Thursday, April 9, 2015

Dark Chocolate Biscotti: 3 Recipes

Today is National Almond Cookie Day, and for me that means Biscotti! Biscotti are twice baked Italian cookies, primarily almond cookies. After the dough is baked in a loaf, it is sliced and the slices (biscotti) are baked again. Biscotto means Biscuit or Cookie to us in the U.S., so Chocolate Biscotti are the best way to celebrate today's Almond Cookie Day! The root words "bis" and "cotto" literally mean "twice" and "baked." When Italians first created biscotti in Tuscany centuries ago, they were careful to bake the cookies twice, in order to form their unique shape and allow the cookies to develop their signature crisp texture.

Here are three great Dark Chocolate Biscotti recipes. Enjoy!

I. DARK CHOCOLATE BISCOTTI

Ingredients
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup sweet butter, softened
about 12 ounces of good dark chocolate, melted
3 eggs
1 tsp Madagascar vanilla
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup finely chopped almonds

Directions
Heat oven to 350°F
Combine sugar and butter in large bowl; beat at medium speed, scraping bowl often, until well mixed; Add 2 cups melted dark chocolate, eggs and vanilla; continue beating until well mixed.
Reduce speed to low; add flour, baking powder and salt; beat until well mixed; stir in nuts by hand.
Divide dough into three equal pieces. Shape each 1/3 into a 12 " long roll.
Place rolls 5 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet (you'll probably need 2 cookie sheets); flatten each roll to 2-inch width; bake for 25 minutes or until set.
Cool on cookie sheet 15 minutes.
Reduce oven temperature to 300°F; Cut rolls diagonally into 1/2-inch slices with serrated knife.
Place on cookie sheet, cut-side down; bake for 10 minutes; turn slices; continue baking for 12 to 15 minutes or until dry and crisp; cool completely.

I also found a recipe on Eggs on Sunday which is an adaptation of Dorie Greenspan's Baking from My Home to Yours biscotti recipe. Amy gives some tips for making these biscotti that also work with the recipe above. #1 She whisks all the dry ingredients together rather than sifting to break up lumps. She then creams together the butter and sugar for 2 minutes. (Butter should be room temperature).

Check out her Step-by-Step: My Favorite Chocolate Biscotti for helpful tips and great photos.

Tip from Amy: Since you're going to bake the logs whole and then cut them into individual biscotti, score the logs about halfway down before putting them in to bake! It makes it a lot easier and with much less cracking. Use this tip with the biscotti recipe above, too!

I've changed a few things in this recipe, too

II. DARK CHOCOLATE BISCOTTI

Ingredients
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (use a high grade dark cocoa)
2 Tbsp instant coffee or instant espresso powder (I keep some in the pantry for just this type of recipe)
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
6 Tbsp sweet butter, room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup chopped almonds
4 oz dark chocolate (70% organic/fair trade), coarsely chopped

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment or use silicone baking mat.
Whisk together flour, sugar, cocoa, coffee powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
With stand mixer, cream butter and sugar on medium speed about 2 minutes. Scrape down sides of bowl and add eggs and vanilla; beat for another 2 minutes. Decrease speed to low and mix in dry ingredients in 3 additions, mixing only until dough forms. Scrape down sides of the bowl and mix in chopped nuts and chocolate.
Turn dough out onto work surface and knead few times to pull dough together into ball. Divide into two portions; shape each portion into 12 x 2 inch log. Place each log on baking sheet. At this point, score log with knife where you plan to cut it into biscotti-- this helps to cut it later without it cracking. Bake for 25 minutes.
Remove sheet from oven and let cool on rack for 20 minutes. Then, slice logs diagonally into 3/4-inch thick slices and leave slices standing up on baking sheet. Return to oven for another 15 minutes of baking. (notice this is a different technique than the recipe above. If the slices are thinner, they won't stand up)
Transfer biscotti to a rack to cool.

3. TRIPLE CHOCOLATE BISCOTTI
This is Paula Shoyer's Triple Chocolate Biscotti recipe from The New Passover Menu cookbook. Paula wrote a guest post for DyingforChocolate on March 21, 2015. Be sure and read the entire post--and buy the Cookbook. Great recipes for Passover or any time!

Ingredients
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, broken into pieces
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
3 Tbsp vanilla sugar (see cookbook)
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 Tbsp potato starch
1 1/2 cups ground almonds (see cookbook)
1/4 tsp salt 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Line jelly roll pan or cookie sheet with parchment paper.
Melt chocolate. Remove chocolate from heat source, add sugar and oil, and whisk well. Add eggs and mix. Add vanilla sugar, cocoa, potato starch, ground almonds, and salt and mix well. Add chocolate chips and mix to distribute them.
Divide dough in half and shape into two loaves, each about 9 x 3 inches (23 x 7.5cm). Place both loaves on lined jelly roll pan and bake for 30 minutes. Let loaves cool for 10 minutes (do not turn off oven). Cut each loaf crosswise into 3/4 - to 1-inch-thick slices. Place cookies, cut side up, on  parchment-covered cookie sheet (or jelly roll pan again). Bake for another 14 minutes, or until  cookies are firm to touch on outside but still feel soft on tinside. Check  after 10 to 12 minutes so that you don’t overbake.
Read more about technique and ingredients HERE.

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