In cold weather, you deserve a hot drink and a tasty treat. As a creator of tasty treats, I am an authority on who deserves treats, and it’s definitely you. Also, why not feel a wee bit fancy with your treat? Biscotti is a wee bit fancy! Biscotti will also match your coffee, and your pumpkins, and you black cats, and your lovely scarf perfectly! Can you tell where I’m going with this? It’s time for a delicious Chocolate Biscotti recipe! (And I’m feeling autumn-y and a bit silly today.)Jump to Recipe
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As a North American, I consider most things that originate in Europe to be more fancy and more classy than things here. I get that it’s silly, but you know what? European culture is a lot older than modern North American culture. So I see it as looking up to and admiring an older sibling. (Shout out to older siblings! We only copy your and follow you around because we love you!) All that to say, in Italy the word biscotti is used like the word biscuit in England or like the word cookie here. They use it to refer to any small, slightly crunchy cookie. The specific biscotti that we know tends to be called Cantucci, and was popularized in Tuscany.
Before becoming popular in cafes amongst the classy folk, biscotti were a food for tough times. The word biscotti, comes from the Latin bis cactus literally meaning Twice Baked. The dough would be baked first to cook it through. Then baked again (after being cut into shapes) in order to dry it out and preserve it. This long lasting dry cookie would be eaten during times of little food and by the Roman Legions. As an army food, it sort of reminds me of the survivalist hardtack. And my more dorky side is reminded of Lembas bread, from The Lord of the Rings, which is also meant to last a long time in harsh conditions.
Unlike hardtack and Lembas bread however, the biscotti the Roman armies ate was eventually turned into the Tuscan cantucci. Which originally flavoured with the almonds that are abundant in the area. Once these delicious treats were adopted by other bakers throughout Italy and eventually throughout Europe, more flavours were added. Now, the flavourings in biscotti can be anything you can get into the dough.
Dip your Biscotti
Since coffee is so prominent in Italian culture, I assumed that biscotti was always meant to be dipped in it. However, when I was in Italy, I learned that a lot of Italians also dunk their biscotti in wine. Usually dessert wines at the end of a meal. Cookies dunked in wine kind of sounds like a dream to be honest.
While I was there, I didn’t have the foresight to ask if there was any specific wine you’re meant to do this with. And through researching biscotti, it seems that there is a bit of debate. You will find a lot of articles that cite Vino Santo as the traditional dunking wine of choice. While others like this one that say otherwise. I guess you should just decide for yourself what kind of alcohol to dunk your cookies in and just live your best life.
Chocolate, Of Course.
If you’re a frequenter of this website you’ll know that my day job is as a chocolate maker. The byproduct of this being that a lot of my recipes include chocolate. And my suggested pairings for a lot of foods include chocolate. Basically, you should just eat as much chocolate as possible. So obviously, this recipe is for a chocolate biscotti. I like mine drizzled in chocolate. I know some folks get nervous when it comes to chocolate drizzles, thinking that they must be tempered. Eventually I will make a post about tempering chocolate. But for now I will say, if you know how to do it, go for it. If you don’t, don’t worry about it.
The untempered drizzle won’t be as shiny, and snappy, but it will be meltier and will still be delicious. I use a disposable piping bag for my drizzling so that it’s a bit more even. You can use a spoon though if you don’t have piping bags.
If your chocoholic side is still craving more chocolatey goodness check out some of my other chocolate recipes. Mocha Chocolate Mousse for a creamy simple dessert. Chocolate Chili to bring more chocolate to the dinner table. Or how about you double the goodness and dip your new biscotti into some Rich & Creamy Drinking Chocolate? Yum!
- 2 cups All Purpose Flour
- 1/2 cup Cocoa Powder
- 1 tsp Baking Powder
- 1 tsp Salt
- 1/4 cup Butter Softened to room temperature
- 1 cup Brown Sugar
- 2 Eggs
- 1/4 tsp Almond Extract
- 1 cup 70% Chocolate Chopped
- Extra chocolate for drizzling
- Heat oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, cream together the butter and brown sugar. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing fully after each one. Then add the almond extract.
- Stir the dry ingredients into the butter mix, until almost combined. Finish stirring it while adding the chopped chocolate.
- Knead the dough into a cohesive mass in the bowl. Then dump onto a clean, lightly floured work surface. Shape it into a long flat log. It should be a little bit shorter than your prepared baking sheet, about 3 inches wide, and only about 3/4 inch tall.
- Place the flat log onto your baking sheet, and bake for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for about 15-20 minutes, until you can handle it more easily. Turn the oven down to 325F.
- Using a sharp knife, slice the log on a diagonal into 1/2 inch slices. Separate the slices, lay them on their side, spread out onto the baking sheet.
- Bake for another 5-6 minutes. Flip the slices over and bake for another 5-6 minutes. They should be more crisp and dry on both sides than when you sliced them. How dry you get them is up to you. If you want them more crisp, bake them for a couple minutes longer.
- Allow to cool fully on a wire rack. While they cool, Melt about 1/2 cup of extra chocolate in the mircowave or over a pot of hot water. If you are familiar with tempering chocolate you can go ahead and temper it for drizzling. It's not 100% necessary though. I like to use a disposable piping bag to drizzle my biscotti, but you can also drizzle with a spoon. Simply drizzle as much chocolate as you like over your biscotti, and allow to cool and harden.