December 7, 2013

Baked Gifts: Chocolate Biscotti Recipe

For the holiday season, I'm repeating this post from 2012. This Chocolate Biscotti Recipe from David Lebovitz is easy to make. Bake a delicious gift!

Start out with good ingredients such as Valrhona Cocoa,
demerara sugar, slivered almonds and chocolate chips.

As a fan of food and bigger fan of Paris, I follow the blog of expat American +David Lebovitz, pastry chef, author of cookbooks and one of my favorite iPhone apps, Paris Pastry®. I made his Chocolate Biscotti Recipe for holiday gifts. 

Is it possible for an amateur like me to turn out great biscotti?

I took David's advice and searched out the best cocoa as he proclaims it makes a big difference. At the new +Sur La Table® in Durham, I found +Valrhona® Cocoa Powder  (made in France) and while a bit on the pricey side, I'm now a convert to this brand. Intense chocolate. I also picked up demerara sugar (for the glaze) and slivered almonds at the local +Southern Season in Chapel Hill.

Pause for technology tip: You'll note that there are now plus signs in front of some links. These are easy links provided by Google+ to profile pages so I don't have to go searching the web while I type and copy/paste in web addresses. I converted my blogger profile to Google+ for easier link-up. These links aren't paid or click ads.

I started with a fresh bag of flour (Trader Joe's®).
To keep flour from flying everywhere, I put the bag in a
big bowl to contain the mess while I scoop.
Toasting almonds on stovetop.

I've never succeeded at toasting almonds in the oven. I tend to look away at the wrong time and end up with a burned mess. Now, I use a Calphalon® nonstick crepe pan that is flat. No butter or oil. I gently shake the pan, or stir with a wooden spoon, over medium (gas) heat until the almonds are lightly toasted. They will continue to toast in the hot pan, so I immediately put the almonds in a bowl until ready to add to the biscotti batter.

The biscotti batter is very thick, so don't be alarmed. David doesn't use butter and this gives you a perfect, dense biscotti. The almond-cherry biscotti that I've made before, used butter. To me, the texture is better without.

Biscotti is "twice baked" and the only thing difficult about making it is patience. After the first baking, the two logs look good enough to eat, but don't do it! 

After first baking. (I use parchment paper on a cookie sheet.)
Slice on cutting board, using a serrated bread knife.
Cool for fifteen minutes after first baking. Slide the biscotti off of the parchment (or silicone mat) onto a cutting board. Use a large serrated bread knife and cut the logs into half inch pieces. 

Re-reading David's recipe, he says to "diagonally cut" and I didn't catch that, so I cut straight slices. It didn't seem to be an issue with my biscotti. I managed to cut forty-eight biscotti out of my two logs and David lists fifty to sixty.

Place the slices onto a parchment-lined cookie sheet and return to oven for second baking. I rotated the pans halfway through the bake time. My range is duel-fuel, so the oven is electric.

Final verdict: this is the best biscotti recipe that I've made. So much better than store bought, so don't hesitate to try David's recipe if you've got the time for baking.

Biscotti slices are ready to go into the oven for second baking.
Ready to enjoy!
Notice the nice demerara sugar glaze on the edges.

For gifting, I purchased red fold-down food bags from The Kitchen Store® at University Mall in Chapel Hill. These cute bags were only fifty-nine cents each. I like the Christmas tree window that shows off the contents.

Store biscotti for two weeks in an airtight container. Trust me, these goodies will be eaten long before they expire—dip in espresso or other coffee. 

Ready to gift.
Ready to keep for two weeks (eaten in two days).
PS technology tip:  I used my iPhone 4s for all photos.

Words and photos by Freda CameronDefining Your Home, Garden and Travel. All company or product or patented names mentioned are registered trademarks, copyrights, or patents owned by those respective companies or persons. 
Freelance travel writer. My current fiction writing projects include a completed manuscript and several works in progress.

By the way, my name is pronounced fred-ah, not freed-ah. Thank you.

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Click Pic for Travel Stories
Paris, France; September 2013

The Musician. My late husband

The Musician. My late husband
Paris 2011