I love when people come to join us from NYC at our weekend place in Pennsylvania. Mostly I love the company and secondly our friends are generous. Very generous. As they pile out of the car, they are usually accompanied by bags and bags of goodies from the best gourmet stores in NYC.
Most times, after all these imported treats are transferred to platters, we have a smorgasbord style feast on the deck or by the fire depending on the season. I just have to put out the wine and/or coffee and done. I find it extremely respectful and thoughtful that people arrive with food. Although I love to cook, and bake for people, it's nice to know I am not expected to on my weekends.
Recently invited to a weekend dinner party, I rummaged through my pantry to see what I could bake up to bring as a dessert. I had some bits and pieces left over from said friends and spied a half bag of smoked almonds from one of these generous souls. These, mini chocolate chips and soft light brown sugar found their way into a biscotti that turned out amazing.
Actually, the batter was so good I had to almost physically retrain myself from eating half of it. The biscotti themselves had a sweet smokey taste. The brown sugar added another complementary layer of flavor and with the little nuggets of semi sweet chocolate chips, the result was sheer biscotti perfection.
I went the extra lap and dipped half of the batch into melted semi sweet chocolate and then added chocolate sprinkles, only because there was a birthday boy at said dinner party and I wanted them to be extra fancy. These biscotti are plenty good and flavorful all by their naked selves. No extra finery required.
Smoked Almond Chocolate Chip Biscotti
- 2 cups AP flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 stick (4 oz) butter
- 1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1+1.2 teaspoons almond extract
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup smoked almonds, pulverized
- 3/4 cup semi sweet mini chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Whisk together the flour and baking powder and set aside.
- In the bowl of a mixer beat butter and sugar until combined.
- Add eggs and extract.
- Add flour mixture until throughly combined.
- Tun mixer on low and add almonds and chips just until evenly mixed in.
- Divide the dough in half. Working with one half at a time, shape the dough with your hands on one side (lengthwise) of the baking sheet into a long log about 3 inches wide. Pat the top down to make it flat.
- Repeat with the other half making sure there is at least 2 inches between the logs.
- Bake for about 20-25 minutes until the logs turn golden brown.
- Turn oven down to 250 degrees, remove the baking from oven and let stand about 10 minutes.
- Slice each log into 1 inch pieces. Lay them on their sides and return to oven.
- When the biscotti are completely dry, remove from oven and transfer to a wire rack to let cool completely.
For the Chocolate Dipped Version:
- 1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chopped
- A dab of vegetable shortening, if needed
- Chocolate sprinkles
- Place a sheet of baking paper under a wire rack or place the wire rack on the used parchment lined baking sheet
- Put chocolate in a shallow heat proof bowl and melt in microwave at 30 second intervals, stirring in between until chocolate is totally melted. If the chocolate is too thick, add a dab of vegetable shortening and blend. It will thin out the chocolate and make it easier for dipping the biscotti.
- Place chocolate sprinkles on a flat plate.
- Dip the bottoms of the biscotti into the melted chocolate and then gently press the dipped part in the sprinkles.
- Lay biscotti on it's side on the wire rack of if the space is big enough stand the biscotti upside down, chocolate dipped side up.
- When chocolate has hardened, remove from rack, plate and serve.