Chocolate and Almond Biscotti

Sally Cutting, via e-mail

These aren't as hard (no pun intended) as they sound to make, they last forever, and are a great pickup with a nice cup of strong coffee when trying to study that ticklish design problem on a quilt in progress. Also a good ace in the hole for last minute dessert with a dish of ice cream.

1 1/2 cups whole blanched (skinned) almonds
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup less one tablespoon of sugar
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons whiskey or brandy

Preheat oven to 350°F. Toast the almonds in a shallow pan for 12 to 15 minutes, shaking the pan a few times, until almonds are lightly colored. Set aside to cool.

Preheat oven to 375°F. Line 2 or 3 flat edged cookie sheets with aluminum foil, shiny side up. Sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add the sugar and mix well. Place 1/2 cup of these dry ingredients into the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal chopping blade. Add about a half cup of the toasted almonds and process for about 30 seconds. Add the mixture to the sifted ingredients. Add the remaining almonds and chocolate morsels and stir well.

In a separate bowl, beat the eggs, vanilla and whiskey. Pour into dry ingredients and stir until moist.

Place dough on wax paper, and with wet hands, press into a round mound. With a long, heavy knife, cut the dough into equal quarters. Keeping hands wet, form each quarter into strips about 9 inches long ,2 inches wide and 1/2 inch high. Round the ends. Place two strips crosswise on each of the cookie sheets.. Bake for 25 minutes. If baking more that one sheet at a time, reverse the sheets top to bottom and from to back half way through cooking time.

Using a metal spatula remove foil from cookie sheets and let cool for 20 minutes on cutting board. Reduce oven temperature to 275°F. With a serrated knife, carefully cut at an angle into slices about 1/4 inch wide. Place the slices, cut side down, onto unlined cookie sheets. Bake 25 to 30 minutes, reversing sheets top to bottom and front to back after 15 minutes. Turn oven off and open the oven door, allowing the biscotti to cool in the oven. When cool, store in an airtight container.

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