Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Chocolate Cherry Biscotti

Chocolate Cherry Biscotti
a David Lebovitz recipe

If you are looking for something special to make your valentine this year or as a treat for yourself, these biscotti would fit the bill.

Biscotti are twice-baked, crunchy Italian cookies which don't use any fat or oil.  David Lebovitz's version are not too hard to make and they are packed with flavor---toasted almonds, dried cherries re-hydrated in cherry liqueur, and chocolate chips.

We've made them twice now, once for our cookie exchange with neighbors at Christmas, and again after the new year, to have with our morning coffee.

Everything in David Lebovitz's cookbook, Ready for Dessert, My Best Recipes, has been excellent.

Note from B:  Look for the dried cherries in the bulk aisle, and be sure to toast your almonds in advance.  And be sure to use Dutch-process cocoa powder.  Coarse-crystal sugar is sometimes called finishing sugar, Turbinado or raw sugar.

Chocolate-Cherry Biscotti
(a David Lebovitz recipe)

Makes 50 to 60 biscotti

3/4 cup (90 g) dried cherries, coarsely chopped
2 T. kirsch (cherry liqueur), grappa or rum
2 cups (288g) all-purpose flour
3/4 cup (75 g) unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1 t. baking soda
1/4 t. salt
1 t. freshly ground black pepper
3 large eggs, plus 1 large egg for glazing
1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
1/2 t. almond extract
1 cup (125 g) almonds, toasted and coarsely chopped
3/4 cup (120 g) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate chips
2 T (30 g) coarse-crystal sugar, for sprinkling

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone baking mat.
In a small saucepan, combine the dried cherries and kirsch, grappa, or rum.  Bring to a boil, then remove from the heat, cover, and let cool to room temperature.

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt and pepper.

In a large bowl, whisk together the 3 eggs, granulated sugar, and almond extract.  Gradually stir in the flour mixture, then add the cherries and their soaking liquid, the almonds, and the chocolate chips and mix just until the dough comes together.

On a lightly floured work surface, divide the dough in half.  Using dampened hands, shape each half into a log 3 inches in diameter.  Set the logs lengthwise on the prepared baking sheet, evenly spacing them apart.  Dampen your hands and gently flatten the tops of the logs.

In a small bowl, whisk the remaining egg.  Generously brush the logs with the egg wash, then give the logs a second coat.  Sprinkle each log with 1 T. coarse-crystal sugar.

Bake, rotating the baking sheet midway through baking, until the logs feel firm to the touch, about 25 minutes.  Remove the baking sheet from the oven and decrease the oven temperature to 300 degrees.  Let the logs cool on the baking sheet for 10 to 15 minutes.

Transfer the logs to a cutting board.  With a serrated bread knife, cut each log diagonally into slices 1.2 inch thick.
Place the cookies, cut sides up, in a single layer on the baking sheet.  (If necessary, use an additional baking sheet.)
Bake until firm, 20 to 30 minutes, flipping them midway through baking.  (Note from B:  which means turn each cookie over.)  Let cook completely, they'll continue to firm up as they cool.

Store them in an air-tight tin or ziplock bag.  They freeze well.
Excellent with morning coffee!


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