Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Intensely Chocolate Fudgy Biscotti with Dates & Almonds

What is the deal with ironing?

Really. My clothes end up more wrinkled than they started off so clearly I'm doing something wrong. And, why does it just. take. so. freaking. lonnnnnggggg! I mean, it's an iron. It looks harmless and easy enough to use. You plug it in, it gets hot and you press it against your clothes to make them flat. This is pretty basic stuff, no? Then why the heck can I not do it!?

I honestly think the act of ironing is a gift. Maybe they should hold competitions or something. Right alongside hot dog eating competitions, ribs fest, cake decorating and flaring, there should be ironing. This could totally become a trend. I'm pretty sure there are some hardcore Nannies out there that would love to prove me right.

As much as I can't iron, I can definitely bake. So hopefully you can disregard my wrinkled shirt-dress if I bring you a freshly baked plate of cookies. Deal? Done.

I've made really dark, super chocolatey biscotti with almonds and dates. This seems like the prefect recipe to add to your Christmas cookie list or for a cookie exchange. It's also fair game at 10:36 pm on a Friday night when you're too exhausted to go out but are completely aware that it's too early (and too lame) to go to bed just yet. What I'm trying to say is that basically you can cross "Intensely Chocolatey Biscotti" off your list of things to make this year. You're so very welcome.

The best part is that these are super easy to make (way easier than ironing and probably even less chance of getting burned!).

Biscotti are lovely because there are few steps required to make a good...no, great one! 

The dough is a bit firmer than your traditional cookie dough because of the lack of a creaming step where you beat together soft butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Biscotti dough is very much a 'dough' in that the eggs and melted butter are simply stirred into the dry ingredients until evenly combined. A little bit of working with your hands is totally expected with biscotti dough, but do not knead because we do not want to make bread.

When it comes to the second bake, you have some options. For a soft and fudgy texture, just go about 5 minutes at 300 degrees F. For a crisp and more traditional biscotti, go for the full 10 or 15 minutes to properly dry them out.

Now, prepare to get chocolateasized!

Intensely Chocolate Fudgy Biscotti with Dates & Almonds
makes about 30 biscotti

220 g (1 ½ cups plus 1 tbsp) all-purpose flour
60 g (about 2/3 cup) unsweetened cocoa powder
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
100 g whole almonds, roughly chopped
2 large eggs
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
¼ tsp espresso coffee grounds or instant coffee granules
200 g (1 cup) sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
56 g (¼ cup) butter, melted and cooled
120 g dates, roughly chopped

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir in almonds and set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, vanilla extract, coffee granules, sugar and melted butter until smooth. Pour this mixture into the bowl with the dry ingredients, add dates and stir gently until combined. Use your hands if necessary to bring the dough together. The dough will be stiff.

Divide dough in half. On a work surface dusted lightly with cocoa, roll each half into a log about 10 inches long. Place the log on a parchment-lined baking sheet and flatten it with your hands. Brush it very lightly with milk and sprinkle with sugar. Bake until dry and cracked at the surface, about 20-25 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for about 20 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 300 degrees F. 

Slice biscotti logs into about ¾-inch pieces and place them back on the baking sheet, cut-side-down. Bake for 5-15 minutes, depending on how soft or dry you'd like them. Store in an airtight container.

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