#BakeTogether chocolate Cookies Desserts Make ahead

Double Chocolate Almond Biscotti

Every year, my gal pals and I do a cookie exchange. We bake 1 dozen cookies for each participant & package them up – some fancy (Ann’s) & some no-so-much (mine). On the day of the exchange, this year it’s at Jen’s house, we assemble our cookie piles on the table and after a little catch-up, we go around the table collecting one bag from each pile. Most of us make the same cookie year after year and our families have come to expect (demand) their faves. A few faves include Jennie’s brownie trays; Beth’s milk chocolate crunches (she won’t give the recipe – I’ve tried!); Ann’s bourbon balls; Linda’s crisp and buttery oatmeal cookies; Betsey’s chocolate covered toffee; Laura’s PB kiss cookies; Polly’s Butter Pecan Sandies (from my first Kid’s cookbook) and Jen’s biscotti. That leaves me and Claire… our offerings bounce from chocolate crackles to molasses cookies to chocolate chip doubledeckers (from The Weekend Baker) to shortbread. While I usually wait to hear what Claire is making, this year I’m going with the Chocolate Coconut Checkerboards (sans coconut due to a certain someone’s allergy) from my brand new book The Everyday Baker (page 150). To get the recipe for this cookie + the two biscotti recipes I mention below, you’ll need to buy said book HERE. You’ll be happy and so will your family and friends.
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But before I get baking for our annual cookie exchange, I usually send cookies to my daughter Tierney for her to share with  friends and colleagues. I’m mailing ’em so they need to be sturdy as well as good keepers so, like last year, I’m turning to Biscotti.  I’m making Cardamom Biscotti with Dried Fruit & Nuts (page 146 in TEB) & Espresso Chocolate Biscotti Straws (page 158 in TEB). Check out the book here or, for these recipes, buy The Everyday Baker HERE.  
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and…. These Double Chocolate Biscotti!

Before we dive into the recipe, just a reminder that I did a series of video baking classes with my friends at Craftsy.com. We call the series, Baking Bootcamp – Cakes & Crusts. While a great starter course for newbie bakers, it’s also a great way to check in with me and learn up-close how I bake. I cover measuring/weighing ingredients (SUPER important); preparing pans; mixing & frosting a single layer banana cake (clearly I have a ‘thing’ for single layer cakes); making a 4-layer chocolate cake with a  killer frosting; two easy tarts with one decadent filling and a full -on, in-depth look at pies and their crusts. I keep the classes super real – all the mishaps and mistakes are out there for us all to see and learn from! Are there are times I would have preferred to re-do or edit? You betcha but I believe we can all learn from snafus — and it’s proof that no one is perfect. Not even me, and I’ve been baking for well, eons…  I hope you tune in and please let me know what you think!

now.. about those biscotti..

A few notes: Here’s the dough being divide and shaped – use lightly dampened hands to keep this sticky dough off your fingers.

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After the first baking, the tops will have a dull finish and lovely deep cracks.

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Once cooled, use a serrated knife to cut the logs into 1/2-inch thick slices. For clean slices, use a gentle sawing motion to break through the crust and then push down firmly on the knife.

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Double Chocolate-Almond Biscotti

Makes about 44 cookies

1 2/3 cups (7 1/2 oz.) unbleached all-purpose flour + more for shaping

1 cup (7 oz.) firmly packed brown sugar

2/3 cup (2 oz.) unsweetened natural cocoa powder, sifted if lumpy

1 1/4 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. table salt

1/4 tsp. baking soda

1 cup (5 oz.) whole (natural or blanched) almonds, lightly toasted and roughly chopped

1 cup (6 oz.) chopped chocolate or chips (bitter or semisweet or white chocolate)

2 large whole eggs, at room temperature

1 egg white from large egg, at room temperature

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

1/2 tsp. pure almond extract

  1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 325°F. Line one cookie sheet with parchment or nonstick liner.
  1. Put the flour, brown sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, salt and baking soda in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on medium-low speed until well blended. Add the nuts and chocolate and mix briefly to combine.
  1. Put the eggs, egg white, vanilla and almond extract in a 1-cup measure (the spout makes pouring easier and cleaner) and stir with a fork until well blended. With the mixer on low speed, slowly pour the egg mixture down the side of the bowl. Continue mixing until a moist, crumbly dough forms, about 1 minute. Dump the dough onto an unfloured work surface and divide into two equal pieces (about 17 oz. each). Using lightly dampened hands, press and shape each pile into a 10 x 2-inch log, rewetting your hands as needed and arrange the cookie sheet about 4 inches apart.
  1. Bake until the tops are cracked and the dough inside the cracks looks moist but not gooey, 35 to 38 minutes. Move the sheet to a cooling rack and let the logs cool until they are cool enough to handle, 10 to 15 minutes. Keep the oven set at 325°F.
  1. Using your hands or an offset spatula, loosen the logs from the liner and set one on a cutting board. Using a serrated knife, cut crosswise at an angle into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Use a gentle sawing motion to break through the crust and then push down firmly on the knife. Return the biscotti to the baking sheet and arrange them cut side down–it’s ok if they are touching. Repeat with the remaining log. Bake until the biscotti are dried to your taste, 8 to 12 minutes. Move the sheet to a rack and let cool completely before serving.

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