Italian Biscotti

I think one of the best parts about a eating a good cookie is dunking it. That is why I try to avoid buying Oreos, I could dunk that whole package in ice cold milk if I wasn’t careful! I love a good biscotti for the same reason. Biscotti is a perfect match with hot chocolate or coffee and once you have mastered the process, you can get creative and make whatever flavors you like. The problem is that store bought varieties are not only expensive, but typically over baked and flavorless. This is a basic recipe of vanilla with chocolate that I made and bagged up for gifts.

INGREDIENTS

1/2 cup Butter room temp

3/4 cup Sugar

2 Eggs

1 tsp Vanilla

2 cups Flour

1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder

1/4 tsp Salt

3/4 cup chopped Chocolate

3/4 cup chopped Nuts

1 cup melted Chocolate

This time I used milk chocolate in the batter, and dark chocolate for dipping. The cool thing is that you can choose whatever you prefer as they interchange easily. I prefer walnuts, but you can also use peanuts, pecans or even pistachios. Just changing the chocolate and nuts creates a whole new biscotti so you can give a bag full of a variety of flavors as a Christmas gift.

To get started, put the butter in your mixer and whip it until nice and fluffy. You will see it begin to change color as it moves toward where you want it. Now you don’t want it to get really warm and begin in to melt, so low speed works great it just takes a little time. When it is nearly where you want it, slowly pour the sugar into the butter.

It almost becomes a white color when it is ready.
It almost becomes a white color when it is ready.

Add the eggs and vanilla until incorporated. Separately, combine the flour, salt and baking powder. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the mixing bowl until throughly blended. Now is when you add your chopped chocolate and nuts.

Don't you just want to lick that paddle clean?
Don’t you just want to lick that paddle clean?

Cover the bowl with serane and place in the fridge to chill for 30 minutes. While this is going on you can clean up the kitchen, work on the next batch or let your kids lick the beaters. Yes, I am one of those moms who isn’t worried about raw dough. Because I was baking so much I double the recipe in this photo. This works fine, I just split it in half before I chill the dough. Once it has firmed up a little it is easier to shape into a flat log. Preheat the oven to 325.

Cover a cookie sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper. I cannot emphasize this enough! I have tried this directly on a cookie sheet and it just doesn’t work as well. The logs should be about 12-14 inches long and 2 inches wide. It is okay if it isn’t perfect what matters is that the entire length and width of both logs are consistent. Unlike a cookie, the top needs to be smooth. Don’t rush this because you won’t like the results if it isn’t. I sprinkle a little flour on my hands to keep the dough for sticking to my hands while I do this.

image

Place the pan on the middle rack and bake for 25 minutes. You do not want any pans on the brown rack or the bottom of your biscotti will be overdone. We are baking more than twice the amount of time for a regular cookie and being too close to the elements will make the bottoms very dark and possibly have burnt flavor. After 25 minutes the logs will be set and only slightly browned.

You don't want them to be brown, that occurs in the second bake.
You don’t want them to be brown, that occurs in the second bake.

Allow to cool 5 minutes before slicing. Don’t slice on the pan, you need to transfer to a cutting board. If you are nervous about lifting the entire log,cut in half first.slice on the diagonal, not straight across. This is done for two reasons. One, it gives more of a cut surface area to dry out. Second, it provides a much longer biscotti cookie. Each cut should be 1 inch apart. Once they are sliced, put each piece back onto the cookie sheet, slightly apart. Place the pan back into the oven for another 10 minutes and allow to cool on a rack.

Long and petty
Long and petty

Now is when you get to have fun with the melted chocolate. I chose to coat the bottom of each biscotti but you can also dip one end or drizzle over the top. If you are making several varieties, drizzling slightly different on each one can help you to identify each one. I bagged them up in pretty bags of 6 each. Before I give away I will attach a pretty ribbon.

Ready to give away.
Ready to give away.

Pretty simple, right? Nw that you have made a batch here are some ways to change it up.

Substitute coconut flavoring for the vanilla and shredded/flaked coconut for the chopped chocolate.

Use Orange Liquer instead of vanilla and 2 Tab grated orange peel.

Add 1/4 cup Nutella and substitute hazelnuts for the walnuts.

Drizzle chocolate on top and sprinkle sea salt on top while it is still wet.

Crush nuts and while the melted chocolate is still wet, dip into the crushed nuts.

Add 1/2 cup of your favorite dried fruit.

Use white and milk chocolate in the dough.

For a gift, place the bag into a coffee cup and attach a tag inviting your friend over for coffee.

Are you inspired to make this classic Italian treat? I hope so! Let me know how it goes or if you have any questions.

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