People don’t have dinner parties much nowadays, which is really a shame, I think. I mean, they still happen, less formally usually, but mostly eating at someone’s house has been replaced by meeting them at a restaurant. And there is something lost in not cooking for friends and being cooked for by them. For one, you won’t be trading recipes afterwards, and, that is a loss indeed.
My mom’s apricot chicken isn’t really hers; it came from Alice, who had our family over years ago. My favorite butter cake came from Mrs. Newman, who made it for us—especially for me—many times before I finally coaxed the recipe from her. Some of my most-loved meals came from someone else’s kitchen.
In a way, maybe that’s part of the appeal of food blogging. Pull up a good food blog, and you’re the guest in someone’s home, someone you come to know if you visit often enough. You see what ingredients and preparation went into the meal. You read the host’s reactions and promises for good outcomes. Over time, you come to trust the blogger, and, as here I hope, you find yourself tucking away the recipes like you would a good friend’s.
That said, I’ve got a real treat for you. Of all the cookies I’ve given people, these are the ones that everyone wants the recipe for. They are the first biscotti I ever baked, the ones that I made for my friend’s wedding, the ones that taste like chewy chocolate cookies with a bit of bite. I’ve made them for my family, co-workers, a boyfriend, long-distance friends. Everyone likes them. While biscotti traditionally seems a bit more refined than a classic chocolate-chip cookie (I remember that same old boyfriend telling me a kid wouldn’t like biscotti, but that was before he tasted them) these will please any palate. (And, as an added bonus, there will be no pistachio shelling involved (!!).)
If you’re at all intimidated by the term biscotti—and won’t there be double baking involved?—don’t be. These are so, so easy, I promise, I promise. I’ll risk my whole you’re-eating-my-food reputation on it. These biscotti are the kind of cookies you can count on, perfect to wow anyone who likes chocolate, and the work involved is no more than it would take to make any other cookie.
Essentially, for biscotti, you make up a cookie dough–simple ingredients like butter, flour, sugar, eggs, with the boost of cocoa powder for the chocolate flavor—which will be formed into two logs and baked. Remove from the oven and cool for an hour or overnight, then slice up into biscotti-size pieces to be baked again.
You can bake them longer or shorter to define the crunch factor. And they only improve over the next few days.
Hello, Twitter! Everyone else seems to be tweeting, so I decided to join them. If you’d like to keep up with Food Loves Writing on twitter, you can do so here, under the title foodloves (and if you’re a food blogger on there, let me know your twitter name).
On to the recipe!
Adapted from Better Homes & Gardens
For a traditionally crunchy biscotti—the kind you dip in your coffee without it dissolving into your cup—you’ll have to bake these a bit longer (it’s best to keep your eye on them). Before you go for crunchy, though, taste them after the first bake—they’ll be soft, chewy, a lot more like a fudgey cookie than a crunchy biscotti. A lot of tasters prefer them that way, in fact.
1/3 cup butter
2/3 cup sugar
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 ¾ cup flour
¾ cup white baking pieces, or bar, coarsely chopped
½ cup semisweet chocolate, chopped
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
In a large mixing bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer on medium speed for about 30 seconds. Add sugar, cocoa powder and baking powder, and beat until combined. Next, beat in eggs.
Beat in as much of the flour as you can. Using a spoon, stir in any remaining flour, white baking pieces and semisweet chocolate. Divide dough in half.
Shape each half into a 9-inch-long log, and place these logs, about four inches apart, on a greased cookie sheet. Flatten them slightly until about two inches wide.
Bake logs in a 375 degree oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted near the centers comes out clean.
Cool on the cookie sheet on a wire rack for 1 hour (you can also wrap the logs in plastic and let stand overnight).
After you cool the logs, you slice them diagonally into biscotti-sized pieces. Place them, cut side down, on a fresh, parchment-lined cookie sheet. Bake for 7 to 9 minutes on each side, or for about 12 minutes total. Just watch them to see if they look like the right consistency.