Baking Angels

My dad was a professional baker, as was his dad before him. My brother baked with Dad from the time he was old enough to hold a rolling pin in his chubby little toddler hands. He has worked in the baking industry his entire life, and still does. My sister Jen says she can’t bake a lick, though I’m not entirely sure that is true. My sister Bec is the one in our family who we count on when we want baked items at our family gatherings. Bundt cakes and brownies are her specialties. Ask Bill, who enjoys the fruits of her labors.

As for me, I absolutely LOVE to bake. However, for the most part, I stink at it. There you have it. My name’s Kris, and I’m a Horrible-Baker-Who-Should-Be-Better-Because-My-Dad-Owned-A-Bakery. Maybe there’s a support group.

So, now that I’ve given you background, let me tell you a story.

The other day I got a hankering for biscotti. You know, those hard cookies that you dunk in coffee or tea, or if you’re in Italy, maybe Vino Santo after a wonderful dinner al fresco. My favorite biscotti recipe comes from Giada di Laurentis, but they contain pistachios (yum) and dried cherries or cranberries. Though I shouldn’t eat the dried fruit, I could possibly let that slide; however, the pistachios are a firm no-go on my low fiber diet, no matter how delicious they are.

So I got the notion to bake chocolate biscotti. I knew Bill would be happy, and I was confident I could find a recipe for chocolate biscotti without nuts. And so I did, Double Chocolate Biscotti from Once Upon a Chef blog.

Biscotti are not terribly hard to make. The trick is that you mix the dough, form it into a log, and bake it for a half hour or so. You then remove the baked dough from the oven and slice them into the familiar biscotti shape. Then, bake them again for 10 minutes or so, until they sort of dry out and become hard.

The reason I’m a sort of hit-or-miss baker is because I’m sloppy and apparently quite forgetful. I’ve always been sloppy; I grow more and more forgetful as I grow older.

So, using my beloved Kitchen Aid mixer, I mixed the ingredients, all of which, surprisingly, were in my pantry. I took the sticky dough and formed it into two carefully shaped logs. I was about to put them in the preheated oven when the guardian angel in charge of food preparation landed on my shoulder and said, “You forgot to put in the chocolate chips, Stupid.” Who knew angels used such hurtful language?

So here was my conundrum. The logs were beautiful, glistening with chocolaty goodness. As I saw it, these were my two choices: 1) Dismantle the logs and put the dough back in the Kitchen Aid mixer, add the chocolate chips, and re-form into new logs; or 2) Change the name from Double Chocolate Biscotti to simply Chocolate Biscotti and don’t do a damn thing…..

As you will see from the photo, I chose the former solution. I just could picture Bill’s face when he bit into a soft chocolate chip in his cookie. These are doubly chocolaty delicious, he was bound to say…..

Double Chocolate Biscotti

Ingredients
1-3/4 c. plus 2 T flour, measured carefully
¼ c. plus 2 T unsweetened cocoa powder
1 t. baking soda
¾ t. salt
1 stick butter, at room temperature
¾ c. plus 2 T granulated sugar
2 eggs
2 t. vanilla
1 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips

Process
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each egg and scraping bowl with a spatula. Add the vanilla. Then add the dry ingredients and chocolate chips and mix on low speed until just combined.

Dust a work surface with flour. Scrape the sticky dough out onto the work surface and dust the top of the dough to make it workable. Shape the dough into a ball and cut in half. Form each half into a log, and place on the parchment-lined cookie sheet. Shape into longer logs about ¾ in. high and 2 in. wide. Allow enough space for the logs to spread a bit while they bake.

Bake for about 35 minutes, until firm to the touch. Let the biscotti logs cool on the pan for about 5 minutes. Carefully remove logs onto a cutting board. Using a serrated knife, slice the logs on the diagonal into ¾ in. slices. Don’t worry if they crumble a bit.  Put the cookies back onto the cookie sheet on their sides (cut sides down), and place back in the oven for 10 minutes to dry and harden. Cool on the pan for a few minutes; then transfer to a cooling rack until completely cool.