Bittersweet Chocolate Biscotti
from Maida Heatter


Extra hard and crunchy- thicker than most- and especially dark and delicious, made with chocolate and cocoa. After you mix and shape the dough, it will have to spend 45 minutes in the freezer before it is baked. It will then be baked twice for a total of 1 hour and 45 minutes.




ABOUT 36 BISCOTTI


9 ounces (generous 2 cups) whole blanched (skinned) almonds
6 ounces semisweet chocolate
1 3/4 cups sifted unbleached flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tablespoon instant espresso powder (I use Medaglia D’Oro.)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 eggs plus 1 egg white graded “large”
1/2 packed cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Scant 1/2 teaspoon almond extract or 1/4 teaspoon bitter almond extract


First toast the almonds: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and bake the almonds in a wide, shallow pan in the center of the oven, stirring once or twice, for 12. or 13 minutes, until very lightly colored. Set aside to cool.


Chop or break the chocolate into small pieces and place in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal chopping blade. Let stand.


Sift together into a large bowl the flour, baking soda, salt, cocoa, espresso, and granulated sugar.


Add about 1/2 cup of the sifted dry ingredients and about 1/2 cup of the almonds to the chocolate. Process for about 30 seconds, until the chocolate and nuts are fine and powdery.


Add the processed ingredients to the remaining sifted dry ingredi­ents and stir to mix. Stir in the remaining almonds; set aside.




In a small bowl beat the eggs and egg white, brown sugar, vanilla, and almond extract until mixed.


Stir the egg mixture into the dry ingredients (you will think there’s not enough liquid, but it will be OK). I use a large rubber spatula and push the ingredients together).


Now place two 15 to 20 inch lengths of plastic wrap on the work surface.


The dough will be thick and sticky. You will form a strip of it on each piece of the plastic wrap. Spoon half the dough in the middle— down the length—of one piece of plastic wrap to form a strip 12 inches long.


Lift the two long sides of the plastic wrap, bring them together on top of the dough, and, with your hands, press on the plastic wrap to smooth the dough and shape it into an even strip 12 inches long, 3 inches wide, and 3/4 inch high, with squared ends.


Repeat to form the second strip.


Place the strips on a cookie sheet and put in the freezer for about 45 minutes or until firm.


To bake, adjust two racks to divide the oven into thirds and preheat oven to 300 degrees. Line two cookie sheets with baking parchment.


Open the two long sides of the plastic wrap on one strip of dough and turn the dough upside down on a lined sheet, placing it diago­nally on the sheet; slowly peel off the plastic wrap. Repeat with the second strip and the second cookie sheet.


Bake for 1 hour, reversing the sheets top to bottom and front to back once during baking to insure even baking.


After one hour reduce the temperature to 275 degrees and remove the sheets from the oven. Immediately, while very hot, peel the parch­ment away from the back of a strip and place it right side up on a cut­ting board.


Use a pot holder or folded kitchen towel to hold the hot strip, and use a serrated French bread knife to cut it with. Cut across the strip, either straight across or on an angle (straight across is easier), cutting slices about 34 inch wide.


Place the slices, standing upright, on a cookie sheet.


Repeat with second strip.


Bake at 275 degrees for about 45 minutes, until completely dry. Reverse the sheets top to bottom and front to back once during baking.


Cool and store in an airtight container.