Cakes, cupcakes and fruit crumbles are my favorite baked treats. Only because they require very little hands-on time apart from mixing up a few ingredients. Any recipe that requires me to handle some sort of dough makes me think twice. I dillydally, toying with the idea in my mind before I get around to actually trying it out. Baking bread or pizza is fun because the dough is firm and I get to punch it to my heart’s content. It’s the sticky cookie dough that gets me. Actually I rarely eat cookies because of this reason alone. I hate the store-bought ones (too sweet…ugh!) and am too lazy to make my own.
That was the only thing that kept me from baking biscotti so far. Any time I craved one, I popped into the nearest Starbucks. Or I would buy a pack of rusk, which is also a kind of double-baked bread popular in India (introduced long back by the British). I somehow love the rather plain taste of a crispy slice of rusk, making it the perfect accompaniment to a steaming hot cup of tea or coffee.
Last weekend our local Starbucks ran out of biscotti and I had nothing better to do all afternoon. It was time to get baking then. I adapted this simple recipe for a chocolate biscotti. I made two logs, one with just cocoa powder and the other with some chopped cashew nuts added to the chocolatey dough. You can mix in any kind of chopped nuts, dried fruits or chocolate chips to the dough.
You will need:
- All purpose flour – 2 cups + a little extra for dusting
- Cocoa powder (unsweetened) – 1/2 cup
- Baking soda – 1 tsp
- Salt – 1/2 tsp
- Butter – 6 tbsp, softened
- Sugar – 1 cup
- Eggs – 2, large
- Vanilla/almond extract – 1 tsp
- Nuts, dried fruits or chocolate chips – a small handful, roughly chopped (optional)
- Powdered sugar – 1 tbsp, for dusting
- Pre-heat the oven to 350 deg.F and line a 9 inch x 13 inch baking pan with foil or parchment paper.
- Sift the dry ingredients (except sugar) together and keep aside. Whisk well till combined.
- In another bowl, beat the butter and sugar till creamy. Add the eggs and vanilla/almond extract and mix well.
- Add the flour mixture to this and combine well to make a dough. Add the nuts or chocolate chips too, if desired. The dough will come together, but will be slightly sticky. Add a light dusting of flour if it seems too sticky to handle.
- Divide the dough in half. Flour your hands well and form each dough ball into slightly flat logs of size 12 inches x 2 inches on the baking pan. Make sure to space the logs at least 2 inches apart. Lightly dust with powdered sugar on top.
- Bake for 30-35 minutes or till the tops are cracked and slightly firm to the touch. Do not turn off the oven yet.
- Remove the baked logs from the oven and cool for 5-10 minutes in the pan. Transfer the logs to a cutting board and slice them diagonally. Slice them thin (1/2 inch) or thick (3/4 – 1 inch) as per your wish.
- Bake the slices for 10-12 minutes or until nicely crisped. You may need to do this batches. Cool completely on a wire rack and store biscotti in airtight containers.
- Enjoy your biscotti dunked in a cup of warm milk or hot tea/coffee.
- Traditional biscotti is crisp and dry. But you can slice the logs thick and bake them for a slightly lesser time the second time around, for biscotti with a crisp exterior and slightly chewy centers.
- You can also totally ditch the second round of baking and you will end up with slightly crunchy cookie-like biscotti. Maybe then you cannot call them biscotti… unicotti maybe?!! I ended up with a small batch of these ‘unicotti’ as my hubby is not a big fan of the super crisp, rusk-like ones. They are delicious nevertheless!
- You can also dip the biscotti in melted chocolate or drizzle some on top.
Enjoy some light biscotti on a breezy, warm and sunny Spring afternoon!
Even if you’ve never baked biscotti before or if you are a pro at it, do try this recipe!
Next on my list are panna cotta and cannoli, two of my other must-try-at-home-sometime Italian desserts. They have such cute names too, right?!! I also have a neat idea in my mind on how to make cannoli without using the traditional molds and deep-frying the shells. That’s another nemesis of mine – boiling hot oil. Stay tuned and keep your fingers crossed I get around to making them soon!
I am linking this up at these awesome blogs.
- A Blossoming Life
- Skip To My Lou
- The Dedicated House
- Between Naps on the Porch
- Home Stories A To Z
- My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia
- A Stroll Thru Life
- Cedar Hill Ranch
- Coastal Charm
- Elizabeth & Co
- House On The Way
- Savvy Southern Style
- The NY Melrose Family
- The Turquoise Home
- Living Well Spending Less
- Design Dining and Diapers
- The Novice Gardener
- The Shabby Nest
- French Country Cottage
- Common Ground
- My Romantic Home
- The Charm of Home
- Thirty Handmade Days
- Crafts a la Mode
- Love of Family and Home
- DIY Show Off
- Nifty Thrifty Things
- By Stephanie Lynn