My favorite Chocolate Biscotti

Christmas Eve is a week from today.

say what? Inhale….. and exhaaaaaale. 

However, I do believe that I am approximately 65% ready. Which, in my twisted math-skills world, means I am ahead of where I thought I would be at this time, but a bit behind of where I should be at this time.

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Does that make sense?

Chocolate Biscotti – adapted from a Dacor Oven recipe

These biscotti are definitely meant to be dunked – they are very crisp and unless you want to risk a broken tooth, I recommend dipping them into either a glass of milk, or (my favorite) a steaming cappuccino.

  • 2 2/3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tbs. instant espresso powder
  • 2/3 cup chocolate chips
  • 1 1/2 cups toasted pecans, chopped
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking soda, espresso powder, chocolate chips and pecans. In another bowl, whisk together the eggs and vanilla. Using an electric mixer, add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and beat until incorporated. Turn the mixture out onto a work surface and knead until it comes together. Divide the dough between the two baking sheets, and form each half into a log about 2 “ wide. Bake until firm to the touch, 30-35 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Using a serrated knife, cut the logs on the diagonal into 3/4” thick slices. Arrange the biscotti back onto the baking sheets and return to the oven. Bake for another 15-20 minutes, or until crisp on both sides. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.

Our Favorite Chocolate Chip Biscotti

There’s a very old saying that I’m quite fond of which goes something like this…. “You get what you pay for”.

And it’s true.

There’s another, albeit less well-known (less well-known to anyone under the age of 21, I suppose) saying that I’ve become quite fond as well – and I think it was on Ina Garten’s cooking show that I first heard it – “Don’t cook with a wine you wouldn’t drink”.

And it’s true, too. 

Case in point (you knew this was going somewhere good..) last night I was preparing this recipe for Chicken Marsala, and against my better judgment, used a very, very inexpensive (read: CHEAP) bottle of Marsala wine.

** shudder **

In my defense, it was the only brand that Randall’s carried. The liquor store next door was closed, and the last thing I felt like doing last night was braving the traffic to trek over to HEB. If you are familiar with the congestion on 620N around rush hour, you know exactly what I’m talking about.

Moral of the story? Next time, plan ahead a bit better, or suck it up and face the traffic.

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My consolation prize was two of these biscotti with the last of my (good) wine.

They were delicious :)

Chocolate Chip Biscotti – adapted from Williams Sonoma

  • 1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tbs. instant espresso powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper, and set aside.

Cream together butter, both sugars, and espresso powder until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, until light and fluffy. Sift together dry ingredients and add to butter mixture. Mix until combined. Add chocolate chips.

Divide dough in half on baking sheets. Spread with spatula, forming logs about 3-4” wide and 3/4” thick. Bake until firm to the touch, about 25 minutes. Remove from the oven. Let cool for 5 minutes.

Transfer logs to cutting board and cut into 1/2” diagonal slices. Place each cookie on baking sheet, cut side down. Bake for 10 minutes, then turn over and bake another 10 minutes. Cool. Makes about 3 dozen.

SWS – Marble Biscotti

You know, I’m not the kind of person that likes to create chaos or incite unrest among the masses – but I feel compelled to point out a glaringly obvious fact about these cookies ~

Sabrina has made them at least 5 times times over the past few months…….and I’ve yet to see one of them.

How does that expression go, Dad? “Just sayin’?

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Marble Biscotti – adapted from Great Cookies

  • 2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter – slightly firm
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 oz. good quality bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, melted

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a large baking sheet with baking paper.
In a medium bowl, sift together the flour and baking powder. Set aside. In the large bowl of an electric mixer, cream butter until smooth, about 1 minute. Add the sugar in a steady stream, then beat for 2 minutes longer. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, scraping the bowl occasionally. Beat in the vanilla. On low speed, mix in the sifted ingredients in two additions, mixing just until incorporated.
Divide the dough in half and place half of it into a large bowl. Working one bowl at a time, drizzle spoonfuls of half the chocolate over the top of the dough, then cut through the dough with a spatula – do not overmix; you want the marble effect.
Transfer the batter to the prepared sheet, shaping it into a 12×2 inch log. Repeat the procedure with the remaining dough.
Bake for 25-30 minutes or until logs are firm and their bottom is lightly browned. Remove from the oven, set over a wire rack to cool for 20-25 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 300°F. Line a large baking sheet with baking paper.
With a serrated knife, slice the logs into ½ inch slices. Place them onto prepared sheet then bake for 10 minutes each side or until golden. Cool completely in the pan over a wire rack.

