See Sister Bake: Chocolate Biscotti

I had a very lazy Saturday. I had grand plans to get a lot of little things done around the flat; to clean my bathroom; to take care of some personal admin; etc. etc. Instead, I slept until 11:30 and then lazed around watching the penultimate day of Olympics competition, drinking coffee, slowly waking up. But round about 2:00, I did manage to do one semi-productive thing: I made biscotti.

I’ve really gotten into biscotti recently. I kind of feel like it’s one of those things that I can only really appreciate as an adult. When I tried it as a kid/teenager, I just thought, “Ugh! Why is this cookie so dry and brittle? It hurts my mouth!” As an adult, I realize that biscotti is meant to be enjoyed with a cup of coffee (or another hot beverage, but coffee is really best). This bone dry treat should be dunked (briefly) into hot liquid, instantly absorbing all the moisture it lacks and softening into a tasty, not-overly-sweet morsel. Delish.

I made my first biscotti a couple months ago; it was almond, white chocolate and cranberry. I had in mind that it would be really challenging to make. Anything that has to be baked twice seems like it’s going to be a palaver. But it’s actually SUPER easy. In fact, when I realized how remarkably easy it is to make, I decided I could get used to having it around the flat on the regular. It’s a perfect mid-morning snack on the weekends or a late afternoon pick-me-up on a dreary work day.

So on Saturday, I decided to satisfy a baking itch with another batch of biscotti. This time around, I went the chocolate route. The results were quite tasty if I do say so myself.

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Here’s how I made it…

I used this recipe for Chocolate Pistachio Biscotti from Brown Eyed Baker. I halved the recipe – partly because I didn’t want to have 4 dozen(!) biscotti in the flat when I was finished and partly because I only had enough pistachios for a half recipe.

Other differences: 1) I used pre-shelled pistachios. She used whole pistachios that she shelled before making the biscotti. That sounds miserable to me – who wants to shell (and not eat) 1.5 cups worth of pistachios in one sitting!? To make up for the missing salt as a result of using pre-shelled, unsalted nuts, I went a little heavy on the salt later.

2) I used a mix of milk chocolate chips and dark chocolate. This basically comes down to the fact that it’s nearly impossible to find semi-sweet chocolate chips in London. They are just not a thing. So any time I make a recipe that calls for semi-sweet chocolate chips, I end up doing this half-and-half kind of thing. It generally works quite well.

Ingredients (These are the halved amounts I used; for the full recipe, double this or follow the link above.):

1 1/8 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1/8 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 ounces (about 1 cup) semisweet chocolate chunks
3/4 cups (about 8 ounces) pistachios, shelled
2 large whole eggs
3/4 cups granulated sugar
Sanding sugar (or granulated sugar), for sprinkling (optional)

I started by pulsing the pistachios and a busted up dark chocolate bar in the food processor, then I combined them in a separate bowl with the milk chocolate chips (which happened to be mini) and the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt.

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I set that aside while I whisked up the sugar and eggs into a thick-ish mixture. Then I added the dry mixture and mixed until just combined.

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I dumped the mixture out onto a floured surface, but I think my mix was too wet because it stuck to everything. Even with extra flour, it was basically impossible to handle without it sticking all over my hands. I had to give up hope of shaping the two halves into evenly sized “logs”. I just plonked it on a parchment-paper lined baking sheet and kind of squished it around into vaguely flattened log shapes.

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I realize it looks far from appetizing at this stage. And my logs were really too flat and too close together, but the sticky-ness of the dough meant it was impossible to move them around and manipulate them into the correct shape. I just gave up and resigned myself to the fact that as they baked, they were sure to smoosh together.

I gave them a quick egg wash and sprinkled them with sugar for a crunchy, sweet top. Then I baked them for about 24 minutes at 350F, and sure enough, they did smoosh together:

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Oh well – no big deal.

I let them cool for about 20 minutes and then cut each log at an angle to create those classic biscotti shapes.

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Please ignore the wretched quality of this photo.

Don’t worry, I ate those little bits on the end to make sure everything tasted okay.

Once it was all cut, I arranged the pieces on a wire rack rested on top of a baking sheet. My only wire rack is actually bigger than my biggest baking sheet, so it was a precarious balancing act. But it’s important to have the pieces on a wire rack, so that they get completely dried out as they bake. You don’t want any soft underbellies on these babies.

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They went back into the oven for another 20 minutes or so until they were completely and totally dry.

I let them cool completely, and then indulged.

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With a coffee, of course, as we all know that it’s the only way to properly enjoy a good biscotti.

Have you ever made biscotti? What’s your favorite flavor? What’s your beverage of choice to enjoy with this crunchy classics?

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3 thoughts on “See Sister Bake: Chocolate Biscotti

  1. Melanie Brockman says:

    Rita Carman makes a delicious biscotti based on her mother or grandmother’s biscotti. To be clear, if I make this I can use 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, right? Also, do you know what the difference is between Hershey’s cocoa powder and Dutch-processed cocoa powder? Finally, how long can you keep these around and how do you store them? Thanks!

    • zuni says:

      1) Yes, using semi-sweet chocolate chips would be fine.
      2) Dutch-processed cocoa powder has had it’s acidity neutralized. Hershey’s cocoa powder is natural (though they do sell a version that is Dutch-processed). It won’t cause a HUGE difference, but the biscotti might have a more bitter taste using natural cocoa powder.
      3) They should stay good for about a week/10 days stored in an airtight container.

  2. fixfabulous says:

    I must make these! Why do your food posts always have to be so amazingly wonderful looking?! Always makes me hungry!

    p.s. I had no idea how easy they were to make – I always thought they were impossible like soufflé or croissants or something! Oh wait you’ve made croissants too. Amazing woman!

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