Thursday, February 23, 2012

Cushioning for Your Caffeine

I’m not much of a breakfast person.  Never have been.  My main focus in the morning (aside from trying to keep my eyes open) is enjoying my morning espresso, which for me, consists of 3 – 4 shots of espresso over ice.  But without something to act as a buffer between my stomach lining and a 16 oz cup of hard-core java, I’d soon find myself feeling the morning coffee burn.  So to compensate, I make sure I get a little something down the gullet before the main event.  I don’t really have favorites in this category, although more often than not, it consists of a baked good of some sort.

With the show’s opening night looming (You know.  That OTHER thing I do??), I thought I’d put together a batch of biscotti, since I knew there’d be enough to last me the week.  Biscotti are kind of like pizza.  You’re only limited by your imagination.  But I decided to keep things pretty basic here and stuck with some mini chocolate chips and roasted (and salted) almonds.  This recipe will yield tender biscotti, so if you prefer them to be crisper, you might need to lower your oven temp and cook them a bit longer.  But I find that a few minutes in the toaster oven at work yields me something warm and crisp and completely satisfactory.

Almond Chocolate Chip Biscotti

1 cup sugar
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
3 Tbs brandy
1 tsp almond extract
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 large eggs
2 ¾ cups flour
1 ½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
½ cup whole roasted almonds, coarsely chopped
½ cup mini chocolate chips

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the sugar and melted butter.  Mix on medium speed until sugar dissolves and the mixture is thoroughly combined.  Add the brandy and extracts, followed by the eggs (add one at a time).  Stir to combine.  Add the flour, baking powder and salt.  Mix, slowly at first, then increase speed, just until dough comes together.  Stir in almonds and chocolate chips.

Cover and chill for 15 – 20 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350°.

Divide dough in half and form two logs, about 3” wide and 12” long on an ungreased baking sheet.  Bake in center of oven for 30 minutes.  Remove and let cool for 15 minutes, then cut each log across into ¾ inch pieces.  Spread evenly over baking sheet, cut side down, and then return to oven for an additional 20 minutes.  Cool.

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