Chocolate Dipped Almond Biscotti

almond biscottiIf you love drinking coffee, or you have spent a decent amount of time anywhere near Italy, then I am sure you have a special penchant for Italian Almond Biscotti. Starbucks was responsible for my introduction to this delicious crunchy cookie; one bite and I was totally hooked!

How is it different from other cookies? And why is it special? Well, when you bite into a well-made Biscotti, the exterior is hard enough to make a crunching sound but soft enough that your teeth sink into the slightly chewy interior. And you’ll never have a bite without an almond in it, which is the way it should be.

Thanks to my friend Susan and her very talented Mother-in-Law, we now have a traditional Italian Almond Biscotti recipe, straight from Scialo Brothers Bakery in Providence, Rhode Island. And what makes it extra special is the generous coating of Chocolate Ganache that forms the base of the Biscotti.

[Recipe & photo courtesy of Susan from FoodBlogga]

Italian Almond Biscotti (Chocolate Dipped)

1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour (King Arthur preferred)
Pinch of cinnamon
1 tsp baking powder
3 Tbsp butter, softened
2 eggs beaten with 3 Tbsp vanilla extract
3 cups whole almonds (skins still on)
Egg wash (egg mixed with a little water)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Mix the sugars, flour, cinnamon, baking powder, butter, and almonds in the bowl of a stand mixer, or mix by hand in a large bowl. Add the eggs with vanilla as the mixture goes around.

Take the sticky mass out and divide it into sections, rolling each into a log, flattened just a bit, on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. You should wind up with 3 1/2 logs. It’s better to split them between two baking sheets because they spread out slightly while baking. Paint with egg wash.

Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven until firm, but not too hard. Begin checking after 30 minutes; it may take up to 45 minutes.

Remove from oven and let rest for several minutes (about 7-8 minutes) until they are firm enough to slice on the diagonal. Too little resting time will cause them to break apart while slicing; too long of a resting time will make them as hard as brick!

The number of biscotti will vary depending on the size of the log and how thick you make your slices. My mother-in-law cuts 1-inch wide slices, which yields approximately 30 biscotti.

Chocolate Dip
The original recipe is for plain almond biscotti, but if you’d like to dip them in chocolate, then pour a 1 pound bag of bittersweet chocolate chips (or chocolate of your choice) in a double boiler over low heat. As soon as the chocolate begins to melt, remove it from the heat and stir with a spoon until it becomes silky. Dip the bottom of the biscotti in the chocolate, letting any excess drip back into the bowl, then place on a rack (with parchment paper or foil underneath it for easy clean-up). You may use a little less or a little more chocolate, depending on how many biscotti you slice. Allow the chocolate to harden completely before removing from rack.

You can store these Chocolate-Dipped Almond Biscotti cookies in an air-tight container in the fridge, for about 2 weeks. Just remove them and leave at room temperature for 10 minutes before serving.

They are best when served with a hot cup of coffee. Oh, and don’t forget to dunk them in hot coffee so the chocolate turns all melty and makes your coffee taste like mocha. Why? Because that’s how these cookies are supposed to be relished!

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