I have had a love for chocolate biscotti for almost ever since I can remember. I used to steal from my mom’s stash (Nonni’s chocolate-almond) and man, was it worth it! I don’t know why I had sort of adult tastes as a little kid, I mean, I liked coffee (loaded with chocolate and sugar, that is) and I liked biscotti. Most kids don’t like biscotti, right? They’re too hard and crunchy. Oh, well. It’s a mystery.
I had tried making homemade biscotti before, and it was, to say the least, a fail. I think I was trying to make them sugar-less, but that messed up the consistency. I have not messed with sweeteners here. Plain white sugar baby! Sometimes things just shouldn’t be made healthy. Sometimes they should be left alone. Happily, cacao nibs and dark chocolate are naturally high in antioxidants. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
For those of you who don’t know, biscotti is an Italian cookie. The word literally means “twice-baked” which the cookies are, first as a log, then cut into slices and toasted. This produces a dry, very crunchy cookie, that is intended to be eaten dunked in coffee or wine. I used to dunk mine in milk, and that worked just fine. You can also simply not dunk.
I roasted my cacao nibs (spread on a baking sheet for 10 minutes at 150 F), but feel free to use raw. I am pretty much in love with cacao nibs, so for those of you who are not, I apologize…not really. We’re still friends, right?
Finally, I will be out of town for the next week, so I’m sorry, there will be no posts this upcoming week. And I apologize for the non-regular posting in general. Welcome to my life: non-regular.
Roasted Cacao Nib Biscotti
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tablespoons instant espresso powder
¾ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
¾ stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
½ cup cacao nibs, roasted or raw
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped, or ¾ cup store-bought mini chocolate chips
Sea salt, for sprinkling
1. Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment or a silicone mat.
2. Sift together the flour, cocoa, espresso powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
3. 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 cacao nibs and chocolate, then turn the dough out onto a work surface and knead in any dry ingredients that might have escaped mixing.
4. 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 ½ to 1 inch high, about 2 inches across and sort of rectangular, then carefully lift the logs onto the baking sheet. Sprinkle with sea salt.
5. 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.)
6. Working with one log at a time, using a long serrated knife, cut each log into slices between ½ and ¾ inch thick. Stand the slices up on the baking sheet and bake the cookies again, this time for just 10 minutes.
7. Transfer the biscotti to a rack to cool.