Chocolate Biscotti with Just the Right Amount of Kick.
Biscotti, especially chocolate biscotti, is one of those things that I always wish I had around but rarely do. I’m not sure why I don’t make it more often. It’s simple to make, has a really long shelf life and can make your afternoon coffee break something that you have to actually take a break for. That’s right. It’s called a coffee break. It’s a chance to stop whatever you’re doing, sit down, breath. Drink your coffee. Dunk your biscotti.
The first time I ever tried biscotti was after purchasing Maida Heatter’s Brand-New Book of Great Cookies. I was probably 22 and still in the infatuation stage of my passionate love affair with baking. I dove into Maida’s cookbook with abandon, baking batch after batch of all sorts of different kinds of cookies. And as it turns out, what she says in the beginning of the book is true…
“Happiness is baking cookies.”
At the time, I’d never actually even heard of biscotti. But, Maida had included a handful of recipes, so I made a batch. And then I made another. And another. Until I had baked every version of biscotti in her book. I was a little obsessed. I started baking them for gifts. My father-in-law loved them so much that I made a whole bunch for him for Christmas several years in a row. We always had some around the house. Everywhere we went, I brought biscotti.
And then, for some reason, I just stopped making them. I don’t know why… most likely I became obsessed with baking something else. Like cake with Italian Meringue Buttercream.
Regardless, last week I purchased a new cookie cookbook – Cookie Love by Mindy Segal. Inside were several recipes for biscotti, including one for chocolate biscotti with chunks of toffee. Of course, I had to make some right away.
I was halfway in to making Mindy’s Chocolate Biscotti when I realized that I didn’t have toffee or bourbon, or the right amount of milk chocolate. And going to the grocery store for the thousandth time that week just wasn’t going to happen. So I started substituting. More bittersweet chocolate to replace some of the milk chocolate. Cognac for the bourbon. And candied almonds spiked with cayenne pepper to replace the toffee.
The result is a not-too-sweet chocolate biscotti with an unexpected kick. Trust me. It’s everything you want in a cookie (or a man) – just enough spice to keep it interesting.
I’m still going to make Mindy’s original recipe…. along with every other recipe in her book. Because, it’s amazing. You should make these chocolate biscotti, for sure. But you should also run out and by Cookie Love.
One other suggestion: You might want to make extra spiced candied almonds because you will most certainly eat some. You know, just to try them. Just a little taste. Making extra (perhaps a lot extra) means that you will still have some to put into the biscotti dough.Print
Chocolate biscotti with both dark and milk chocolate and cayenne candied almonds that give them a surprisingly pleasant kick!
FOR THE SPICY CANDIED ALMONDS:
- 1 cup blanched slivered almonds
- 2 tbsp granulated sugar
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- 3/4 tsp salt
FOR THE BISCOTTI
- 1/2 cup butter at room temperature
- 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
- 2 large eggs plus 1 large egg yolk
- 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp cognac
- 2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup cocoa powder
- 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 cupgood quality milk chocolate, chopped into pea size chunks
- 1 cup good quality dark chocolate (at least 60% cocoa), chopped into pea size chunks
- 1 egg white, slightly beaten
- Granulated sugar for sprinkling
TO MAKE THE SPICY CANDIED ALMONDS:
- Put the slivered almonds, sugar, butter, cayenne and salt into a skillet over medium high heat. Stirring constantly, cook until the sugar has melted and the almonds are golden. The pan will start to smoke. That’s ok. The slightly burnt butter and sugar adds a delicious smoky-sweet flavor to the almonds.
- Pour the almonds in a single layer onto a plate and let cool completely before breaking apart into small chunks.
TO MAKE THE BISCOTTI:
- In a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes.
- Combine the eggs, egg yolk, vanilla and cognac in a small bowl and whisk with a fork to combine. Add egg mixture to the butter in 2 additions, beating at medium speed after each addition to combine. The eggs will not combine completely – when the mixture is mostly combined but looks slightly like cottage cheese, you’re good.
- In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Re-fit the standing mixer with the paddle attachment. Add the flour mixture to the butter-egg mixture and beat on low speed until just combined. The dough will be very stiff.
- Mix in the in the chocolate and almonds with your hands.
- Pat the dough into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap, and place in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours, or overnight.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Remove the dough from the refrigerator and divide into two equal pieces. Roll each half into a log that is nearly the same length as the baking sheet – about 12 inches long. Transfer the logs to the baking sheet and pat down until they are about 2 inches thick.
- Brush the tops of the logs with the egg white and sprinkle with granulated sugar.
- Bake for about 35 minutes, until the tops of the logs are firm to the touch. Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack for at least 20 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 300 degrees.
- Transfer the logs to a cutting board and slice diagonally, with a serrated knife, into 1/2 inch thick biscotti. Place each biscotti back on the baking sheet side by side with the cut sides facing out. Bake for another 30 minutes, until the edges are completely dry, but the center is still slightly soft.
- Cool completely on the pan. Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.
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