My mother-in-law has a special spot in her heart for biscotti, and her passion has been passed down to her son and daughter. With both siblings’ birthdays in April and Mother’s Day in May, what better opportunity for the daughter-in-law?
And the best part is, my mother-in-law loves them. They’ve been part of her Christmas gift for the last two years, and both times she called in January to tell me that she had hidden and hoarded them, enjoying one every few days to make them last. She called me after she ate the last one and told me she needed more, pronto- the biscotti were helping her maintain her sanity.
When I first set out to make biscotti, I had my heart set on a “mocha” flavored cookie and I felt like I had won the lottery when I found this recipe. I increased the espresso powder slightly, and the effect is exactly what I was looking for– crunchy, crumbly texture with an initial pungent punch of espresso, followed by the bitter/smooth combo of 60% cacao chocolate. Add in the ribbons of white chocolate on top and the occasional burst of white chocolate sweetness in the biscotti, and you’ve got heaven. Italian cookie heaven.
I use Ghirardelli chocolate chips, because the quality and taste is pretty consistent, I think they’re much better than some of the cheaper brands, and they won’t break the bank. Target seems to have them every Christmastime, so I stock up for a few batches throughout the year.
Chocolate espresso biscotti
Adopted from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking: From My Home to Yours
2 c all-purpose flour
1/2 c unsweetened cocoa powder
3 T instant espresso powder (I used the darkest instant coffee powder I could find, because I couldn’t find instant espresso)
3/4 t baking soda
1/4 t baking powder
1 t salt
6 T unsalted butter, room temperature
1 c sugar
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 t vanilla extract
1/2 c (4 oz.) bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped or chips
2 c (16 oz) white chocolate, chopped or chips
Center a rack in the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, espresso powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar together on medium speed until pale, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs and the vanilla and beat for another 2 minutes. (Don’t worry if the mixture looks funky; it gets better, I promise.) Reduce the mixer speed to low and mix in the dry ingredients gradually, mixing only until a dough forms. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix in 1 cup of the white chocolate and all of the bittersweet chocolate.
Sprinkle some flour on a clean work surface. Dust your hands with some flour – the dough may be very sticky. Turn the dough out and knead in any dry ingredients that might have escaped mixing, and then divide the dough in half. Working with one half at a time, roll the dough into 10-inch long logs. Transfer logs onto the baking sheet. Flatten both logs so that they are 1/2 to 1 inch high and a couple inches apart.
Bake the logs for 20-25 minutes, or until they are just slightly firm. The tops should spread and crack during baking. Remove the baking sheet from the oven, place on a wire rack and allow to cool for 20 minutes. Then working with one log at a time, cut each log into slices 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick– cut parallel to the shorter edge. Slightly separate the slices on the baking sheet. Bake the cookies again, this time for 10 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool.
While cooling, melt the remaining white chocolate. (I add 1/2 tsp. of shortening, if I’ve got it, to the melting chocolate to encourage a glossy consistency.) With a teaspoon, drizzle the white chocolate over the biscotti in ribbons. Let the chocolate set before serving or storing.
*These cookies can be stored in a sealed container for a few weeks, or indefinitely in the freezer- if they last that long. Enjoy!