Tuesday, December 4, 2012
My foray into annual Christmas cookie baking began yesterday, much earlier than my usual sprint that begins on December 23 and ends in the wee hours of Christmas morning. (True story.) Indeed, I am quite sure I have never baked cookies the first week of December, but I was keen to attend a swapping event with the New England Culinary Guild. I thusly scrambled and multi-tasked madly to get a batch of biscotti into the oven while juggling a number of other work activities and deadlines. Moving at a speedy pace, I somehow managed to get it all done, more or less. No time for tempering chocolate, alas, but the cookies came out as I expected, happily—albeit I kept on wandering into my office wearing an oven mitt.
Dark Chocolate Biscotti
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and butter and flour a large baking sheet. Whisk dry ingredients together and set aside. Beat butter and sugar until fluffy, then add eggs and vanilla and mix well. Stir walnuts and chocolate chunks into the flour to coat, then mix into the egg batter with a wooden spoon. Dough will be stiff.
For standard-sized biscotti, form dough into two logs, about 15 inches long and 2 inches wide and flatten. (Note: I often make mini biscotti, creating 3 logs that are 1.5 inches wide. Because these cookies expand during baking, it’s not as small as it sounds. see photos here.) Bake 20-25 minutes (depending on the size), until slightly firm to the touch. Cool 7 minutes.
Cut the cookies on the diagonal into 1/2-3/4 inch slices. Arrange on baking sheet cut sides down and bake 7 minutes. Turn gently and bake an additional 7 minutes, then remove from oven and place cookies on racks to cool.
This recipe is terrific as written. For variation, try adding 1/2 -3/4 cup of dried cherries in place or instead of some the walnuts or chocolate chunks. And, to make these cookies a bit fancier, drizzle with dark or white chocolate or dip one end completely into chocolate. (This variation is shown here.) While additional chocolate is always pretty and a sublime finishing touch, it is truly not needed to enjoy these delectably crisp cookies; I’ve eaten them both ways as time and whimsy dictate. Either way, because of the big chocolate flavors, no one will ever know you used whole wheat flour.
Happy Whole Grain Holidays indeed!