Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Chocolate Almond Biscotti


Normally I wouldn't bake cookies again for awhile, because I made cookies for Todd, our son-in-law, a few days ago. He likes soft cookies. Although the almond-cranberry cookies I made were nice enough, they don't make my heart sing. They're soft. He, however, loves them. AND, he told me last night that his cookies are all gone already.

I, on the other hand, prefer crisp and crunchy. So when I spied the photo of these Chocolate-Almond Biscotti over at Acme Instant Food, they called out to me. They're low in fat (with only 6 tablespoons of butter in the full recipe) and rich in chocolate and almond flavor. These are really cinchy to make. I kid you not. Just have everything at room temp when you begin, and you'll have these in the oven in about 10 minutes. They do bake for 35 minutes, cool for another 15 (then you slice them carefully), then bake again for another 10 minutes. That's less than an hour.

These get their chocolate flavor from both cocoa powder and chocolate chunks or chips, so they're truly chocolate-y. They also keep well, and would travel well too.
I certainly don't know about the cooking experience level of my loyal readers, but if you've never made biscotti, there are just a couple of things you need to know. You make a dough-type cookie batter. Usually, the stickier the better since you don't want the resulting cookies to be too heavy (read: hard) so you can't even eat them unless you dunk them in coffee or tea. But, making them too wet and sticky is next to impossible to manipulate (roll) into logs. A happy medium is what you're looking for. These were quite easy to mold, although I did have some difficulty with the crumble factor once they did their first baking, as Kevin mentions in the recipe.

Biscotti are drier to begin with - you bake them in logs (pictured above) until they're more than "cooked," then you allow them to cool some so you can handle the logs. Then you cut them into longer sticks. They must be thick enough to hold together, but this is always the tricky step for me.

One great helpful hint from Keven, though, that I'd never tried before, was to use a serrated knife only to cut through the crust, then use a flat bladed knife to finish the "cut." That worked like a charm. Then you bake them a bit longer to completely dry them out. Cool, package and store in plastic bags for a few days (or a tin) or freeze. These cookies have a very nice deep chocolate flavor. Satisfies my chocolate cravings and my desire for crispy/crunch cookies.

Chocolate Almond Biscotti
Recipe: Acme Instant Food (blog), adapted from epicurious.com
Servings: 28
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs -- room temperature
1 cup almonds -- unsalted, sliced
3/4 cups semisweet chocolate -- chopped
1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (or butter and flour).
2. Whisk flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt together in a bowl.
3. Using electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until creamed and very fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating until well combined. Slowly stir in flour mixture to form a stiff dough. Stir in almonds and chopped chocolate. Divide dough in half. Form each half into a log about 2 inches wide and lay on prepared sheet. Remold if necessary on sheet and flatten the logs slightly. Bake for 35 minutes or until outside feels firm.
4. Remove sheet from oven but leave oven on. Let logs cool on sheet for 15 minutes. Transfer biscotti to a cutting board.
5. Using serrated knife, gently slice logs diagonally into roughly 1/2 inch slices. If crumbling is a problematic, use serrated knife to "saw" just through outer crust and then use a very sharp (non-serrated) knife to slice through--using a motion straight from the top down. Arrange cut biscotti on their side on baking sheet and return to oven for an additional 10 minutes, or until crisp. Once cool, you may optionally dip half of each biscotti into melted dark or white chocolate.
Per Serving: 142 Calories; 7g Fat (42.5% calories from fat); 3g Protein; 19g Carbohydrate; 1g Dietary Fiber; 22mg Cholesterol; 128mg Sodium. Exchanges: 1/2 Grain(Starch); 0 Lean Meat; 1 1/2 Fat; 1/2 Other Carbohydrates.
To view a PDF recipe, click title at top.

4 comments:

Kate said...

Oh man, I just love biscotti! I made a batch of orange almond ones at Christmas a few years ago. They were delish!!

Acme Instant Food said...

I'm glad that you enjoyed them! The crumbling issue is the only obstacle I encounter when making any type of biscotti. However, when the inevitible happens and a cookie crumbles (hahaha) I simply eat it and then continue on as if nothing happened. These travel VERY well and I've shipped them to people across the country at Christmas. Everyone reported that they arrived intact and tasty.

Anonymous said...

I think next time I make these I'm going to cut down on the flour a bit and see if I can make them a bit less crumbly. It's worth trying. You can always ADD more flour, but you can't take it away.
Carolyn T

Deborah said...

MMmmm biscotti...
When I first got married, my father in law insisted on teaching me how to make these for myself. He scoffed at the ones sold at "that coffee place" (Starbucks, duh). They are sooo much better fresh!