Makes about 30

Our Favorite Biscotti

Good morning and happy Monday! I had a great weekend, very productive…… lots of cleaning, painting (the family room is almost finished!), baking and biking – 58 miles to be exact…

And speaking of biking, my dad (persuasive man that he is) made me an offer I couldn’t refuse and finally convinced me to get a new bike – check out my wheels!

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 Twenty pounds lighter than my old bike and twice as fast – but at least I won’t get a speeding ticket on this set of tires….

Although with me, anything is possible….

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Our Favorite Biscotti – adapted from Dorie Greenspan

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 cup yellow cornmeal

1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature

Grated zest of two lemons, or 1 large orange

1 cup sugar

2 large eggs

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

Whisk the flour and baking powder together. Add the cornmeal and whisk again to blend.

Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter, zest and sugar together at medium speed for 3 minutes, until very smooth. Add the eggs and continue to beat, scraping down the bowl as needed, for another 2 minutes, or until the mixture is light, smooth and creamy. Beat in the vanilla extract. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients, mixing only until they are incorporated.

Divide the dough in half and place each half onto the prepared baking sheets. Using your fingers and a rubber spatula, work the dough into a log about 12 inches long and 1 1/2 inches wide.

Bake for 15 minutes, or until the logs are lightly golden but still soft and springy to the touch. Transfer the baking sheet to a rack and cool the logs on the baking sheet for 30 minutes.

If you turned off the oven, bring it back up to 350 degrees F.

Using a wide metal spatula, transfer the logs to a cutting board and, with a long serrated knife, trim the ends and cut the logs into 3/4-inch-thick slices. Return the slices to the baking sheet — this time standing them up like a marching band — and slide the sheet back into the oven.

Bake the biscotti for another 15 minutes, or until they are golden and firm. Transfer them to racks and cool to room temperature.

Our favorite Chocolate Chip Biscotti

I don’t know about you, but my Monday morning kicked off with one very panicked, completely freaked out, almost hysterical 15 year girl.

And yes, I am referring to Sabrina.

The cause of her extreme emotional distress? Not a broken nail, or a bad hair day, or a burnt bagel……… this was much, much (in her mind) worse: her phone was frozen. It was a crisis, I tell you. And it was compounded when she realized that she would have to go to school without it.

“How am I going to be able to talk to you during the day?!? How will I know when you’re at school to pick me up?? How are you going to fix it? What if you can’t? What if the Apple store resets it and I lose EVERYTHING ON MY PHONE??!!”

deep breath Sabrina, deep breath…….

Fortunately for me, staying calm when someone is about to lose their cool is a valuable skill I learned a long time ago. Alexander, of course, was relishing her hysterics and came about thisclose to being thrown into the pool by her.

Actually, that would have been funny to watch.

Anyway, I took her (sulking, naturally) to school, and headed straight to work – where I then reset it using the little pinhole next to the earphone outlet. The phone opened up right away – problem solved, crisis averted, and life as we know it will carry on as normal.

“Normal” being a highly debatable term right now…..

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Our Favorite Chocolate Chip Biscotti – adapted from Williams Sonoma

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tbs. espresso powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup mini chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment and set aside.

Whisk together flour, baking powder and cinnamon. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat together butter and both sugars.  Add the espresso powder, then beat in the eggs one at a time until blended. Stir in the flour mixture and chocolate chips. Divide the dough in half, and shape each half into a long slender loaf on the prepared sheets. Smooth the tops and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the top springs back lightly when touched and the loaves are golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes. Using a serrated knife, cut the loaves into 1/2″ slices and return to the baking sheet. Bake for another 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Store in an airtight container, or freeze for longer storage.

Cinnamon Breakfast Toasts…for a leisurely Sunday Morning

Just to prove that appearances can (and usually are) deceiving, check out this picture The Chief Culinary Photographer took for me this morning….

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** side note: hereinafter, Sabrina will now be referred to as the Chief Culinary Photographer…or “CCP”, for short **

Anyhoo, it might “appear” that I was sitting quietly, have a glorious, leisurely Sunday morning, pondering dinner possibilities, perhaps chatting with my mother about tomorrow’s MWM…

cue music screeching to a halt……

In reality, I had 4 hungry teenagers staring me down, waiting (quite) patiently for me to make chocolate chip pancakes……that they proceeded to consume in record time…along with anything and everything else in their path. So after the hurricane of flipping pancakes, syrup flowing, running out of orange juice (again!) and kids subsided, I was left with a mess and cold coffee.

