The chocolate biscotti recipe in Cookies and Brownies is a perfect answer for those folks who aren’t big sweets eaters. The espresso gives the biscotti a grown-up flavor, and cocoa powder, rather than chocolate, means these aren’t as sweet (or sticky) as brownies or cookies.
I tested this biscotti recipe using two different kinds of cocoa powder, and making the appropriate substitutions for baking powder and baking soda (variations are listed in the recipe below). The differences were subtle, and mostly affected the taste of the biscotti.
A few notes on this recipe:
- I used Scharffen Berger for the Natural cocoa and Drost for the Dutch process cocoa.
- I used Illy espresso powder
- Assumed 1 c flour = 4.5oz
- The recipe made with natural cocoa powder produced a reddish-brown crust with a matte finish. The Dutch process cocoa produced a darker brown crust with a slightly shiny crust.
- Both versions dried and stored the same and were, by all accounts, the same texture (crumb looked the same, they broke in the same way).
Biscotti made with dutch process cocoa: Espresso flavor dominant – giving it a slightly tobacco aftertaste (someone described it as the smell of a paper bag)
Biscotti made with natural cocoa: More intense chocolate flavor, and smelled like devil’s food cake when baking. Seemed sweeter.
2 c AP flour
1/2 c unsweetened Dutch process cocoa powder, preferably imported
2 tsp instant espresso or coffee powder
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
8 T unsalted butter, softened
1 c sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 c walnuts, coarsely chopped
Cookie sheet, lined with parchment paper or greased and floured
- Preheat the oven to 300F. Position a rack in the middle of the oven.
- Combine the flour, cocoa, espresso powder, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl and mix together thoroughly with a whisk or fork. Set aside.
- Using the back of a large spoon, in a mixing bowl or with a mixer, beat the butter and sugar together until soft and creamy.
- Mix in the eggs and vanilla.
- Add the flour mixture and stir just until all the ingredients are moistened.
- Add the walnuts, mixing with your hands, if necessary.
- Divide the dough in half.
- Shape each half into a long, flat oblong loaf, about 10 inches long, 4 inches wide, and 3/4 inch high on the cookie sheet.
- Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out dry.
- Cool for 5 to 10 minutes.
- Transfer the load carefully to a cutting board.
- Using a long serrated knife, cut the loaf on the diagonal into slices about 3/8 inch wide. Lay the slices, cut side down, on the cookie sheet.
- Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the surface of the cookies feels dry and crusty.
- Place the cookie sheet on a rack and cool the cookies completely before stacking or storing.
Makes about 36 biscotti
May be stored, airtight, for several weeks
This recipe comes from Alice Medrich's Cookies and Brownies, and is available on Purple House Dirt with permission from the author.