I have interesting plans this weekend- my friend Yolanda is coming over on Saturday and we're going to cook an Italian feast together! I know I shouldn't have gone ahead and started without her, but my enthusiasm got the best of me today and I suddenly found myself baking the focaccia. After that was taken care of and the loaves were neatly tucked into the freezer, I figured I might as well get started on something to serve with the espresso. I'd hate to let the heat of the oven go to waste, you see.
The recipe of choice was Dorie Greenspan's Chocolate Biscotti. They didn't come out as perfect looking as I would've hoped, but for a biscotti virgin, they're not that bad either. Now I'm just hoping against all hope that they don't magically disappear before Saturday rolls around...
Here's the recipe:
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tbsp instant espresso powder
¾ tsp baking soda
½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
¾ stick 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
Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 °F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat.
Sift together the flour, cocoa, espresso powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar together on medium speed until pale, about 2 minutes; the mixture may be crumbly. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the eggs and vanilla and beat for another 2 minutes; don’t worry if the mixture looks curdled. Reduce the mixer speed to low and mix in the dry ingredients in 3 additions, mixing only until a dough forms. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Mix in the chopped nuts and chocolate, then turn the dough out onto a work surface and kneed in any dry ingredients that might have escaped mixing.
Divide the dough in half. Working with one half at a time, roll the dough into 12-inch long logs. Flatten both logs with the palm of your hand, so that they are about ½ to 1 inch high, about 2 inches across and sort of rectangular, then carefully lift the logs onto the baking sheet. Sprinkle each log with a little sugar.
Bake the logs for about 25 minutes, or until they are just slightly firm. The logs will spread and crack – and that’s just fine. Remove the baking sheet from the oven, put it on a cooling rack and cool the logs for about 20 minutes. (Leave the oven on).
Working with one log at a time, using a long serrated knife, cut each log into slices between 1/2 and 3/4 inch thick. Stand the slices up on the baking sheet-you’ll have an army of biscotti-and bake the cookies again, this time for just 10 minutes.
Transfer the biscotti to a rack to cool.