25 homemade holiday gift recipes: Hazelnut biscotti

Hazelnut biscotti, 1 of 25 homemade holiday gift ideas from the L.A. Times Test Kitchen

A great recipe from former Test Kitchen director Donna Deane, who writes: "Most holiday cookies are high in fat and calories. Biscotti are a light alternative. I've made these biscotti even lighter than usual by using egg whites and egg substitute. But the combination of dried cherries and hazelnuts, with a touch of orange and chocolate, makes them taste rich."

Hazelnut biscotti is just one way to get crafty this holiday season with homemade gifts from the kitchen. We've compiled 25 great ideas, ranging from quick and simple gifts (perfect if you're working with kids) to more intricate projects that call for a little extra time and patience.

Some gifts will last for weeks, perhaps more. Others are best eaten within a day or two.

Not only are homemade gifts a great way to save money during the holiday season, they're a thoughtful and creative way to show how much you care.


Total time: 1 hour 20 minutes | Makes 32 biscotti.

Note: Some gourmet markets sell peeled hazelnuts. Or toast raw hazelnuts on a baking sheet at 350 degrees until lightly browned, shaking sheet occasionally, about 15 minutes. Gather nuts in kitchen towel and rub together to remove skins.

    2 tablespoons butter
    1 1/2 cups sugar
    2 egg whites
    1/4 cup egg substitute
    2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    1/4 teaspoon hazelnut extract
    1/2 cup dried cherries
    1/2 cup peeled, chopped toasted hazelnuts
    1/2 teaspoon grated orange zest
    3 cups flour
    1 tablespoon baking powder
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    Nonstick cooking spray
    2 (3 1/2-ounce) bars semisweet chocolate

1. Beat butter until creamy. Beat in sugar then egg whites, egg substitute, vanilla and hazelnut extracts. Stir in cherries, nuts and zest.

2. Combine flour, baking powder and salt. Stir into batter until blended.

3. Divide dough in half. Pat each half into a 12-inch log on a baking sheet sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Flatten each log to 1 inch thick. Bake at 375 degrees until lightly browned, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool on rack, then slice logs diagonally into 1/2-inch slices. Reduce oven to 325 degrees and bake biscotti slices until lightly browned and crispy, 15 to 20 minutes.

4. Heat chocolate in double boiler set over, but not touching, simmering water until chocolate is melted. Dip one side of each biscotti into chocolate and put on wire rack to harden.

Each biscotti: 174 calories; 94 mg sodium; 2 mg cholesterol; 4 grams fat; 33 grams carbohydrates; 2 grams protein; 0.48 gram fiber.

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