Sunday, March 14, 2010

Recipe: Deep Chocolate Biscotti

Biscotti means cookie in Italian, but when most of us think of biscotti, we think of those sliced crunchy cookies, that we have come to associate with the term biscotti.
I also associate them with Klingons....
Remember Lt. Worf from Star Trek? He was the only character to star in 279 episodes from the Star Trek: The Next Generation, to Star Trek: Deep Space Nine to a few Star Trek movies.
The character, Lt Worf was a Klingon, a warrior race that used to be the enemy of the Federation, but was orphaned and raised by human parents. He was also the first Klingon officer in Star Fleet. His character was intriguing, strong, conflicted and lovable.
Klingons, as you might recall, see things as very "black or white". They value loyalty, strength and victory. Worf was Klingon, but his values were tempered by his compassionate human parents. Throughout the course of the many series, we learned a lot about Worf. And most of it made him even more lovable. Before going into battle, rather than showing fear, he recited the Klingon mantra, "today is a good day to die".
When relaxing after a mission, he went to the bar on the starship with other officers to unwind. While other officers drank ale, etc, Worf tasted prune juice and declared it a "warrior's drink" to the amusement of the audience.

I have always thought that Biscotti were a "warrior's cookie" and would therefore make fantastic Klingon cookie! Good Biscotti is tough, crunchy and strong.

Biscotti is traditionally paired with wine or coffee, the idea being you can dunk it in the drinks to soften it. Since biscotti's popularity in America it has taken on new textures and some biscotti is more cakey- than cookie, more crumb than crunch.
To me, since I have gotten older, I prefer the crunchy hard cookie. I like biscotti with tooth, with either nuts or dried fruit, but not chocolate chips or shavings. I am not one who likes it dipped in chocolate and decadent, I want a Klingon cookie, after all.

Here is a recipe that breaks one of those rules, the addition of white chocolate chips.... In the future, I would replace the white chocolate chips with either chopped nuts or chopped dried cranberries... but to each his own. Some of us prefer Klingons, others prefer Ferangei.

Deep Chocolate Biscotti aka Klingon Cookies
2 1/4 cups flour
3/4 cup + 1 T cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3 eggs, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp espresso powder
1/2 tsp almond extract
1 cup white chocolate chips (or nuts or dried fruit, chopped)
2 T white sugar for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 350.
Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a bowl whip the eggs with sugar until light and fluffy. Mix in the vanilla and almond extract.
On a piece of wax paper, mix the flour, baking soda, cocoa powder, espresso powder and salt.
Combine the dry ingredients with the egg mixture. - mixture will be stiff.
Stir in the white chocolate chips (or nuts or dried fruit) into the thick dough.
Divide dough in half and make a 12 inch long log.
Place on baking sheet and flatten the top to create the typical shape.
Repeat with the remaining dough.
Sprinkle with 2 T sugar.

Bake at 350 for 25 minutes.
Remove from oven and let cool for 15 minutes. This step is important and shouldn't be rushed, otherwise the cookie will crumble!
Slice each loaf into thin slices and return to baking sheet.
Bake for 10 minutes, then flip cookies over and bake for an additional 8 minutes.
Remove from oven and let cool.

Serve with coffee, wine or prune juice!

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