Wednesday, 9 April 2014

{RECIPE}: Chocolate Pistachio Biscotti from Sprinkles!

I have another fab recipe from Sprinkles! by Jackie Alpers today. This post almost didnt happen because I've misplaced the photographs I had taken. I say misplaced, but what I mean is lost. And by lost I mean gone. Sad face. This is what happens when you wake up at 5am and spend the next 12 hours at your desk. Your butt goes numb, your sight blurs and you forget things. Just six more weeks and I shall never have to study this hard again. Like, ever.

But, the bake was so good that I felt it would be wrong (a crime, really) to not at least document my experience and give you a chance to try it for yourself. I'll sub in my own pictures if I (eventually) find them, although I can tell you they don't look as good as Jackie's photograph.

I've only made, and eaten, biscotti once before - Chocolate and Lavender Biscotti from Miche Bacher's Cooking with Flowers. I have a strong aversion to lavender and the biscotti wasn't the prettiest of bakes. It was also really hard and I worried I would chip a tooth. However, it did smell incredible and taste delicious. It's been a while since I made them and so when I came across Jackie's recipe and saw how fun and pretty hers looked, I was convinced to give them another go.

I would recommend making this on a day when you've got time to spare - it's not the kind of bake for when you're in a rush and looking to throw something together. The preparation itself doesn't take very long, but you have to bake it twice, and then leave it to cool in between the bakes as well as before and after decorating. That's a lot of waiting, so feel free to read a book (The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt) or play Candy Crush to pass the time (update: Level 410).

The mixture produces two logs, each of which have to be baked twice. Unfortunately one of the logs spread too thin whilst in the oven the first time round and turned in a heap of oozing chocolate mess. The second log survived. I'm not entirely sure what went wrong, but I think it may have had something to do with their position in the oven (the failed log was in the centre, and the success log placed above). I let them both cool, and then slipped the second log back into the oven after slicing it into 1/2 inch slices. But I decided to scrape the gooey mess of the first log and eat it straight from the tray - and oh gosh it tasted so damn good. I loved the once-baked mess so much, I was beginning to regret twice-baking the other log ... but considering Biscotti means twice baked, literally, pulling it back out would have defeated the purpose of the bake.

I don't mean to brag, but with so many baked goodies always coming from my oven, I'm pretty sure my house is the best smelling house on the street. And, these biscotti were no exception. Smell good they did, but the taste? The different textures of the gooey chocolate chips, the crunch of the pistachio and the nonpareils make the biscotti so much fun and it tasted delicious. They required dunking into my morning coffee, but fearlessly as they weren't as hard as my first biscotti experience. I think I may have had more coffee than usual just so I had an excuse to dunk these.

Try it for yourself, and if you like this recipe, then you should try the other two I've tried from Sprinkles!: Fairy Bread Sandwiches and Windowpane Cookies.

Chocolate Pistachio Biscotti

THE RECIPE: Makes 2 dozen.

Biscotti means "twice baked" in Italian. First you form the crumbly dough into one stiff mass and bake it whole. They you let it cool, slice it, and bake it again at a lower temperature. That's what gives biscotti an almost crackerlike quality, which goes especially well with coffee. This triple-chocolate double-baked treat is dipped in dark chocolate coating with sprinkles on top. Dip it in your cofee and then pop it in your mouth.

2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
1 cup packed light brown sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon pure almond extract
1 teaspoon ground coffee
1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
1 cup shelled pistachios
About 1/2 cup (4 ounces) coloured candy melts
About 1/3 cup red nonpareils, or any other sprinkles

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. In a large bowl, whisk flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Using an electric mixer on low speed, beat in eggs for about 1 minute, until a crumbly dough forms.

2. In a separate large bowl, beat brown sugar with butter, extracts, and coffee until combined. Add sugar mixture to flour mixture and beat on low speed until a dough begins to form. It will not come together completely. Fold in chocolate and pistachios.

3. Turn out dough onyo a lightly floured surface. Press dough together with your hands, forming it into one mass. Then divide into two equal parts and form into two logs. Place one log on each prepared baking sheet and press it with the palm of your hand to flatten to a width of about 3 inches.

4. Bake for 20 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through the baking time. Remove from oven and lower oven temperature to 250F. Let dough rest on pans for 20 minute. Dough will be slightly spongy to touch, similar to a dense bread.

5. Transfer logs to a cutting board. Using a serrated knife, cut into 1/2-inch slices. Return the slices, cut side up to the baking sheets. Bake for another 40 minutes. Transfer cookies to wire racks to cool.

6. Melt candy melts in a dip mugor bowl according to package directions. Dip cooled biscotti halfway in melted candy melts. Place on parchment paper and decorate with dragees and sprinkles.


  Sprinkles! by Jackie Alpers is published by Quirk Books. © Quirk Books.

*Disclosure: The recipe has been posted with permission.


Georgia The Comfort of Cooking said...

These are so beautiful! I love biscotti, but have never made a chocolate variation before. You've inspired me!

ThisGirlBlogs said...

I haven't tried a non-chocolate variety yet - it's next on my list! :)

Mary@SiftingFocus said...

Nazia, these are adorable! My belief is, when food looks enticing, it tastes even better. So, these must taste fabulous.

ThisGirlBlogs said...

You are so right, Mary!

Iris B. said...

The way the British use the word "biscotti" always makes me giggle. In English, it's specific for this kind of recipe, while in Italian it's the common word for every type of biscuit you can possibly think of. Cookies, custard creams, shortbreads, you name it...they're all "biscotti" to us :P

Well done on this new bake, and I hope to get to see your own pictures soon. The chocolate twist to the classic recipe is very interesting indeed - and there's pistachio, too!

ThisGirlBlogs said...

Haha, I had no idea!

BabyJune said...

Mmmm, I just adore biscotti. Chocolate biscotti are the superior type, in my opinion, so this looks like another version I'll just have to try. :) Nonpareils make it really cute though.

ThisGirlBlogs said...

If you love biscotti, then you'll definitely love these! And you're right, the nonpareils definitely give it the cute factor :)

Sadaf F K said...

Not a fan of homemade biscuits, nor tried it. But yours sounds it really worth trying. :)

ThisGirlBlogs said...

Homemade biscuits are the best! Since I started baking my own, I can't remember the last time I tried the store bought kind. There really is nothing more satisfying and they smell incredible. If you've never made biscuits before, then I would recommend starting with sugar cookies, or chocolate chip - they're super easy and delicious. See the index for my recipes on both :)

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