Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Chocolate Walnut Biscotti

These light and crunchy biscotti are wonderful and chocolatey but not too sweet. A splash of espresso adds a fantastic depth and roundness to their rich flavour, and dipped lengthwise into dark melted chocolate, takes these Chocolate Walnut Biscotti to a whole other level. These toothsome treats are the inspiration of pastry-chef Karen DeMasco, one of New York City’s most celebrated and talented pastry chefs. Formerly of Craft, and author of The Craft of Baking, DeMasco is currently pastry-chef at the celebrated Locanda Verde in New York, where she weaves her magic every night.

Pastry-Chef Karen DeMasco

Karen DeMasco's 'The Craft of Baking'

Chocolate Walnut Biscotti
Makes about 3 dozen
Recipe courtesy of Karen DeMasco of Locanda Verde NYC

1 cup walnut pieces, roughly chopped
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/4 granulated sugar
2 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into small pieces, at room temperature
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp kosher slat
2 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
3/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Coffee extract:
1/4 cup hot water
2 oz instant espresso powder

For the coffee extract, slowly stir the hot water directly into the espresso powder, stirring well, then set aside.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet parchment paper, and spread the walnuts in a single layer. Toast them, stirring occasionally, until they're lightly golden and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool the sheet on a wire rack, keeping the oven on.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the flour, cocoa powder, brown sugar, granulated sugar, butter, baking soda, and salt. Beat on low speed until the ingredients are well combined, about 4 minutes.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, egg yolk, 2 teaspoons of the coffee extract, and vanilla. Add the mixture to the flour mixture and beat on low speed to combine. Add the cooled nuts and the chocolate chips, and beat just to combine.

Turn the dough out onto a generously floured surface and divide it in half. Shape each portion into a 16"x2" log, and transfer to a parchment lined baking sheet, spacing them about 3 inches apart.

Bake, rotating the sheet halfway through, until the logs are firm to the touch, about 20 minutes. Transfer the logs still on the parchment paper, to a wire rack and let cool slightly, about 5 minutes.

Reduce the oven temp to 250°F. Transfer the warm logs to a cutting board, and using a serrated knife, cut the logs on the diagonal into 1/3-inch thick slices. Arrange the slices, cut side up, on the baking sheet. Bake until the biscotti are dry and firm to the touch, about 1 hour. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and let the sheet of biscotti cool completely on the rack. The biscotti can be kept in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 weeks.

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