Dry hazelnut biscuits

These dry biscuits – their full name being ‘Tozzetti con nocciole Monti Cimini’ - are a typical and traditional dessert from Viterbo. These biscuits, crispy and delicious, reminiscent of their famous cousins from Tuscany ‘cantucci’, are distinguished by the exclusive use of roasted hazelnuts which give them a unique and delicious flavour. The hazelnut Monti Cimini is in fact a nut renowned for its rounded shape and delicate aroma, and is in fact known as the ‘kind Roman’. Hazelnuts have been used since ancient times by the Romans, and this sweet comes from the ancient culinary tradition of Lazio. The preparation of these cookies is not time consuming, and the result pays off straight after the first taste. Although every family hands down their own recipe, which may also include the addition of liqueurs or other ingredients as desired, classic ‘tozzetti’ have simply a mixture of sugar, eggs, lemon, baking powder, oil, hazelnuts, and flour that we have faithfully followed in this recipe. These biscuits will delight your guests after a meal, for breakfast or as a snack. They are ideal even as a Christmas gift, especially if accompanied by vin santo, with which their flavour goes perfectly.

Ingredients

  • plain flour 1000 grams
  • oil 200 grams
  • eggs 6 units
  • sugar 600 grams
  • hazelnuts 600 grams Peeled
  • yeast 15g baking powder
  • lemon
Information
20 minutes Total time
15 minutes Active time
Serves 6 persons
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Preparation

Prepare all the ingredients. Finely grate the zest of a lemon. Break the eggs into a large bowl, add the caster sugar and olive oil and mix. Stir in the baking powder and lemon zest. Roughly chop the toasted hazelnuts, leaving some whole. Combine the nuts with egg mixture. Gradually add the flour. Mix well and knead the dough until you have smooth and soft consistency. With your hands, form the dough into loaves a few cm wide and 10-15 cm long and place on baking paper. Bake for about 20 minutes at 180 °C until lightly browned. Make vertical slices about 2cm thick whilst the ‘tozzetti’ are still hot and put them back in the oven to crisp them up slightly – just for a few minutes. Serve the ‘tozzetti’ once cooled, accompanied by a glass of vin santo.

Tips
If the dough is too hard you could possibly add a little milk or liqueur to taste. The oil gives a lightness to the dough.
Trivia
The ‘Tozzetti’ of Viterbo are prepared both by ordinary families and in the local workshops and bakeries of Viterbo, to be shipped around the world where they are always greatly sought after.

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