An Army of Chocolate Biscotti …

Biscotti1

At least that’s what Dorie calls the biscotti as you lay them out on the pan for their second baking. But that’s getting ahead of the story. Biscotti were not my favorite things to eat, that is until a good friend of mine, L, made some and they were nothing like the store bought or coffee shop ones that I have had. All I remember is her saying that most biscotti recipes don’t have enough eggs in it. Her biscotti were chunky and chock full of flavor but not too much to overpower the coffee that it was meant to be dunked in. We were going to get together for her to teach me that recipe but our schedules seemed out of sync lately; in the meantime the “hungry” hubby was pestering me to make them. Just earlier this week, Nick Malgieri was at our local Sur La Table to teach “Perfect Chocolate Desserts” and I was one of the lucky ones to register early and snag a seat in the class. He was so much fun and the class was lively. Unfortunately, some of his recipes were the low fat version and I could definitely taste the difference. He did teach a chocolate biscotti recipe and I was able to see how he made them which gave me the confidence to attempt it.

            I think the alignment of the stars could not have been more perfect for making biscotti. Just this week a couple of bloggers got together to make the biscotti from Dorie Greenspan’s book “Baking: From my Home to Yours”. Brilynn of Jumbo Empanadas, Ivonne from Cream Puffs in Venice, Peabody from Culinary Concoctions by Peabody, Lis from La Mia Cucina and Helene from Tartlette, all conspired to bake the biscotti and post on the same day of the week. How cool is that! And to top it off, Dorie’s book was one of my cookbook purchase last month so I do not have any excuse not to make it. The recipe below is what is directly from the book. The asterisk (*) on the eggs is what I have changed and can be referenced in the Cooking Notes section of this post.

2 cups all-purpose flour  (220g)

½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder (60g)

2 tbs     instant espresso powder (28.5g)

¾ tsp baking soda     (3.6g)

½ tsp baking powder (2.3g)

1 tsp salt (4.75g)

¾ stick unsalted butter (6 tbs) at room temperature   (85g)

1 cup sugar (225g)

* 2 large eggs, lightly beaten   

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (5ml)

1 cup chopped almonds, blanched or unblanched     (230g)

4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped   (113.5g)

Sugar for dusting

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 °F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat.

Sift together the flour, cocoa, espresso powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt.

            Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar together on medium speed until pale, about 2 minutes; the mixture may be crumbly. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the eggs and vanilla and beat for another 2 minutes; don’t worry if the mixture looks curdled. Reduce the mixer speed to low and mix in the dry ingredients in 3 additions, mixing only until a dough forms. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Mix in the chopped nuts and chocolate, then turn the dough out onto a work surface and kneed in any dry ingredients that might have escaped mixing.

            Divide the dough in half. Working with one half at a time, roll the dough into 12-inch long logs. Flatten both logs with the palm of your hand, so that they are about ½  to 1 inch high, about 2 inches across and sort of rectangular, then carefully lift the logs onto the baking sheet. Sprinkle each log with a little sugar.

            Bake the logs for about 25 minutes, or until they are just slightly firm. The logs will spread and crack – and that’s just fine. Remove the baking sheet from the oven, put it on a cooling rack and cool the logs for about 10 minutes. (Leave the oven on).

            Working with one log at a time, using a long serrated knife, cut each log into slices between ½ and ¾ inch thick. Stand the slices up on the baking sheet – you will have an army of biscotti and bake the cookies again, this time for just 10 minutes.

            Transfer the biscotti to a rack and cool.

COOKING NOTES:

            The only change I made to the recipe is using three eggs instead of the two it called for.  Also, I weighed the divided dough to make sure my logs are approximately the same size so they would cook evenly. From Nick Malgieri’s class I learned that letting the biscotti cool down enough will prevent crumbs when slicing it; also starting to cut from the middle of the log and cutting on the diagonal yields a better looking biscotti.  I think I will try and go with 4 eggs next time to see how far I can take it. I would also make the chunks of almonds bigger and use more of it. This biscotti turned out better than I ever imagined (“hungry” hubby nods in approval) and I’m sure it is the traditional way this cookie should look and taste but my friend L’s biscotti is still in the back of my mind and hopefully that is the next recipe for biscotti that I am going to try.

Biscotti2