Yes folks, it is that time again. After taking the month of December off, the Secret Recipe Club is back in full swing for another year of amazing shared recipes and new-to-you websites to follow.
This month I was lucky to get the blog “Crumb,” written by Isabelle, a darling gal from Canada who lives, breathes, and dreams about food. She is a very talented writer and photographer and we are the lucky recipients of her kitchen adventures in the Great White North.
It didn’t take me long to figure out which recipe I wanted to make from her blog. These chocolate biscotti are right up my alley and of course The Artist was beyond thrilled when he heard what I was making! Densely chocolatey and studded with nuts and more chocolate bits, these cookies hit it out of the park every time!
Biscotti were originally designed to be dipped in espresso before eating, so they are triple baked to make them super crispy. If you want them strong enough to withstand dipping, bake them as directed or even a little longer. If you like them a little softer like I do, you can either skip the last 10 minutes of baking or stop after slicing them. I always take a bite after each baking and pull them out when I think they are perfect. Remember that they will continue to firm up as they cool.
This time I cut the final baking time to 5 minutes because they had a terrific crunch, but were still a bit tender in the center. Also, gluten-free flours bake differently than wheat does, so always check and bake them to the right consistency for you!
Isabelle points out that the quality of chocolate really matters in these cookies. I always recommend that you use the best quality chocolate that you can afford. My personal favorites are Guittard, Scharffen Berger, Valrhona, and Callebaut. These cookies are so good on their own that you could even leave out the chocolate chips!
My log of cookie dough came out with the most beautiful crackled surface, probably because of the gluten-free flours I used; Isabelle’s look more traditional. I loved the look of mine so I didn’t drizzle them with the white chocolate that I was planning on, but by all means, feel free to decorate yours!
The Artist and I were elbowing each other to get more of these cookies, LOL! That is always a good sign in our kitchen and he is looking forward to enjoying a couple of the cookies with his cup of espresso in the morning.
Thank you Isabelle for a fantastic recipe. The Artist already added it to his favorites list!
Have a wonderful time enjoying these bites of pure heaven and Happy Chocolate Monday!
Jane’s Tips and Hints:
Using a granton-edge slicing knife is the best choice because it bites into the cookies to start the slice and then smoothly works its way through the log without shattering these delicate cookies. A granton has identical dimples along the entire length of the blade. These are generally designated as “slicing” knives and occasionally called a “ham slicer.” If you have ever been to an event where there is a chef with a toque slicing a prime rib or ham for a buffet, chances are good he was using a granton-edge knife.
Whenever you are baking with gluten-free flours, don’t forget to use the same one for your bench flour. If you only bake GF occasionally, it is easy to forget and reach for your regular flour to dust your rolling pin or work surface. Be careful and keep the regular flour put away so you don’t grab the wrong one by mistake.
Chocolate Brownie Biscotti
Yield: 18 to 20 cookies
1-3/4 cups flour or gluten-free all-purpose blend
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa (check for gluten ingredients)
1/2 tsp baking soda (Bob’s Red Mill makes a gluten-free version)
1/2 tsp baking powder (Rumford brand is gluten-free)
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/3 cup finely chopped walnuts, pecans, almonds, or other nuts
4 oz bittersweet chocolate, roughly chopped (I recommend Guittard, Valrhona or Scharffen Berger brands)
2 tsp instant coffee granules or espresso powder
2 tsp hot water
3 large eggs
Melted dark and white chocolate, for drizzling over the top, optional
Preheat oven to 325°F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper, and set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, combine together flour(s), sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, salt, nuts and chocolate bits. Set aside.
In a small mixing bowl, dissolve the instant coffee in hot water. Add vanilla extract, then whisk in the eggs until well combined.
Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, and stir with a wooden spoon until you have a loose, somewhat crumbly dough. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface, (use gluten-free flour if needed) and knead lightly until the dough is soft and slightly sticky, about 8 to 10 times. Shape into a 16-inch-long roll.
(I used my KitchenAid that kneaded the dough for me. Transfer straight to the lightly floured parchment covered baking sheet and form into a log. This was a very sticky dough so be sure to flour it and your hands well – use GF flour if needed – to form the log and use the parchment to help form it.)
Transfer the roll to the prepared baking sheet, and flatten into a 1-inch thick slab.
Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until the top of the slab feels firm and dry. Remove from the oven, but do not turn off the heat. Set the slab on a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes. (Grab the edges of the parchment paper and slide the whole cookie log onto a wire cooling rack.)
Once the slab is cool enough to handle, move the parchment and log onto a cutting board, and cut into 1/2-inch thick slices using a serrated knife. Place the slices back on the baking sheet, cut sides down, and return to the oven to bake for 10 minutes. Turn cookies over, and continue baking for another 10 minutes (the cookies should be just a bit soft in the center – don’t worry, they’ll harden up once they cool).
Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
If you want to drizzle them with chocolate, melt it in the microwave, stirring often and use a whisk or fork to drizzle it over the tops. I always leave them on the wire rack and place a sheet of parchment underneath to catch the drips. Wait until the chocolate has hardened before moving them.
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