Friday, October 28, 2011

The Holidays are Coming! Time for Chocolate

If you would like to receive email notifications of new Cracked Pepper posts, you can sign up in the upper left portion of this page.

Ready or not, here come the holidays.  I've been seeing Christmas decorations in stores since the first day of October (!) so I figured it was time to do a holiday recipe.   I wanted to post a contender in the "United Way Bake Sale/Cookie Swap/Holiday Present" category that will appeal to everyone with a sweet tooth and especially chocoholics (that would be you, Terry!).  It works great for all three occasions - if your company has a fund-raising bake sale, if you participate in a cookie swap, or if you want a little present to give to someone this season.  Did I mention that it's chocolate?  How about DOUBLE CHOCOLATE?

Speaking of presents, I have to tell a brief story.  Several years ago The Lawyer stumbled across some bright green felt pea pods in a store and for some unknown reason decided they would make great Christmas presents for his sisters.  I've mentioned his sense of whimsy before, right?  Anyway, the pea pods had a zipper.  When you unzipped them there was a row of plump little peas with smiley faces.  It was bad enough that he decided to give them to his grown sisters, but when I found out that he signed both of our names to the gift cards I was appalled.  Luckily they're well acquainted with his sense of humor and understood.  Thank goodness - enough people think I'm a little off center without adding zippered pea pods to the evidence pile.

So, back to food.  Biscotti are stylish and a little bit fancy, but they're surprisingly easy to make.  Basically they're just a cookie that's baked twice - once as a big log, and then again after they're cut into pieces.  This particular recipe is much more chocolate-y than anything you would buy in a store due to the combination of cocoa powder and chocolate chips.  Great dunked in coffee!

* * click here for a printable recipe version * *

Double Chocolate Biscotti with Walnuts
Makes 30 biscotti

2 cups all purpose flour
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped
¾ cup semisweet chocolate chips (or mini chocolate chips)
1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar

Preheat the oven to 350d and either butter and flour a large baking sheet, or place parchment on the baking sheet.

In a medium bowl whisk the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt together.  In a large bowl with an electric mixer beat together the butter and sugar, then add eggs and beat until combined well.  Stir in the dry ingredients by hand, then stir in the walnuts and chocolate chips.

Flour your hands, then divide the dough in half and form each into a log on the baking sheet that is approximately 12 inches long and 2 inches wide.  Flatten the tops slightly and sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar. 
formed and ready for baking
Bake for 35 minutes, then remove from the oven and cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes.  With a large knife cut each log diagonally into fifteen ¾” slices. 

baked and cut

Flip them on their sides on the baking sheet, return to the oven, and bake for 10-12 minutes more until crisp.  Remove from the oven and immediately place biscotti on a wire cooling rack until completely cool.  Store in an airtight container.

cooling on a rack

1 comment:

Marne said...

Oooh. I think I'm going to try some of these for gifts. Sounds yummy, and everyone I know drinks coffee! Marne