Chocolate Dipped Biscotti 巧克力意大利脆餅
By Ellen L. Published: 2016-04-29
My very first biscotti was eaten a long, long time ago in a little Italian style cafe near my university campus. The counter had a beautiful and enormous glass jar packed with these funnily shaped biscuits. Newly from suburbia I naturally had no idea what they were but I could see that many others in the cafe had indulged. So I took the plunge and ordered one with my usual cuppa. As I picked up this thing called biscotti I thought to myself, you have got to be kidding, this thing is hard as heck! I gnawed furtively at one hard end. Humm...not going to happen. I looked about and spied out others taking their hard as heck biscottis for dips into their coffee. I followed suit and wow, wow...deep biscotti love!
Ever since then I have always, always wanted to make biscotti. So I'm super excited to share this amazing biscotti recipe, it's so easy to make and OMG so yummilicious! And comes out hard but not too hard! You can eat it without dipping. And of course, because I'm a chocolate freak, I had to up the ante and make it Chocolate Dipped Biscotti!
The thing that makes a biscotti so transcedant is that you can pack the basic dough with all kinds of things like nuts, dried fruit, chocolate, etc. Not only can, you must! For that is the character of the biscotti, that it is packed with all kinds of flavors and textures that delight the tongue as well as flavor the dough.
So I scoured my food mountain (what I like to call the big pile of food stuffs piled up outside my tiny kitchen) and found almonds (yeah! I love almonds) and a bag of dried cherries that my ex-boyfriend now friend gave me recently (I'm still trying to figure out why dried cherries?)
And then at the last minute, I thought of the thing to add to my biscotti that would make it irresistible...fruit peel! I have recently become obsessed with how amazingly flavorful and aromatic the peel of each and every citrus fruit is. I find them so wonderful that I can't bear to throw away any of my peels...instead stashing them away in baggies in the fridge though for what purpose remains to be seen. For the task at hand I peeled the zest of a lovely tangerine, oh so fragrant, minced it and added it to the biscotti.
The first bake is with a wet, wet dough. Goopy almost. Wet your hands when you're ready to shape the dough and rewet as needed. One thing for sure I will do next time is to place the logs further apart. Considering that there was very little raising agent in the dough, these biscotti sure expanded a lot in the oven ending up around 5" wide. After the first bake my two rows of biscotti where touching each other. No big problem I just gently sliced then apart.
The biscotti is a double baked dough. That is how the dryness and hardness of the biscotti is achieved. The first bake with the wet dough allows the biscotti to expand and bake just enough to allow it to be carefully sliced into those distinctive biscotti shapes. The second bake dries the dough into those classic golden brown, delightfully crunchy, jam packed full of flavor, long-lasting biscuits.
The thing that is the most fun is deciding your add-ins. Go crazy and be creative. Dried fruits (like cranberries!), chocolate chips, lemon peels, pistachio, poppy seed, candied ginger, etc. But max out at adding 1 and a half cup of add ins. Any more than that and your biscotti might crumble when you slice it. And also be sure to chop all your add-ins to a medium-small size. Don't leave them too big. I got lazy with the almond and left them quite big which made the slicing of the biscotti quite hard to do without breaking up the biscuit.
Can I just say that I love these Italian cookies? This is definitely going to be a family favorite. Or rather a personal favorite because it seems like I am the one eating most of these delectable biscotti!
What are your favorite add-ins for a biscotti?
Chocolate Dipped Biscotti Recipe
(adapted from epicurious recipe here)
1 cup sugar (200g)
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature (1/2 cup, 113g)
3 tbsp amaretto (or whatever other concentrated flavorful liquid you like)
2 tsp almond extract
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup whole almonds, skin on, roughly chopped (100g)
1/2 cup dried cherries, roughly chopped (80g)
1 tbsp orange zest, minced
2 3/4 cup all purpose flour (343g)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
7 oz 70% dark chocolate, roughly chopped (200 g)
Stir sugar, butter, amaretto, almond and vanilla extract in a bowl. Add in almonds, cherries, orange zest and eggs and stir to mix. In separate bowl mix flour, baking powder and salt. Add all at once to wet and stir with a wooden spoon until just combined. Chill dough for 30 mins to 1 hour or until it feels firm enough to shape.
Using wet hands, divide dough in two and shape into 14" by 2" flat loaves on parchment paper lined baking tray, leaving a 3-4" gap in between. Bake until pale golden in color, around 30 mins. Take out and let cool for 15 mins. Using a thin serrated knife, slice into 3/4" slices. Arrange back onto baking tray, with cut sides down (you can crowd them a bit at this stage since they will not expand anymore) and bake until a rich golden brown, approx. 20-25 mins. Let cool completely on rack.
Once completely cooled you can then make your biscotti truly gorgeous by dipping them in chocolate. For how to temper your chocolate please see our post on How to Temper Chocolate.
Once chocolate is tempered, dip each biscotti bottom about 1/4" into melted chocolate. Lift biscotti and use butter knife to smooth away any extra chocolate. Place biscotti bottom down on silicon mat or parchment paper and let chocolate set, about 5-10 mins. Once chocolate is set you can pack your biscotti away into air tight cookie jars. These will last 2 weeks at least and the flavor improves as it ages. (As if these lovelies would last that long!)
Tip: Eat by themselves or serve biscottis with a hot cup of coffee for fabulous dunking enjoyment.
More Cookielicious Delights at The Hong Kong Cookery:
Snowball Melting Moments Cookies 雪球融化時刻餅乾
Macau Almond Cookie 澳門杏仁餅
Chinese Almond Cookies 杏仁餅乾
Tiramisu - What More Could You Ask For?