My mother warned me there would be days like this.

Cinnamon Breakfast Toasts – adapted from Gina de Palma

3 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light olive oil or vegetable oil
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus additional for rolling the dough
1/4 cup fine cornmeal
3 tsp baking powder
4 tsp ground cinnamon
Optional toppings
1 tablespoon milk
1 tablespoon raw or demerara sugar
Preheat the oven to 350°F.  Place the eggs, sugar and oil in the bowl of an electric mixer. Using the whisk attachment, beat them together on medium speed for one minute, until light and foamy. While the egg mixture is beating, whisk together 2 cups of the flour with the cornmeal, baking powder and cinnamon until thoroughly blended. Add the dry ingredients to the bowl and beat them together until a thick dough is formed. Remove the bowl from the mixer, and discard the whisk. Use a spatula to fold the remaining 1/4 cup of flour into the dough. Let the dough sit for five minutes so the flour can absorb the moisture from the eggs. While the dough is sitting, line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, and lightly grease the parchment. Flour your work surface and fingers, and divide the dough in half. Roll each half into a log, about 1 1/2 inches wide and place the logs on the prepared cookie sheet, evenly spaced. The dough will be tacky, but easy manage; you can continue to shape the logs them after placing them on the cookie sheet. Use a pastry brush to brush away any excess flour. If you want add a bit more sweetness to the toasts, brush them with the milk and sprinkle the raw or demerara sugar on top. Bake the logs for 20 to 25 minutes, or until they are puffy, golden brown and firm to touch. Remove the cookie sheet from the oven and turn the temperature down to 300 degrees. Let the logs cool for 15 minutes on the tray. Use a serrated knife to slice the logs on the bias about ½ of an inch thick and lay them flat on the cookie sheet. Return the slices to the oven and bake for an additional 15 to 20 minutes, or until the slices are browned and toasted. Allow the toasts to cool completely and store them in an air-tight container.

Gingerbread Biscotti

Holy cannoli!

Wait…. before I go any further – I must give a shoutout to my girl Sabrina. The proper spelling of cannoli is noted here….with two n’s, one l ……

Lest you think I’m a member of the grammar police, (hey, I’ve been called worse) – the story behind this is simple: there’s an Italian restaurant down the street from our house that has cannoli on the menu. And they spell it like this ….”canolli”.

Of course, dey might awso tawk like dis too, but I can neither confirm nor deny that assumption..

Anyway, it takes a tremendous amount of self control on both our parts not to say something to the management about the spelling. But I would venture a guess that either one of two things has happened:

A. They know

and/ or

B. Don’t care.

It gives us a laugh every.single.time. I know I know, I’m easily amused…..

Oh – and about these biscotti? Three words: out – stand – ing.

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Gingerbread Biscotti – adapted from Fine Cooking

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups packed dark brown sugar
2 tsp. ground ginger
1 1/4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 cup molasses
2 large eggs
¼ cup orange marmalade

Position a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F. Line two large baking sheets with parchment.

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the flour, brown sugar, ginger, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and baking soda on medium-low speed until well blended. In a measuring cup, lightly whisk the molasses, eggs, and marmalade. With the mixer on low, slowly pour in the egg mixture. Continue mixing until the dough is well blended and comes together in large, moist clumps, 1 to 2 minutes.

Dump the dough onto an unfloured work surface. Divide into two equal piles (about 1 lb. each). Shape each pile into a log that’s 10 inches long and about 1-1/2 inches in diameter, lightly flouring your hands as needed (the dough is a bit sticky).

Position the logs on the lined sheets. Bake until the tops are cracked and spring back slightly when gently pressed, 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer the sheet to a rack and let cool until the logs are cool enough to handle, about 10 minutes.

Carefully peel the biscotti logs from the parchment and transfer to a cutting board. Using a serrated knife, saw each log into diagonal slices 3/4 inch wide. Return the slices to the baking sheets (no need for fresh parchment) and arrange them cut side down. It’s all right if they touch because they won’t spread.

Bake until the biscotti are dried to your taste, about 10 minutes (for slightly moist and chewy) to 20 minutes (for super-dry and crunchy). Transfer the cookie sheet to a rack and let the biscotti cool completely. The biscotti will still give slightly when pressed, but will harden as they cool. When cool, store in airtight containers.