In which I pretend to be Italian and throw my head back to laugh gaily while making fresh biscotti.
I always assumed that making biscotti would be difficult or boring. I don't understand the point of eating biscotti, but, then, I don't drink coffee or tea or hot cocoa or anything one would want to dunk biscotti into. Eating biscotti without dunking it into something first seems like a suicide mission for dental work to me, but you can't really pay attention to me on such matters since I'm constantly chomping on fresh peppermints, which is probably a stupid habit for a 40-something person with 40-year-old teeth.
My husband, however, DOES drink large amounts of coffee, and he'll eat anything that doesn't contain butter beans. He's like my own personal goat and/or garbage disposal. I'm a picky eater, so I just shove anything I don't want on to his plate. #soulmates. Thus, he seemed like the perfect person to "reward" with my test batch of chocolate biscotti. He's also, unlike me, a very enthusiastic person who is easily impressed, so it's more fun baking for him than, say, for an asshole.
I used the double chocolate biscotti recipe from The Great British Bake Off Everyday cookbook, which is a few years old now. It seems as though no one has previously put the recipe on the Internet, but I was able to find the book and the recipe on Google Books. If you follow the link and click the "next" button/link two or three times (located in the yellow bar across the top of the book), you'll hit upon the recipe.
I've grabbed a snapshot of the ingredients, and you'll find the rest of the recipe at the link below.
Is there anything more beautiful than a huge link in the middle of a blog post? It's like a Da Vinci painting.
The recipe starts out simply enough--you melt the butter and, while it's melting, whisk the eggs and then the vanilla sugar until they're frothy and whimsical, like Donald Trump's soul. You're also supposed to toast the almonds at this point, which I apparently dismissed because I definitely did NOT do that. I also didn't chop each nut in half after toasting them. Who in the world has time to chop individual almond slices in half? A bored stoner? Joe Biden? (Diamond Joe is probably excellent at chopping almonds in half.) Once the butter is melted, you pour it into the eggs/sugar/vanilla mixture and whisk at high speed for 10 seconds.
Melted butter (microwave works for me):
Frothy, whimsical mixture:
Then, you sift the flour, baking powder, salt, and cocoa into the mixture and stir in thoroughly with a wooden spoon. When all of the dry ingredients have been thoroughly incorporated, you then dump in the nuts and the chocolate and stir them in. (I had to use part chocolate chips because I didn't have excess bars of dark chocolate in the cupboard. Now I do. I could soothe the psyches of 10-15 perimenopausal women with the chocolate bars stacked up in my cupboard.)
The next part is the fun bit: you divvy up the dough and form it into two blocks (on a prepared baking sheet--I just used a silicone baking mat) that are approximately 9 inches long and 3-4 inches wide.
They don't look like poop. Stop being immature.
Now, they go into the oven for their first bake, which lasts around 25-30. They should be barely firm when you press on them. When you take them out of the oven, you leave them on the baking sheet until they're entirely cold; they have to be cold to slice properly.
When they're totally cool, it's then the time for slicing! Using a serrated bread knife, cut the loaves diagonally so that each slice is approximately 1 centimeter thick. Then, lay the slices cut side down on the baking sheet--and you don't have to worry about spacing them out.
For the second bake, they should go into a 350 F oven for 10-15 minutes and then, when removed, be allowed to cool completely before finishing them with any decorative flourishes. Biscotti is a lot like my hair; it must be allowed to rest during the styling process or ALL CONTROL IS LOST. This recipe, for example, requires that the ends be dipped into melted dark chocolate, but you could also drizzle the chocolate over the slices with a fork or pipe the chocolate on in a zig-zag fashion.
I chose the dipping method.
Aren't they so lovely? I really don't like eating most chocolate products, but I LOVE working with chocolate. The results always look lush and rich and luxurious and delicious, which is satisfying for someone like me, who is often not successful in making baked goods look beautiful. (I don't attain "perfection" or "shower every day.")
There is nothing to these! I have so enjoyed making the varieties of biscotti I've tried so far that I intend to make all of the biscotti recipes in the Bake Off cookbooks. People, like my husband, really seem to appreciate homemade biscotti because who on earth makes homemade biscotti these days? And people appreciate nothing more than something delicious and crispy to eat with their coffee or tea. 1. They're (a lot) faster than making bread. 2. They're especially great for winter, when people are drinking many types of hot beverages. 3. They're difficult to mess up. This recipe is a winner!