There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea. --Henry James
Henry James was talking about English tea with scones and clotted cream, finger sandwiches and sometimes much more. I'm a tea drinker and spent time in Italy when I was younger, so I think there's nothing better than a biscotti with my afternoon (or morning) tea. Here are two great recipes for Dark Chocolate Biscotti. Enjoy!
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup butter, softened
about 12 ounces of good dark chocolate, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla (I use real vanilla--Madagascar vanilla is great)
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup finely chopped hazelnuts or almonds
Heat oven to 350°F
Combine sugar and butter in large bowl; beat at medium speed, scraping bowl often, until well mixed; add 2 cups melted chocolate chocolate, eggs and vanilla; continue beating until well mixed.
Reduce speed to low; add flour, baking powder and salt; beat until well mixed; stir in nuts by hand.
Divide dough into three equal pieces. Shape each 1/3 into a 12 " long roll.
Place rolls 5 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet (you'll probably need 2 cookie sheets); flatten each roll to 2-inch width; bake for 25 minutes or until set.
Cool on cookie sheet 15 minutes.
Reduce oven temperature to 300°F; Cut rolls diagonally into 1/2-inch slices with serrated knife.
Place on cookie sheet, cut-side down; bake for 10 minutes; turn slices; continue baking for 12 to 15 minutes or until dry and crisp; cool completely.
I also found a recipe on Eggs on Sunday which is an adaptation of Dorie Greenspan's Baking from My Home to Yours biscotti recipe. Amy gives some tips for making these biscotti that also work with the recipe above. #1 She whisks all the dry ingredients together rather than sifting to break up lumps. She then creams together the butter and sugar for 2 minutes. (Butter should be room temperature).
Check out her Step-by-Step: My Favorite Chocolate Biscotti for helpful tips and great photos.
For me the best tip: Thanks, Amy. Since you're going to bake the logs whole and then cut them into individual biscotti, score the logs about halfway down before putting them in to bake! It makes it a lot easier and with much less cracking. Use this tip with the biscotti recipe above, too!
I've changed a few things in this recipe, too
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I like a high grade dark cocoa)
2 tbsp instant coffee or instant espresso powder (ok, this is something I don't have hanging about. Not sure you do, but you can buy this especially for this recipe)
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
6 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup chopped nuts --either hazel nuts or walnuts.
4 oz dark chocolate (over 70% organic/fair trade), coarsely chopped
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment or a silicone baking mat.
Whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa, coffee powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
With a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar on medium speed about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the eggs and vanilla; beat for another 2 minutes. Decrease the speed to low and mix in the dry ingredients in 3 additions, mixing only until a dough forms. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix in the chopped nuts and chocolate.
Although you can add dried fruit at this point, too, I wouldn't. Guess just having the nuts is enough for me.
Turn the dough out onto a work surface and knead a few times to pull the dough together into a ball. Divide into two portions; shape each portion into a 12 x 2 inch log. Place each log on the baking sheet. At this point, score the log with a knife where you plan to cut it into biscotti this helps to cut it later without it cracking. Bake for 25 minutes.
Remove the sheet from the oven and let it cool on a rack for 20 minutes. Then, slice the logs diagonally into 3/4-inch thick slices and leave the slices standing up on the baking sheet. Return to the oven for another 15 minutes of baking. (notice this is a different technique than the recipe above. If the slices are thinner, they won't stand up)
Transfer biscotti to a rack to cool.