Barley, hazelnut and cocoa biscuits for a relaxing coffee break.
I thought that once I had become a full time food blogger, I would have had the opportunity to publish at least three recipes per week, with lots of details and photos of my trips. The more available time should have turned into an excuse to test and recommend local osterias met along country roads, looking for remote villages to discover the most characteristic festivals. I just hoped so.
But it looks like time has shrunk as a felted sweater and, maybe due to the red tape necessary to turn my passion into a profession, I found myself in the need of a pause, to recap my ideas.
Pauses are needed, they help to reconsider what has been already made and to set new goals for what needs to be done. We should not be afraid to take a break, because even if everything seems to swirl around very fast, after a week the whole world is still there, and you can get back to your life even more enthusiastic than before. So here we are, with much more ease and less performance anxiety, let’s start again.
Let’s have a new start with our new family passion, coffee.
Dad has put back in action the old 1980 Baby Gaggia, painted in a beautiful bright red as befits the Ferrari of coffee machines. In our little vintage kitchen corner he tests new blends of Robusta and Arabica, trying to get cream, body, aroma and hints of chocolate.
You can perfectly understand how we treated ourselves with a lot of pauses, meant to savour and appreciate the last blends. A white thick ceramic cup to keep the coffee temperature for a long time, as to avoid a too pronounced acidity, and a white saucer. Too much white indeed, you need a cookie, too.
This is a cookie meant to double the pleasure of the coffee and to break the silent pause with a crunching noise. We usually sit in the kitchen with the coffee cup in front of us, staring blankly at dad who’s eyeing you up and down to understand how the coffee was, whether it is convenient to grind it finer or to apply more pressure. The coffee, though, is supposed to remain the main character, so you need just a simple not too sweet cookie to enhance the roasted notes of coffee: hazelnut, cocoa and barley flour, nothing else is required.
- 115 g of shelled hazelnuts
- 200 g of raw cane sugar
- 250 g of plain flour
- 150 g of whole barley flour (if you cannot find it, use whole spelt flour)
- 2 tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 pinch of salt
- 3 egg yolks
- 220 g butter, melted in a bain marie
- 100 ml of whole milk
- icing sugar to decorate
- Preheat oven to180°C.
- Toast the hazelnuts in the oven for about 5 minutes to enhance their flavour, then let them cool down. Once cold, put them in a blender with the raw cane sugar.
- Blend them with the pulse function not to overheat them, otherwise they will get too oily, until you get a fine and crumbly texture, just as cane sugar.
- Place the blended hazelnuts with sugar into a bowl and mix it with the plain flour, the barley flour, the cocoa powder and a pinch of salt.
- Pour the egg yolks in the centre and mix the dough with a fork.
- Add the butter previously melted in a bain-marie, then pour in the milk and knead the dough with your hands until it is completely uniform and soft.
- Line with parchment paper a baking tray.
- Arrange the cookies on the baking tray either with a biscuit maker or simply by flattening with your hands small walnut size ball of dough.
- Bake the cookies for about 10 minutes until the edges are golden brown, then remove them from the oven and let them cool for a few minutes before moving the cookies onto a wire rack to cool completely.
- Serve the cookies during the coffee break dusted with plenty of icing sugar.