Sunday, December 19, 2010

Chocolate Cherry Almond Biscotti

This is a quick, pre-Christmas cookie post. We made these beauties to accompany the date and pistachio biscotti below. These are so good!! I switched the semisweet chocolate for white chocolate and in my opinion it really makes these cookies. It adds just the right amount of sweetness and helps bring out the cocoa flavor in the cookie.
One other thing I changed were the almonds. I couldn't find whole unblanched almonds so I just opted for blanched slivered almonds and used about 3/4 of a cup so as not to overwhelm the batter with almond slivers. It worked out fine. Another note to whoever takes on these cookies - they bake up HARD. These are not biscotti for the wimpy. These are the real deal. Crunchy and a small workout on the teeth. So if you have some weak molars etc. then be sure to soak your biscotti in some strong espresso first, or maybe a little cappuccino. I read that the absence of butter in biscotti recipes gives them that authentically hard, tack-biscuit consistency. If you're not a fan of the harder biscotti then find a recipe that uses butter. I found these to be just perfect though.
On top of that, they are just plain ole' pretty. The color contrast is nice and the little colored beady sprinkles stand out nicely against the snowy white chocolate background. They just put me in the holiday mood. How about you? I hope you get a chance to enjoy some delicious cookies this season.

Dried Cherry and Chocolate Biscotti with Almonds
Source: Emeril Lagasse,
2 cups flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
Pinch of salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup unblanched whole almonds
1 cup dried cherries
3 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
8 ounces semisweet chocolate, melted
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a mixing bowl, sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Stir in the almonds and cherries.

In another mixing bowl, whisk the eggs, sugar, and vanilla until smooth. Stir the dry ingredients into the egg mixture. Mix well. Lightly dust the work surface. Turn the dough onto the surface and knead the dough a couple of times. Shape the dough into a log, about 12 inches long and 4 inches wide. Place the dough on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for about 30 minutes, or until golden and firm to the touch. Remove from the oven and cool completely on a wire rack. Using a serrated knife, slice the bread diagonally into 1/4-inch slices. Place the slices on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for an additional 12 to 14 minutes or until golden and crispy.

Remove from the oven and cool completely a second time on a wire rack. Dip half of each biscotti in the melted chocolate and place on a parchment lined baking sheet and refrigerate until the chocolate sets.

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