Monday, August 13, 2012

Guest Post: Double Chocolate Almond Biscotti

Double Chocolate Almond Biscotti - Photo by Becca Heflin of It's Yummilicious

I know, I know. When it comes to updating my blog and keeping up with all of you on Facebook, Twitter, etc., I've simply dropped the ball. It wasn't intentional... I swear... I've simply been preoccupied. Your time is not your own when you're trying to plan a wedding. Especially when you're trying to tie together all of the loose ends.

Well, in five days, the planning will be behind us, and Stephen and I will be married. We are so ready to stop talking about flowers, table assignments, program designs, potential first dance songs... No more!

To give myself one less thing to worry about this week, I've enlisted the help of a couple of blogger friends and asked them each to contribute a guest post. I am so excited to share their posts and their recipes with you, and I know that I'm going to want to make both of them once this wedding frenzy has died down!

First up? Double Chocolate Almond Biscotti from Becca Heflin of It's Yummilicious. Becca is pure inspiration, a simply beautiful woman inside and out, and I'm thrilled to feature her here on Taste As You Go.

Take it away, Becca!


Hi, everyone! I've been given the tremendous honor of posting a recipe for you while Michelle is off beginning a new chapter in her life... as a married woman! I'm tickled pink that she asked me to help out, and I can't imagine a prettier bride than she will be. Congratulations, Michelle! I wish you and your beloved a wonderful life of love together. As readers of Taste As You Go, you undoubtedly already know how incredibly talented Michelle is when it comes to preparing and photographing great food. Her attention to detail simply blows me away!

Over at It's Yummilicous, I try to share a balance of healthy and sinfully delicious recipes. Be that as it may, I tend to lean a little more towards the sinful side, primarily because I love baking so much. There's something euphoric and comforting for me about the aroma of freshly baked breads, cookies, and fruit desserts. Then there's my obsession for chocolate. I find that a day with a little chocolate makes for an extra pep in my step! That's why this recipe for Double Chocolate Almond Biscotti is so perfect for me to share with you. It smells wonderful while it's baking AND it's loaded with two varieties of delicious chocolate.

I adapted this recipe from David Lebovitz slightly. His recipe is wonderful as written, but the day I made this biscotti, I didn't have any good quality chocolate chips that would do the recipe justice. I did, however, have some incredible Scharffenberger Cacao Nibs. They added a deep chocolate tone and an extra lovely crunch to the biscotti.

Sliced Double Chocolate Almond Biscotti - Photo by Becca Heflin of It's Yummilicious

David's blog post discusses the ongoing debate between once- and twice-baked biscotti. I never knew that such a debate existed, but, apparently, there are a lot of people who prefer a softer cookie. As far as I'm concerned, biscotti cookies were intended to be dunked, so they really need to be crispy. However, look how beautiful and tempting they are in the once-baked form. I could definitely devour a plate full of this goodness!

However you decide to bake it up, I hope you try this recipe out. A good cup of coffee or tea and a lovely Italian cookie are a great way to pamper some indulgence onto your taste buds!

DOUBLE CHOCOLATE ALMOND BISCOTTI
(slightly adapted from recipe by David Lebovitz)

INGREDIENTS

For the Biscotti
  • 2 cups (280g) all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup (75g) top-quality unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Scharffen Berger)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup (200g) white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 cup (125g) almonds, toasted and very coarsely-chopped
  • 3/4 cup (120g) cacao nibs (I used Scharffen Berger)

For the Glaze
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons coarse or crystal sugar

DIRECTIONS
  1. Heat the oven to 350°F (180°C).

  2. In a small bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt.

  3. In a large bowl, beat together the 3 eggs, sugar, and vanilla & almond extracts. Gradually stir in the dry ingredients, then mix in the nuts and the cacao nibs until the dough holds together.

  4. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Divide the dough in half. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into two logs the length of the baking sheet. Transfer the logs onto the baking sheet, evenly spaced apart.

  5. Gently flatten the tops of the logs. Beat the remaining egg and brush the tops of the logs liberally with the egg. (You won’t use it all). Sprinkle the tops with the coarse or crystal sugar and bake for 25 minutes, until the dough feels firm to the touch.

  6. Remove the cookie dough from the oven and cool 15 minutes. On a cutting board, use a serrated bread knife to diagonally cut the cookies into 1/2-inches slices. Lay the cookies cut side down on baking sheets and return to the oven for 20 to 30 minutes, turning the baking sheet midway during baking, until the cookies feel mostly firm.

  7. Once baked, cool the cookies completely then store in an airtight container for up to two weeks. If you wish, the cookies can be half-dipped in melted chocolate then cooled until the chocolate hardens.

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