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Food

Podcast Cookies: Chocolate-Studded Almond Biscotti

Posted by Amie / August 2, 2010

BiscottiDid you listen to this week's podcast and hate the talk about biscotti because you couldn't have any? Well now you can. What Jeremy and Greg don't know is I've secretly been posting podcast recipes all along. All you need to do is hunt back to earlier recipes, like the Salt Cod Cassoulet recipe and the corresponding week's podcast to discover that all the podcasted deliciousness can be yours. As good as the salt cod was, the brownie recipe at the bottom of the post is probably even better, MAYBE even better than what was eaten on the podcast. Maybe.

From there, if you stumble back a few weeks in podcast history you may also discover a scone recipe with some butter tips for Greg et al.

It's too late to sneak pants-full of biscotti into Osheaga, but there are tons of other Montreal events that you can sneak these cookies into, or, you know, bring them legally. Some places' cookie regulations probably aren't as strict. "Biscotti" means twice-baked in Italian, so these cookies are supposed to be rock-hard. They're meant for dipping in coffee or espresso, but if you like crunch, try them with yogurt, cream, or ice cream. Do as you like, including eating one after the first baking time when they're still soft, and then eating after the second baking time when they're just a little harder...and then eating one once they've cooled and reached their final cookie state.

Chocolate-Studded Almond Biscotti
:
2 cups flour*
1 tsp baking soda
1 square of bittersweet baking chocolate, grated (the amount is up to you. More or less is fine, but a little goes a long way)
1/4 tsp salt**
2 eggs (or egg substitute)
3/4 cup cane sugar (or regular refined white sugar)
1 tbsp molasses (or 1/2 cup cane sugar and 1/2 cup brown sugar instead of 3/4 cup cane sugar and 1 tbsp molasses)***
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup ground, toasted, blanched almonds (for more info on toasting nuts, check out my bittersweet chocolate truffle hazelnut mousse torte recipe****

Directions:
1. Toast and grind the almonds and set them aside. This will turn ho-hum biscotti into exceptional biscotti. You will be a biscotti master****

2. Whisk the flour, salt, baking soda and grated chocolate in a bowl. Grating the chocolate is a little annoying since you want to grate it very finely, but this way it spreads throughout the entire cookie batter, making every bite chocolate-y. You could also coarsely chop the chocolate but then you don't get chocolate in every bite. Have patience with your grater.

3. In a large mixing bowl beat the eggs with the sugar and vanilla. You're not going for perfect cake texture so just beat until everything seems pretty well-combined. No need to drag this out.

4. Stir in the flour until combined (you can also beat it in if you don't mind flour flying everywhere), and then add the toasted and ground nuts and stir (don't beat).

5. Place your oven rack in the bottom third of the oven. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.

6. Line a large cookie tray with aluminum foil or parchment paper (or butter or grease it). Shape the cookie dough into three long logs on the tray. These don't have to be high mounds. They end up looking more like planting rows in a garden than logs. They're supposed to go lengthwise and stay about 2 1/2 inches apart, but if your cookie sheet isn't big enough for that you can either use a second cookie sheet or just keep them as far apart as possible. These don't have to be gorgeous cookies, and if they flow into each other from being too close together, well, you can probably live with that.

7. Bake for 35 minutes. This is where the fun starts. Like I said, biscotti means "twice-baked" in Italian (it also just means "cookie". Not so much into the oatmeal raisin thing, Italians) so this is only the first baking stage.

8. After 35 minutes take the baking sheet(s) out of the oven but leave the oven on. Peel the logs off the aluminum foil, and place them on a rack or a plate to cool for 10 minutes. If they've become stuck together, carefully slice them back apart. They should be fairly cooperative since they're still a little soft.

9. Slice the logs width-wise into 1/2 inch slices. You can slice them along the diagonal if you want to make the slices longer, but straight across works just fine.***** I suppose you could even cut them lengthwise if you wanted to make joke-biscotti. Not too many people would get the joke, but I'd think it was hilarious.

10. You should have a whole lot of little once-baked biscotti now (yes, that's an oxy-moron). Put the cookies directly on the oven racks. Line them up so there's no way they'll fall through the grill rack and bake for 20-25 more minutes. Be VERY careful to not burn yourself when placing the biscotti. If you tend to burn yourself when you reach into a hot oven you can opt for the fussier way of doing this: arrange the biscotti slices on two baking sheets and bake them for 6 minutes. Then rotate the pans - turn each one around and switch the places of the two cookie sheets. Bake for 6 more minutes. Now take the pans out of the oven and turn over each biscotti slice. Return to the oven to bake for 6 more minutes. Then rotate the pans again and finally bake for a final 6-11 minutes. Yes, it's more of a fuss, but you might not burn yourself.

So what's the deal with the whole 20-25 minute thing (6-11 if you do the whole cookie sheet rotation bit)? Some ovens are hotter than others, so your cookies might need more time. There's no point making biscotti just to end up with soft cookies (so many women have been disappointed by this). So a trick to know if your biscotti are ready to be taken out (assuming they're not burning, in which case it's high time they come out) is to take one cookie out when your timer goes and leave the rest in for another minute or 2. After 2 minutes your cookie should be cool enough to test. If it's satisfactorily crunchy then you can take all the cookies out. If not, leave them all in there for another minute. Repeat test procedure. This can get dangerous, for both the tongue and waistline. Don't rush the testing or you'll burn your mouth, but call it quits when the sugar rush kicks in. It shouldn't go longer than 5 minutes, this whole "extra baking time" business.

11. Cool the cookies completely before storing. If they get stored while they're still hot they'll soften up. Because there's no butter in these cookies and they're so dry, they last for WEEKS at room temperature in a sealed container. Or not.


*All-purpose flour is just fine, as is whole wheat, but I used my gluten-free flour blend which worked perfectly because the cookies didn't need to rise very much and I didn't want them to have a smooth texture

**I used fleur de sel so the little salt rocks explode in the bites where your teeth find them

***White sugar is just refined brown sugar - the nutrients of the molasses are taken out of it in the refining process - and brown sugar has a little more molasses left in it (that's what gives it the brown colour). So adding molasses back into the white sugar is essentially turning it back into the equivalent of brown sugar, though it's not really possible to "un-refine" it.

****The quickest way to toast and grind these guys is to buy pre-branched almonds, stick them on a baking sheet or in the toaster oven on 350 degrees Fahrenheit until they become aromatic (not burnt...just fragranty nutty). You don't really even need to turn them over half way through, but you can if you want. They should take only about 5 minutes or so, so set a timer and don't forget about them. Then grind them in a blender or a clean coffee grinder (though leftover coffee or espresso grounds would be a really nice addition to the recipe, so maybe consider not cleaning your grinder beforehand. Just a note about pre-blanched almonds: it's a little annoying to blanch natural almonds yourself, but it can be done simply with baking soda. By doing it yourself you can at least be sure that no scary chemicals were added to remove the nut skins, a technique that is often used to process nuts in factories.

*****The biscotti you see in coffee shops are ridiculously long and are the equivalent of about 3 biscotti. That's maybe not what you're aiming for, but even so, these biscotti do become prettier when cut diagonally.

Discussion

5 Comments

rachel / January 9, 2012 at 06:52 am
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i tryed and didnt work well so it was bas but thnks
http://www.youtube.com/ / December 4, 2013 at 11:01 pm
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www.youtube.com / June 10, 2016 at 03:22 pm
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Yes! Finally something about gold watches.

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