I happen to love biscotti, and usually make them with almonds or anise seeds, like this biscotti recipe from my Italian grandmother.
However, today’s recipe for chocolate almond biscotti has raised the status of biscotti from a simple crunchy cookie to a sublime chocolate treat, and all this richness without butter! I used the recipe from the excellent blog by David Lebovitz, but made a few small changes that I modestly feel really make these biscotti rock.
Make sure you use a good quality unsweetened cocoa powder, and for the chocolate bits, I use a 72% bittersweet chocolate, which makes these biscotti really luscious.
Since the Italian word “biscotti” literally means cooked twice, these crisp cookies are first baked in the shape of a long thin cylinder, then after cooling, they are sliced and placed cut side up on a baking sheet for the second baking – this is what makes them crunchy and allows them to be stored for a longer period of time (though they will likely disappear long before they have a chance to go stale.)
If you have a small finicky oven like I do, you will have to do the second baking on 2 baking sheets, and bake them separately. If I put two baking sheets in the oven on different racks, at least one of the pans produces burnt cookies, so it is worth the extra time to bake the sheets separately.
I love these chocolate biscotti with crunchy almonds when they are dipped into a foamy cappuccino – breakfast of champions!
Chocolate Almond Biscotti Recipe from Italy
- 2 cups (280g) flour
- 3/4 cups (75g) unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 3 medium eggs
- 1 cup (200g) sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp almond extract
- 1 TB espresso
- 1 cup (125g) peeled almonds, toasted and coarsely chopped
- 3/4 cups (100g) bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
- Preheat the oven to 350F (180C) degrees.
- Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt, and set aside.
- In a large bowl, beat together the 3 eggs with the sugar until thick and well combined.
- Beat in the vanilla and almond extracts and the espresso.
- Gradually stir in the dry ingredients, then mix in the nuts and chopped chocolate.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- On a lightly floured surface, shape the half of the dough roughly into a cylinder the length of the baking sheet, and do the same for the second half of the dough.
- Transfer the cylinders onto the baking sheet, leaving space between them.
- Bake for 25 minutes, until the dough feels fairly firm to the touch (though the chocolate bits will be gooey-yum!) turning the pan midway through to allow for even baking.
- Remove the pan from the oven and cool 15 minutes.
- On a cutting board, use a serrated bread knife to diagonally cut the dough into scant 1/2-inch slices.
- Lay the slices cut side down on baking sheets and return to the oven for 10 minutes.
- Take the pan out of the oven, and quickly turn each biscotto over, then place back in the oven for another 10-15 minutes, until the biscotti feel quite firm.
- Cool on rack and store in an airtight container.
- Makes about 60 biscotti.