Monday, January 24, 2011

Chocolate Pecan Biscotti

Biscotti is Italian for "twice baked," which is exactly why these hard cookies are easy to store long term or ship as gifts and are perfect for dunking in a hot cup of coffee in the mornings. This recipe has more of a shortbread texture than the pre-packaged biscotti you get at most coffee shops.

  • For smaller biscotti, use two cookie sheets and form the dough into three or four smaller logs. Adjust bake time accordingly. I prefer big, meaty biscotti like these, so I bake as two logs. 
  • I sometimes bake the logs the night before, let them sit out on the counter to harden overnight, then slice and bake the second time the next day if I have time.
  • Try all kinds of different variations for this recipe. One of my favorites is slivered almonds with 3 Tb aniseed and almond flavoring. Another is to add 1/2 cup cocoa  powder and reduce the flour to 3 cups for a chocolate biscotti. Add dried cranberries or cherries. 
  • For an extra yummy touch, dip half of each biscotti in melted chocolate and let set on wax paper. The possibilities are endless.  
Chocolate Pecan Biscotti
 Adapted from the Aniseed Biscotti recipe in the 2005 Taste of Home Annual Recipes cookbook.
When baking as two large logs, this recipe makes about 16 large biscotti.

1 cup butter (2 sticks)
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 cup roughly chopped and toasted pecans
1 cup (6 oz) good quality chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 325'.
1.) Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs, beating well after each. Beat in vanilla.
2.) Combine flour and baking powder. Beat into wet ingredients.
3.) Using a spatula or wooden spoon, mix in pecans and chocolate.
4.) Divide dough into two large "logs" on a lined baking sheet. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until lightly browned and sounds hollow when you tap lightly on the top. Let cool completely.
5.) Transfer to cutting board and cut into 1" slices with a long, thin serrated knife or butcher knife.
6.) Places slices cut side down on baking sheet and bake an additional 10 minutes. Turn over and bake another 10 minutes until both sides are lightly browned and cookies are hard.
7.) Let cool on wire racks. Cookies will continue to harden as they cool.
8.) Store for one to two weeks.

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