Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Chocolate Biscotti and Giveaway!

One food fantasy I have is skinny dipping in a chocolate lake. I would tentatively dip my toes into the edge, testing the temperature, then I’d walk to the edge of the dock and take in a deep breath before dive bombing into the chocolate bath. I’d swim a few laps but don’t think I’d get very far because the chocolate would be too thick and besides, I’d get distracted by the gulpfuls of chocolate in my mouth. I’d be better off licking my fingers like a cat.

In real life, if I do have chocolate on hand, I’m usually fully clothed and nibbling on a sliver of Lindt dark chocolate, preferably the sea salt or roasted almond kind. If they're on sale, I'm tempted to buy the whole box, just in case a serious chocolate craving strikes, surprisingly however, a bar will last me two weeks, I stop myself from having more than 2 squares per day, anymore and I’d feel guilty.

I already feel bad about my embarrassingly long list of recipes saved under the Must Make folder in my computer, I’m seriously behind, but at least I can cross off this chocolate biscotti off (yay, one down, only 165 more to go!). I’ve made plenty of chocolate desserts lately: cake, brownies, cookies, but they never lasted long enough for me to write and photograph, save for these biscotti which are really something to talk about. Your teeth will break under the mighty strength of these biscotti, making them suitable for some hardcore dunking in coffee, milk, tea, or all the above.

I’m not Italian, so I feel like it’s not culturally correct for me to comment on how biscotti should be, but I do know I prefer mine leaning towards the crispy side. I’ve had softer biscotti and even tried the Starbucks white chocolate almond biscotti. It was depressing, chemical-tasting and lacked that wow factor, even as I ripped apart the plastic wrapping, I should have stopped right there, knowing that I would only taste disappointment, so from now on, I only eat homemade biscotti, preferably teeth-breakingly hard biscotti. 

Texture aside, biscotti can be customized to your favourite flavour combinations, like the way pistachios and cranberries make my heart sing or the unexpected-but-it-works Parmesan and Black Pepper Biscotti. But here, I give you an uber chocolately cookie, where chocolate is the star of the show, the better the chocolate, the stronger the flavour. I used a mixture of almonds and filberts because that's all I had, and I promise these will please any kind of chocolate-lover out there. Someday my chocolate lake will come true, meanwhile, all I can do is keep baking my heart out.

And for the best part of this post, my friend Lisa had an extra set of measuring spoons and so kindly suggested I give them away here. They're super cute, each spoon have their own little saying and there's nothing like a little spoonful of love in your baked goods. All you have to do is leave a comment, sharing your favourite chocolately dessert, then on Wednesday July 11th, 2012, I'll randomly select a winner. So comment away people!

Giveaway results! So, I had some difficulty configuring the randomizer so that the random number I chose would show, but when I clicked it the number 9 showed up which means...Mandy is now the owner of a new set of measuring spoons! Thank you all for commenting, it was fun reading your favourite chocolate desserts.

Chocolate Biscotti
From David Lebovitz 

Use the best quality cocoa powder you can get your hands on. I used Cocoa Barry and love the intense dark chocolately flavour.

Makes about 50 to 60 cookies

2 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cups top-quality cocoa powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

¼ teaspoon salt
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon almond extract
1 cup almonds, toasted and very coarsely-chopped

1 large egg
2 tablespoons coarse or crystal sugar

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F degrees. In a small bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt.

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

3. 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.

4. 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.

5. 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.

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. 

Recipe here!

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