Almost brownies (chocolate biscotti)

by Patricia on March 4, 2009 · 8 comments

Sometimes I am inspired to bake: I walk into the kitchen and without any real thought, I have something coming out of the oven, be it cupcakes, brownies or bread. Other times though, I need to bake but have no direction. I don’t mean that I need a sweet treat to eat. I mean, I need to bake something… work with flour, butter, sugar to create something. Do you have days like that?
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On days when I feel that need but have no inspiration, I turn to experts like Dorie Greenspan. Baking: From My Home to Yours is such a thick and wonderful book filled, but there are so many recipes, it’s often difficult to find where to begin. I decided chocolate is always a good place to start. But I looked at brownies and thought “meh” (meh to brownies?! — I know, right?). I just wasn’t in the mood. I wanted to try something different. So I looked through the cookies and saw biscotti. But I don’t like biscotti. Of course, I have only had the rock hard biscotti you get at coffee shops which always leave me disappointed… unfulfilled even.

But instead of passing on the biscotti, I trusted Dorie and set aside my biscotti bias. I am so glad that I did. The results were like a brownie-cookie lovechild. I did have some difficulty with one of my biscotti logs falling apart. Well, it didn’t fall apart exactly so much as crumble profusely anytime I touched it. I think I took them out a little too early. I will bake them for the full 25 minutes next time (I can’t believe I’m actually a biscotti fan now).
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A little bit chewy, not too sweet. D. loved them (he even liked them without coffee which is saying a lot).

Chocolate Biscotti
(adapted from Baking: From My Home to Yours)

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tablespoons instant espresso powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup chopped almonds, blanched or unblanched
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
sugar, for dusting

1. Center a rack in the oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Sift together all dry ingredients.
3. In the bowl of a mixer, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until pale (about 2 minutes). Add the eggs and vanilla and beat another 2 minutes.
4. Reduce the mixer to low and mix in the dry ingredients in 3 additions, mixing only until a dough forms. Mix in the chocolate and nuts.
5. Turn the dough out onto a work surface and knead in any dry ingredients that tried to escape.
6. Divide the dough in half. Roll each half into a 12-inch long log. Flatten both logs with the palm of your hand so that they are 1/2 to 1 inch high, about 2 inches across and sort of rectangular.
7. Carefully put both logs onto a baking sheet (preferably lined with parchment but seemed to be okay without). Sprinkle each log with a little sugar.
8. Bake the logs for about 25 minutes (Don’t take them out too early or you’ll get a crumbly mess like me). Remove the baking sheet from the oven and place on a cooling rack for about 20 minutes.
9. Using a long serrated knife, cut each log into slices between 1/2 and 3/4 inch thick. Put the slices back on the baking sheet and bake again… about 10 minutes this time.
10. Cool biscotti on a rack. Pour yourself a cup of coffee and enjoy…

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Allison Day March 4, 2009 at 8:20 am

I normally am not a fan of biscotti either, but I did make these during the holidays at my mom’s request. (I made the almond ones that Dorie made, and also subbed in orange extract and pecans.) They were so good, my mom almost didn’t get any… Son couldn’t keep his hands off of them!

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2 Jennifer March 5, 2009 at 8:58 pm

Patricia, these sound great!!! I love dipping mine in hot latte! mmmmmmmm

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3 Jamieanne May 11, 2010 at 3:08 pm

I don’t have Dorie Greenspan’s book yet, but I plan on getting it soon. I’ve seen so many delicious recipes from her book on baking blogs! This biscotti looks amazing – I bought all the ingredients yesterday and am baking them today. I’m not a huge biscotti fan either, but from the way these look, I just may become one! :)

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