However, every once in awhile, I finished early. These were the best days as I would be able to enjoy the early morning silence, the sort of magical time of day when the sun is just starting to peek out and the rest of the world is starting to come alive. In this time, I would sometimes sit with the newspaper - I loved Wednesdays for the food feature - for about five minutes.
And if I was really lucky, I would be opening on the day after biscotti baking. The end pieces were always set aside and were fair game to us. I would dunk the end of the biscotti into a steamy hot mug of foamy vanilla latte until it was dangerously close to crumbling into the bottom, before letting it melt in my mouth. Pure bliss!
My love for biscotti grew on those early summer mornings, but I never actually made my own, until now. I decided I wanted a decadent breakfast treat for Easter weekend and biscotti fit the bill. Not only are these a tasty treat, they also stay fresh for a week or more, perfect for a holiday weekend when I don't want to spend the entire time in the kitchen.
Cherry Walnut Chocolate Biscotti
from Baking: From My Home to Yours, by Dorie Greenspan (get this book today!)
Ingredients2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tbsp instant espresso powder (You can leave this out but I think it adds a depth of flavor.)
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
6 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup chopped nuts (I used 1/2 cup chopped walnuts and 1/2 cup dried cherries.)
4 oz bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
DirectionsPreheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment or a silicone baking mat.
Sift together the flour, sugar, cocoa, espresso powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
Jasmine wanted to be on the blog so she did her cute flop and roll in the background.
Cream the butter and sugar on medium speed about 2 minutes, mixture may be crumbly. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the eggs and vanilla and beat for another 2 minutes; don't worry if the mixture looks curdled. Reduce 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, chocolate and dried fruit.
This is the part where I try not to eat the entire bowl of dough - I have no fear of raw eggs.
Turn the dough out onto a work surface and knead in any dry ingredients that might have escaped mixing. Divide in half and shape each portion into a 12 inch log. Flatten each log with your hand so they are about 1 inch tall and 2 inches wide. Place each log on the baking sheet and sprinkle with a little sugar. Bake for about 25 minutes, until slightly firm.
These look like giant Tootsie Rolls, mmmm Tootsie Rolls.
Be sure to leave plenty of space between the logs since they will expand quite a bit.
This is what they look like after the first round of baking.
Remove the sheet from the oven and let it cool on a rack for 20 minutes. (Leave the oven on.) Using a serrated knife, cut each log into slices between 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick. Leave the slices standing up and arrange on the baking sheet. Return to the oven for another 10-15 minutes.
Transfer biscotti to a rack to cool.
These make a great gift and travel well if you are heading to Grandma's house for Easter - Enjoy!