12.28.2010

Chocolate Biscotti with Variations

This year in anticipation of several holiday parties and visits with friends I made a dozen batches of biscotti. My two favorite combinations were chocolate-chocolate chip and chocolate mint dipped in candy canes.
Biscotti wrapped in packages of four for our neighbors
This is my third  year making biscotti for Christmas, but I wanted to try a new recipe and it ended up taking a few tries to find the right one. I started with a Martha Stewart recipe that I thought I had used successfully before and ended up with dry, brittle bricks. Annie's-Eats version ended up the winner. They are appropriately hard for good into-cocoa dipping, but not dry and the addition of espresso powder gives them a full, deep chocolate flavor. I'm addicted.

This recipe makes a lot of biscotti; it can be halved if you want fewer.
Chocolate Biscotti with Variations
makes enough to share, total number of biscotti depend on how you cut them

1 1/2 sticks (12 T.) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
4 cups flour
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 c. instant espresso powder
1 1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. baking powder
2 t. salt
3 cups chocolate chips, mint chips, white chocolate chips, or some variation of chocolate and nuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
1. In a stand mixer, beat together sugar and butter until well combined, the mixture may be crumbly. Add eggs and vanilla, beating well for a few minutes. The mixture may never become smooth, but this doesn't matter.
2. Sift together dry ingredients and slowly add to the butter mixture, mixing until just combined.
3. Add your choice of mix-ins, stirring until combined.
4. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and lightly flour your hands. Split the dough into four equal parts and create four logs about 10" long. The dough will be sticky so try not to handle it too much.
5. Place logs onto two cookie sheets lined with a silpat or parchment paper. Space the logs evenly apart leaving plenty of room for spreading, at least 4 inches from each other.
6. Flatten logs ever so slightly, to about 1 inch high.
7. Bake logs for 25 minutes, or just a bit longer until they are firm in the center and cracking. You don't want them to be rock hard, but some ovens will require 5-10 extra minutes.
8. Remove from the oven and cool for 15 minutes, leaving oven on.
9. Slice each log on a slight diagonal in 1/2" to 1" wide slices. Arrange slices on the cookie sheets with cut sides down/up.
10. Return to the oven for 10 minutes, until centers are firm, but not rock hard. Cool on a wire rack.

To decorate with candy canes, melt 12 oz. of dark chocolate in a double boiler. Put a dozen candy canes in a ziplock bag and crush them coarsely with a rolling pin. Dip the ends of the biscotti in the chocolate and then roll in the candy cane pieces. Place on a silpat or parchment paper to cool and harden. I dipped just the tops and sides of the ends so there would be no chocolate underneath to melt onto a napkin when served with cocoa or coffee, which happens to be how I've been eating these every single day for weeks.

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