After last week’s successes in the snack-making arena, I decided to stick with the theme and keep rolling forward in my goal to test out recipes that I can potentially give as Christmas presents, hostess gifts at parties, etc. My Martha Stewart Holiday Cookie guide (the same tome that brought us the mixed-reviewed tiramisu cookies) had a recipe for biscotti, something I enjoy eating but have never tried making. I had all the ingredients for chocolate-walnut biscotti in my cupboards, so I decided to give it a whirl.
I started by combining flour, sugar,cocoa powder, salt, and baking powder in one mixing bowl; I whisked together 3 eggs plus one egg yolk with some olive oil in another bowl. I combined all this gradually with my stand mixer while I toasted some chopped walnuts I had in the cupboard.
The dough that forms is extremely thick – be prepared. It will give even a good stand mixer a decent workout. After everything was combined well, I added the walnuts and some semi-sweet chocolate (in this case, half a bag of chocolate chips left over from something I have long since forgotten, but when I make gift versions of this I will replace with coarsely chopped good-quality bar chocolate).
Per Martha’s instructions, I formed the dough into two 10-inch long logs, each about 2 inches wide. I did not pay attention when I slid them into the oven, however, because log one slid over and touched log two, causing me much anxiety when I went to turn the baking sheet and had to separate them (this may not have happened had I not run out of parchment while making the marshmallows).
After a total of about 40 minutes in the oven (being turned halfway), I got the logs out and transferred them to a cutting board. After cooling slightly, I sliced them. This redial step was the most difficult for me as I played around with different widths and dealt with crumbly ends, but I eventually ended up with a number of fairly uniform-looking slices, which I then placed on the cookie sheet and put back in the oven for another 40 minutes.
Voila! A treat for your morning coffee (in fact, I am enjoying some right now!)
What I would do differently:
- Use better ingredients. My time at Zingerman’s has driven home my belief that better ingredients truly do result in a better finished product. While I consider my eggs/flour/olive oil (nothing fancy, I use Colavita for everyday use) to be totally up to snuff, I will definitely be investing in some good Dutch-process cocoa powder and would recommend using good-quality chocolate, such as Scharffen Berger. Since this was my trial run (mainly to get the technique down) I didn’t mind using the last of the Stop & Shop cocoa powder and the end of a bag of chocolate chips, but I would do better for gifts.
- Buy more parchment! I love parchment paper, and I think log 1 may not have slid across my baking sheet had I prepped properly with parchment. Also makes transferring to a cooling rack easier.
- Cook a bit longer in the beginning. I think these were a little soft when I took them out to slice.
All in all, I enjoyed making the biscotti and can’t wait to try some other flavor combinations. I will keep you posted!