I was doing some research on typical sweets of this region.  A simple biscuit that uses unrefined flour known as Farro. With the addition of an egg butter, sugar, hazelnuts and of course cocao, these Italian biscuits are simply something special.  


Chocolate & Hazelnut Biscuits

Ingredients:

100g toasted and chopped hazelnuts
200g unsalted butter
150g raw sugar
350g Farro flour (or other unrefined flour. You can also use all purpose flour, however the unrefined flour adds to the texture)
Pinch of salt
1 large egg
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

Chop the hazelnuts in a food processor and mix in the  rest of the ingredients together until dough is well combined.

Form a ball, cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate for half an hour.  Once chilled, knead the dough for a few minutes so that it becomes pliable.  

You can roll out the dough to desired thickness and using your favourite cookie cutter, form 12 biscuits.  I found the dough a little too crumbly, so I chose to roll walnut size balls and then flattened with my hands. I also places a hazelnut in the middle.

Place the biscuits on a baking tray covered with baking paper and bake for 25-30 minutes at 180c.

Once cooled, sift some cocoa and icing sugar on top.

Enjoy!







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