Every time fall rolls around, my mom makes batches and batches of biscotti. Most of it gets put into zip-top bags and given to relatives, but enough of it gets left at home to be eaten for breakfast…I mean, with my afternoon cup of tea, because eating cookies for breakfast is wrong.
When I first moved to a place with my own kitchen, i.e. not a dorm, I needed to carry on the tradition of fall biscotti baking. There was no question as to what kind of biscotti I would be baking, because at home it is always Maida Heatter’s Almond Chocolate Chip Biscotti. I honestly don’t even know where the original recipe came from because the version we use at home is a photocopy from probably 15 years ago with notes written all over it. According to this transcription, the recipe can be found in the Book of Great Chocolate Desserts.
Anyway, fall and winter are the perfect seasons for both making and eating biscotti. And almond and chocolate are the perfect combination. On rainy days, what is better than spending a few hours in the kitchen with the oven on and then settling down with a book and some freshly baked biscotti? We have a lot of rainy days here in Upper Austria, so I may have jumped on the biscotti train a little earlier than usual this year.
Though I’ve been working for two weeks, my work schedule is still a bit of a mess, which luckily gave me plenty of time to bake these. In total, these spend about 50 minutes in the oven, plus cooling time in between and prep time–so you need to allot about two hours total for this project. But other than the time constraint, the recipe is quite easy! I feel like I say that about a lot of recipes, but it’s true!
Two years ago while in Berlin I emailed my mom asking for this recipe. I didn’t make many changes from the original except for the necessary ones to adapt it to European ingredients. Here are some of her notes, word for word, regarding proper biscotti technique:
“i’ll toast the almond flour by spreading in out on a cookie sheet, at 350 until it starts to lightly brown, stirring occasionally because the edges of the pile will brown first.”
“the cooling part between first and second bake is important. you want them cool enough so that the choc chips don’t smear, but still warm enough that the logs are slicebly soft.”
“if it’s too dry, first thing i’ll add is an extra egg”
So there you have it, folks. Ma knows best, right?
Almond Chocolate Chip Biscotti
From Maida Heatter
- Scant 3/4 cup almond meal
- Heaping 1/2 cup toasted almonds, coarsely chopped
- 2 cups flour
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder (or 1/2 tsp baking powder and 1/2 tsp baking soda)
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 2 packets vanilla sugar plus scant 1 cup granulated sugar (or scant cup sugar plus 1 tsp vanilla)
- 2 cups chocolate chips (I like to use a mix of milk and dark chocolate)
- 2-3 eggs (start with two, see Instructions for notes)
- 2 T coffee, whiskey, or brandy
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Line cookie sheets with aluminum foil (shiny side up) or parchment paper. If the sheets have raised edges, turn them upside down. I don’t know why, just do it.
In a large bowl, mix together the dry ingredients (almond meal, flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar). Add chopped almonds and chocolate chips.
Use a fork to beat 2 eggs with whatever liquids you are using (such as coffee or brandy or vanilla) in a small bowl. Pour into the dry ingredients and stir until moistened. This takes a while, but if it doesn’t seem to be happening, then beat another egg and add that. I always end up adding the third egg.
On your baking sheet(s), shape the dough into two logs as in photo #3 above. Wet your hands and do not dry them to help shape the dough, as it will be very sticky. Bake in the oven for 25 minutes, rotating halfway through.
After 25 minutes, remove the logs from the oven and let cool for about 30 minutes. Lower the oven temperature to 275 degrees Fahrenheit. Use a large offset spatula to remove the logs from the pan. Cut into slices about a 1/2 inch wide, going slowly and using a serrated knife.
Place the biscotti slices onto unlined cookie sheets, cut side down. Bake again for about 30 minutes, flipping the slices and reversing the sheets if using more than one cookie sheet. The proper way to cool the biscotti is to shut off the oven and leave the door open until the biscotti are cool, but if you don’t want to do that, just pull the pans out of the oven once the biscotti have turned just slightly golden!
Posted to Serendipity and Spice’s Manic Monday, A Southern Fairytale’s Mouthwatering Monday, The Pin Junkie’s Blogiversary Party, Mandy’s Recipe Box’s Totally Tasty Tuesday, and Polka Dots on Parade’s Wow Me Wednesday!