Chocolate Toffee Biscotti

Someday I will learn to read recipes before I start baking. Inevitably, I miss the “requires refrigeration” memo buried in the middle of the instructions. Someday I will also learn not to multitask in the kitchen. This was not one of those days.

I’ve never made biscotti before, mainly because I’m not big on crunchy cookies and most biscotti I’ve encountered resemble glorified cardboard rather than a cookie. That being said, I needed to bake something I could send in the mail, which meant chewy cookies would be crusty and sad by the time they arrived. So I pulled out Mindy Segal’s Cookie Love and started skimming – Segal graciously indicates how long her cookies will keep at room temperature in an airtight container.

Apparently biscotti will keep for up to two weeks! So! Since Segal’s recipes have been pretty stellar thus far, I figured if anyone was going to provide me with a good biscotti recipe, it’d be her.

2016-01-29 Biscotti bowlThen, as I am wont to do, I got a teensy bit over excited and decided to double the recipe. Not my most brilliant idea. This is a generous recipe (in theory making 48 biscotti), and doubling it just about out-matched my Kitchenaid. Stirring in all the chopped chocolate, toffee, and nuts proved a challenge.

Then, as I am wont to do, I put the first batch in the oven while on the phone… and missed a key step. I was supposed to brush the top with an egg white. Oops!

Now, the disaster that was the first batch could have been the consequence of two things: either the missing egg white or not waiting to let the dough chill sufficiently. Or maybe both. Or maybe I didn’t bake them long enough (took them out after 30 mins). I dunno. I just know I ended up with dark chocolate crumble that was not at all transportable.**

2016-01-29 Biscotti Crumble

A bit demoralized (and with a busy weekend ahead), I waited two days to try the second batch. These at least had ample time to chill. (I would recommend shaping the dough into logs before chilling, as it was somewhat uncooperative once cold).

I will say, the egg white helped. I also left them in 33 mins. However, after the requisite 20 mins of cooling time, I was only able to tenuously cut them into chunky, inch-thick strips rather than the delicate 1/2 inch that Segal recommends. Maybe I shoulda left ’em in longer, but my chewy-cookie-loving soul hurt at the prospect of over-baking. In hindsight, I see the ridiculousness of this in a biscotti situation, but still.

The final product has a nice crunch without being rock hard, tasty bursts of flavor, and, although still fragile, will probably be awesome with my morning coffee. Segal said she was going for an ugly cookie, and she got one. But it’s still better than any standard biscotti I’ve previously encountered.

Chocolate Toffee Biscotti (from Cookie Love by Mindy Segal)

Grade: B+ (might attempt again)

~~DOUGH REQUIRES REFRIGERATION~~
  • 1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 extra large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder (pref. Dutch processed)
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt flakes
  • 1 cup sliced almonds, lightly toasted
  • 1 cup chopped toffee
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped milk chocolate
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped dark chocolate
  • 1 egg white, lightly beaten
  • sugar for dusting

In bowl of stand mixer with paddle attachment, mix butter for 5-10 seconds. Add brown sugar, and beat on medium-high until mixture is aerated and pale in color (about 4 minutes). Scrape sides and bottom of the bowl.

Add eggs one at a time, mixing briefly until batter resembles cottage cheese. Add vanilla. Scrape sides, then mix on medium speed for 20-30 seconds until nearly homogenous.

In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salts.

Add dry ingredients to the mixer bowl and mix on low speed until dough comes together but still looks shaggy (approx. 30 seconds). Briefly mix in almonds, toffee, and chocolates. Finish bringing dough together by hand with a wooden spoon or bench scraper.

Transfer dough to plastic wrap and chill for at least 4 hours, but overnight is better.

When ready to bake: heat oven to 350 degrees and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Divide the dough in half and shape into logs. They’ll be long and narrow, and you want them to be about 2 1/2 inches wide.

Brush the tops and sides lightly with egg white and sprinkle with sugar.

Bake until the tops of the logs are firm when pressed and the bottom is lightly browned, 30-35 minutes.

Remove from the oven and let cool on the pan for 20 minutes.

Lower the heat to 300 degrees.

Transfer the logs to a cutting board and with a serrated knife (do your best to) cut them into 1/2 inch slices. Put the biscotti back onto the cookie sheet side by side, leaving a little space between. Bake until the edges are dry but the centers are still soft – about 25 minutes.

Cool completely on the pan. Biscotti will keep for 2 weeks in airtight container.

**I left the half-baked logs on the counter overnight and then cut them in the morning. They didn’t fall into a million pieces, but they’re also a weirdly in-between sort of cookie: not crunchy or sturdy enough to be dip-able but too crunchy/dry to meet my standards of deliciousness. I still ate a few since I didn’t have any other chocolate going on in my life. But they aren’t great. Just salvage material for the desperate.

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