Skip to main content

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


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.



Popular posts from this blog

Cucina Conversations: Rosette di Pane (Rosette Bread Rolls)

Rosette Soffiate, or puffed rosette rolls are probably one of the hardest bread types I have attempted to make.  It has taken me many attempts and still cannot claim that I have achieved the hollow centre being 'the' inherent characteristic of this Italian panino.  This month, our CucinaConversations topic is all about bread, and provides us with an opportunity to learn more about the many bread types found in the different regions of Italy. There are claims that there are over 350 types of bread in Italy, of which many are specific to their regions while others are more widespread and exist based around religious, utilitarian or prepared for celebrations.  

This rosetta roll is ideal and typically used for fillings due to its hollow centre. In the Friuli-Venezia region of Italy, a region which borders Austria, rosette rolls are similar to Austrian bread, and have a soft, compact crumb.  Like those in Austria, they are sprinkled with poppy seeds. Rosette rolls produced in Milan…

Cucina Conversations: Cassatelle Siciliane

Cassatelle are typical Sicilian pastries filled with lemon scented ricotta, and also known as cassateddi in Sicilian dialect.  The name derives from the word cassata, and by adding the diminutive suffix ‘ella’ you get the word cassatella, a smaller individual serving. An assortment of these pastries can be found in different regions of Sicily and are considered traditional deserts for the Carnevale and Easter period. In researching this topic, I become enthralled by the history behind the most complex of cassate from Palermo through to these more simple-to-make pastries from Siracusa, and therefore could not help but share some of its history with you.
Sicily is known as the sweets centre of Italy, and it appears that the most colourful and famous cassatasiciliana in all its glory, is one of the reasons.  It is believed to have originated in Palermo, made with sheep’s milk ricotta – at its richest and herbaceous during Spring; and containing other ingredients prevalent to the area suc…

Panzerotti /Tortelli di Castagne & Cioccolato (Chestnut & chocolate filled morsels)

When I think of chestnuts, I reminisce about my birth town - Domodossola, where I was first introduced to this distinctive flavoured nut.  We were fortunate to live close to Sacro Monte Calvario, a mountain lined with chestnut trees. My mother cooked many dishes which used this flavorsome nut, especially sweets such as these panzerotti di castagne & cioccolato.  Withthis sweet mamma has more recently substituted the chestnut filling with chickpeas as they are readily available all year round and knowing that my papa`enjoys this sweetmade frequently.

Chestnut season is a favourite for our whole family and we are of the belief that if you've never had a freshly roasted chestnut you haven't lived. We often visit Daylesford in country Victoria around autumn to purchase them fresh and enjoy them roasted at the farmers markets.

This recipe is a variation of panzerotti / tortelli di ceci which I have shared previously with you.  The filling is more delicate in texture and lighter t…