Friday, October 28, 2011

Chocolate Biscotti

I seem to be on a biscotti jag lately. I love the crisp crunchy dry texture that begs for a good cup of steaming hot coffee or cappuccino. I love their rustic nature and the fact that most recipes have a lower sugar content and very little to no butter. And secured in an airtight container, they will last for quite a long time. Biscotti also make great gifts on any occasion.

This recipe comes from David Lebovitz, a pastry chef who’s earned everyone’s good trust with several terrific cookbooks over the years. These biscotti have a delicious depth of flavor from the use of good quality cocoa powder. That flavor is deepened with the addition of chocolate chips or chopped chocolate. The texture is also beautifully enhanced with chocolate’s soul mate, toasted almonds.

Although I didn’t take the extra step, David says he sometimes smears one side of the baked biscotti with melted dark chocolate. That, of course, would take these cookies into the realm of chocolate nirvana.

Bench notes:
- Since there’s a lot of cocoa powder in this recipe, use a good quality one, either natural or Dutch process.
- The dough may seem like it won’t hold together. Just gently press it into shape and it bakes off beautifully. I form the logs directly on the prepared baking sheet rather than trying to pick them up and transfer them from another surface.
- Use a sawing motion with a good serrated knife to slice the biscotti after the first baking. This will help prevent breakage.
- If you want your biscotti extra-crisp, turn each one over half-way through the second baking.
- Biscotti aficionados would also enjoy Classic Biscotti from Chez Panisse and Tish Boyle’s Triple Ginger Pecan Biscotti.

Chocolate Biscotti

adapted from David Lebovitz
Makes about 50 cookies

2 C flour
3/4 C cocoa powder
1 t baking soda
1/4 t salt
3 eggs @ room temperature
1 C sugar
1 t vanilla
1/2 t almond extract
1 C almonds, toasted and coarsely-chopped
3/4 C chocolate chips [I used chopped bittersweet chocolate]

For the glaze
1 egg
2 T coarse or raw sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silpat.

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

In a separate bowl, beat together the 3 eggs, sugar, vanilla and almond extracts. Gradually stir in the dry ingredients. Add the nuts and chocolate chips until the dough holds together.

Divide the dough in half. Place on the prepared baking sheet and form each half into a log about 14” long and about 2” apart from each other. Gently flatten the tops of the logs.

Beat the remaining egg and brush it on top of the logs (you won’t use it all). Sprinkle with coarse or raw sugar and bake for about 25 minutes or until the dough feels firm to the touch. Remove from the oven and cool 15 minutes.

Place each cooled biscotti log on a cutting board. Using a serrated bread knife, slice 1/2” cookies on a diagonal. Lay the cookies cut side down on baking sheets. Return to the oven for 20 - 30 minutes, rotating the baking sheets halfway though baking, until the cookies feel mostly firm.

Cool the cookies completely. Store in an airtight container for up to two weeks.


declaratii fiscale said...

This recipe sounds very good and i think it is delicious and it fits perfect with my taste. My opinion is that this isn`t a very hard recipe so i will try it very soon, thanks a lot for sharing.

Victoria said...

I'm going to make these on Saturday.

I can almost hear them crunch. They look dangerously easy to gobble down.

Do you use unblanched almonds or not?

pastry studio said...

declaratii fiscale, these are pretty fast and easy to make, with big reward!

Victoria, I stick with rustic and use regular whole toasted almonds. Go for the melted chocolate embellishment! Hope you enjoy them.

Victoria said...

I love and use almonds in their skins in my linzertorte and in a carrot cake I adapted from Marcella Hazan because they add such a lovely color to the baked confection.

It is very cold here today. The temperature dropped twenty degrees during the day yesterday, so we were all warm and comfortable on the way the work and miserably freezing on the way home. The good thing was that when I got to my apartment last night, the heat was blasting; even the wooden floors were toasty. But I sure could have used one of these delectable-looking biscotti with a double espresso.

Lemon and almond are delicious together; so are raspberry and vanilla; but there isn't anything BETTER than coffee and chocolate, is there?

pastry studio said...

That is a really extreme temperature shift. It's still nice weather here but will change soon. Never gets very hot or very cold here but we do get some wind and a fair share of rain.

I'm with you on the almonds. I never used the blanched variety. I think coffee and chocolate are right up there on the supremely pleasurable experience spectrum!

Stay warm!!

beti said...

I really like how each piece of biscotti has a huge amount of almonds, I didn't knew they were this easy to make the only problem is that my mom is allergic to almonds so I'll try them with pistachios :)

Mary Bergfeld said...

I really have to try this recipe. I've seen it before but your photos make it a must try. This is my first visit to your blog, so I took some time to browse through your earlier posts. I'm so glad I did that. I really like the food and recipes you share with your readers and I'll definitely be back. I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary

pastry studio said...

betty and Mary, hello and welcome! Hope you have a chance to enjoy these. Simple and delicious.

Beth said...

I'm definitely trying these. They look absolutely gorgeous. Do you think adding a little espresso powder could be a good adaptation? I have some in the freezer begging for more uses.

pastry studio said...

Beth, YES! I'd be very tempted to add at least a couple of teaspoons. Thanks for the suggestion and hope you enjoy them!

The Food Hunter said...

Oh Boy do they look good!!

Nancy said...

The biscottis are in the oven as I typed this (the second bake after they were sliced). Do you know why the logs were cracked (when they were being baked) and when I cooled and sliced them, the sides broke a little. Was it because I whipped the eggs and sugar too much (I used a KA whipped attachment for 5 minutes). I didn't have this problem with your other biscotti recipe that was adapted from Chez Panisse. Thanks again for posting the recipe. As always they taste delicious!

pastry studio said...

Hi, Nancy, and thanks for your comment and question. Not sure if you mean your logs appear more cracked on top than mine as they appear in these photos? The method for this recipe is different than the other recipe for Classic Italian biscotti. For this recipe, the eggs, sugar, vanilla and almond extracts are simply beaten together until combined, not ribboned. Not sure if that may have affected your outcome as it would result in a different texture. I do hope you're able to enjoy them nevertheless!!

Nancy said...

Thank you! I beat the eggs, sugar, vanilla and almond extracts until they were ribboned. That must have caused the crack (mine was more and at the lower part of the logs). The texture came out a bit different (it's a little more like cake but not too much). But we enjoyed them nevertheless. I'll try this recipe again soon.

Beth said...

I just pulled these from the oven and they are delicious. I added dried cherries since I had them on hand. Next time I'll add the espresso.

pastry studio said...

Beth, it's such a pleasure to see how these turned out for you. Fantastic photo. Thanks very much for your feedback.