Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Recipe : Chocolate Biscotti

Another for the list of recipes that I really shouldn't share, just for the sake of having some secrets that will impress guests... but in this day of Google I suppose no one can really have a "secret" recipe anymore anyway, can they?

These turned out fabulous.  I was looking for something to make... yes, for the party... that would look impressive and be a nice munchy snack to go with coffee.  And I had a biscotti recipe in my stack of "try this someday" photocopies... voila!    I forget which cookbook this came from, to my shame... my apologies to the author.  It's from the chapter "Sweet Endings", page 155, and it's a dairy-free cookbook... but that's all I can tell you.  I've had sooooo many dairy-free cookbooks out lately that I've pretty much lost track of what came from where.  But anyway.  VERY yummy, VERY good for strutting your stuff, and surprisingly, both relatively easy and reasonably inexpensive!

The recipe calls for almond extract and sliced toasted almonds.  I didn't have either so I just used vanilla and they turned out absolutely fabulous.  The drizzle was just me showing off a little - it's melted semi-sweet chocolate, drizzled over the cookies with a writing tip.

Chocolate Biscotti

2 1/2 cups white flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted (optional)
3 tbsp margarine, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp almond extract (or vanilla)
3 large eggs

Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 325 degrees.

Combine the flour, baking powder and cocoa in a bowl and mix together with a whisk until well blended.  Add the almonds and stir to incorporate.

Using an electric mixer, cream together the margarine, sugar and almond extract at medium speed in a large bowl.  Add the eggs, and continue to beat until smooth, about 2 minutes.  Using a large spoon, stir the flour mixture into the creamed mixture until just combined.  Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface.  With floured hands, shape the dough into a log approximately 13 inches long by 2 1/2 inches wide and 1 inch thick.

Line an insulated baking sheet with parchment paper.  Transfer the log to the baking sheet.  Gently flatten and reshape the log so that it finishes at about 14 inches long by 3 inches wide and 3/4 inch thick.  (Taper the sides and make the ends flat for the best effect.)  Bake the log until it is dry and slightly firm to the touch. about 35 minutes.  Remove the pan from the oven and decrease the oven temperature to 275 degrees.  Allow the log to cool on the pan for about 15 minutes.

Carefully transfer the log to a cutting board and peel away the parchment paper.  With a serrated knife and using a sawing motion, cut the log into 3/4-inch-thick slices.  Place the slices on the baking sheet, cut side down, and bake until dry and crisp, about 35 minutes.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely, about 1 1/2 hours.  The biscotti will continue to harden as they cool.

Place the fully cooled cookies in an airtight container.  They will keep for up to one week.

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