Capuccino Walnut Biscotti
INGREDIENTS: 2/3 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup unsalted butter (you may substitute oil if you like)
2 Tbsp. coffee brandy, such as Kahlua
3 Tbsp. instant coffee granules (decaf is ok--or use 1-1/2 Tbsp. Espresso if
2 large eggs
3/4 cup + 1 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
2-1/4 cups + 2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour, unbleached
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1-1/4 tsp. baking powder
1 cup chocolate chips
DIRECTIONS: Have all ingredients at room temperature before starting. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Toast walnuts in pie plate or small baking pan for about 10 minutes, or till just lightly toasted and starting to give off an aroma. Cool. In small glass bowl, heat butter on medium in microwave for about 1 minute, or til almost melted. It will continue to melt after you remove it from microwave. In small cup, dissolve coffee granules in coffee brandy. In medium bowl, whisk the flour, salt, cinnamon, and baking powder. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
In large workbowl of stand mixer with paddle attachment combine the eggs, sugar, butter, coffee mixture and vanilla. Beat till fluffy, scraping bottom and sides as needed. Add the flour mixture and stir till a dough forms. Do not overbeat at this point. Stir in the chips and nuts. Take the dough by large spoonfuls and drop it onto the parchment, as shown below:
It looks pretty sloppy, doesn't it? Don't worry. Run your hands under cold water and with wet hands, shape the blobs of dough into a log, as below:
I made three logs. The width of the logs is basically going to be the length of your cookies, so make the logs as wide as you want your cookies long. They will spread a little, so account for that. I wish I had done 2 logs, wider, but what I ended up with is a lot of small cookies -- which is ok, but for dunking, the longer cookies are better.
Bake the biscotti 25-30 minutes at 350, or till firm to the touch and starting to crack on the tops. See the cracks below?
Let the biscotti cool on the baking sheet for about 10 minutes, then carefully, very carefully transfer them to a cooling rack where they should completely cool -- at least 1 hour. (Problems with shredding and breaking come from trying to cut warm biscotti.) After they are completely cooled, cut them in slices about 1/2" thick, or to your preference. Arrange the slices, cut side down, onto the same baking sheet, with or without the parchment. Bake at 325 degrees F. for 10 minutes each side, or till crisp and slightly browned. Transfer to wire rack to cool.
Optional chocolate dip: Line a baking sheet with wax paper. Heat about 8 oz. chocolate chips (I used Hershey's Special Dark) with 1 Tbsp. fat-free Half and Half, or heavy cream, or regular Half and Half) and 2 tsp. butter. You can do this in the microwave, or in a Pyrex cup in a pot of hot water. (I prefer doing it on the stove because I do as little in the microwave as possible. If you research microwaves and the dangers, you will agree with me. Microwaves completely destroy any food value and make molecular changes to whatever you heat in them. In my thinking, they are very scary things that we all seem to overuse.) Any way, you pick your method for heating the chocolate, but be careful because chocolate doesn't like high heat. Stir it to get it smooth. If it's too thick and grainy, just add some more liquid and stir, stir, stir. When you get the chocolate the way you want it, dip your biscotti into it, concentrating more on the one side -- if you put it all around, you'll have trouble with it sticking to everything. Just concentrate on the top and sides and leave the bottom out of it as much as possible. Lay the dipped biscotti onto the wax paper. When sheet is filled up, put it in the freezer for about 10 minutes to harden the chocolate quickly. Remove from freezer and store the way you want -- or eat them up. They're pretty darned good.