Sunday, March 8, 2009

Chocolate Biscotti

Biscotti was an acquired taste for me. I generally prefer soft, chewy cookies and I am not a huge fan of some of the flavors that are traditionally used for biscotti, like anise. Thus, I steered clear of the biscotti that was sold in the myriad of Italian bakeries in the Long Island town in which I grew up. However, over the years, I became a little bit more adventurous and grew to like the satisfying crunch of biscotti. I drink my share of tea and coffee and there is very little more satisfying than biscotti dunked in an afternoon cup. It doesn't hurt that biscotti are a teensy tiny bit healthier than other cookies because most recipes do not require any butter.

I found this recipe on my favorite online dessert chef's, David Lebowitz, fabulous blog. I was sorely tempted to forego baking the cookies a second time to keep the cookies chewy. However, biscotti once-baked isn't really biscotti at all (biscotti refers to "twice-baked" in Italian). In the end, these biscotti were very tasty but perhaps a little too hard and, thus, I would reduce the amount of time for the second baking. It is worth noting that the dough is extremely stiff so it may take some work shaping it into logs. I again halved the recipe without a problem and I have reproduced the halved version below.

Chocolate Biscotti


1 cup flour
1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp top-quality cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
1 1/2 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp almond extract (I just used vanilla extract instead)
1/2 cup almonds, toasted and very coarsely-chopped (I omitted this because of my husband's nut allergies)
1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp chocolate chips

For the glaze

1/2 large egg
1 Tbsp coarse sugar


1. Preheat the oven to 350°F degrees.

2. In a small bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt.

3. In a large bowl, beat together the 1 1/2 eggs, sugar, and vanilla and almond extracts. Gradually stir in the dry ingredients, then mix in the nuts and the chocolate chips until the dough holds together.

4. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Roll the dough into one log the length of the baking sheet (I couldn't stretch mine quite so far).

5. Gently flatten the tops of the logs. Beat the remaining egg and brush the tops of the logs liberally with the egg. (You won't use it all). Sprinkle the tops with the coarse or crystal sugar and bake for 25 minutes, until the dough feels firm to the touch.

6. Remove the cookie dough from the oven and cool 15 minutes. On a cutting board, use a serrated bread knife to cut the cookies into 1/2-inches slices. Lay the cookies cut side down on baking sheets and return to the oven for 20 to 30 minutes (I would halve this time), turning the baking sheet midway during baking, until the cookies feel mostly firm.

Note: Once baked, cool the cookies completely then store in an airtight container for up to two weeks.

Makes 15 - 20 cookies.

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