Chocolate-peanut biscotti, dipped in chocolate

<Yearly, holiday baking always has to start with these biscotti for me. They are not particularly christmassy but they are the first cookies I ever baked by myself so I have some sort of special attachment to them, sort of a first step into woman-hood. I was expecting a disaster as I had always been told baking had to be precise to the milligram but I was happily surprised when these golden brown cookies speckled with chocolate came out.

They are dry without being hard and just crumbly enough. Good as is, they are even better when dipped in dark chocolate and rolled in peanut bits. I usually double the recipe just because everybody loved these, and they are so easy to make (though decorating may take some time). I think next year (or whenever I can), I might try them with some other kind of nut, pistachio maybe.

Chocolate-peanut biscotti
Adapted from BHG Holiday Cookies Magazine, December 2001
Makes : 30 biscotti
Prep time : About 40 minutes
Baking time : About 30 minutes

• 1 cup roasted peanuts, divided (unsalted), coarsely chopped
• 3 ounces semisweet chocolate baking squares, finely chopped
• 5 tablespoons butter, softened
• ½ cup granulated sugar
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 2 eggs
• 2 cups all-purpose flour
• 2 teaspoons baking powder

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Line baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.
2. In mixer, on high speed, beat the butter and the sugar for about 3 minutes, until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until well blended.
3. In a small bowl, combine flour and baking powder. Reduce speed to low; blend in flour mixture. With spoon (or with hands!), stir in coarsely chopped peanuts and chocolate.
3. Divide dough in half. On a lightly floured board, form each half into a roll 1½ inches in diameter. Place on prepared baking sheet, flattening to make ½-inch-thick loaves. (at this point, you could wrap them in plastic wrap and freeze the dough)
4. Bake 15 to 20 minutes until loaves are dry to touch and slightly browned. Remove from oven; cool 5 minutes.
5. With serrated knife, cut loaves crosswise into ¾-inch-thick slices. Lay slices on baking sheet. Bake 10 to 15 minutes, until biscotti looks dry and lightly browned. Cool on wire racks.

• 1 cup roasted peanuts, finely chopped (unsalted)
• 5 ounces semisweet chocolate baking squares, coarsely chopped
• 3 tablespoons butter, softened

1. In small saucepan, over low heat, stir remaining chocolate and butter until melted and smooth. Dip melted chocolate over one end of each biscotti. Sprinkle finely chopped peanuts over chocolate. Let stand until chocolate hardens on cooling rack.

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