Sunday, October 14, 2012

Chocolate Pistachio Biscotti with Sarah

Fall Break! The four days of abandoning all productivity on work-related matters has allowed me to 1) finish knitting a pair of sox, 2) start knitting a sweater, and 3) have enough energy to document baking something for the blog. Now if only I could have a four day weekend every week, I would probably be a much more pleasant person to be around! Wouldn't we all...

In lieu of the usual chocolate chip cookies or brownies for the kids, or some sort of fruit based dessert for Kieran and I, I tried to compromise. The kids like chocolate. The kids like pistachios. I like biscotti. Kieran likes whatever I bake as long as it contains no bananas or pumpkin. So after a few cruises through my copious pile of cookbooks, I arrived at chocolate pistachio biscotti! Since the kids have also been off of school for the last four days and my daughter was going a bit crazy with boredom (partially the result of rejecting any idea for fun out-of-the-house activities we had offered for the last four days), Sarah decided to help me.
Here she is, mixing the dry ingredients.
The recipe is modified from the book Martha Stewart's Cookies. Actually, it wouldn't have been modified at all if I had been cooking by myself and hadn't been distracted from recipe reading by a half-broken egg dribbling down the side of the mixing bowl and on to the mixer and counter, the result of Sarah's attempt to break the eggs into the butter and sugar for me...

Chocolate Pistachio Biscotti
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder--I use a combination of regular and dutch process (unsweetened) 
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons butter
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
3/4 cup shelled pistachios, roughly chopped.
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 tablespoons heavy cream

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. Shell the pistachios until you have about 3/4 cup. The pistachios I used were the regular salted type easily found in the grocery store. You could probably by pre-shelled, but I find that they don't taste as fresh. Roughly chop the pistachios.

3. Whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt into a bowl. Using an electric stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, and mix until incorporated. Add flour mixture a bit at a time until mixed, then finally add the pistachios. Mix until just combined.

4. Form the dough, which will be quite stiff, into a 12" x 4" or so log on the parchment paper. Bake for about 30 minutes. At this point, the dough will be hard on the outside, but still quite soft on the inside. Turn the oven down to 300 degrees. Let the dough cool for about 5-10 minutes, then carefully transfer to a cutting board. Cut on the diagonal with a sharp serrated knife into 12-15 pieces, about 3/4" thick.

5. Place the slices back on the baking sheet and bake for another 10-12 minutes, this time at 300 degrees. When done, place on a cooling rack and let cool for at least 30 minutes.

6. (optional) To dip one end in chocolate, melt chocolate chips and cream together, stirring until smooth. Dip one end of each biscotti into the chocolate, then lay on plastic wrap sprayed with a bit of cooking spray or spread with soft butter. Let cool until chocolate has solidified. Store in an airtight container.

Shelled pistachios. As you can see, at least some
of them made it into the bowl instead of my stomach.
Eggs! Just because I like the photo.
Sarah adds them into the creamed butter and sugar.
In go the dry ingredients!
The dough ready for the first baking.
Out of the oven and onto the cutting board!
Cut into slices and ready for the second bake.
Ready to heat the chocolate and cream.
And dipped in the chocolate and ready to eat. Thanks to my
cousin Sheila for being on top of my Facebook posts and suggesting
that we dip the biscotti in chocolate!
In the original recipe, one adds 1/2 cup of chocolate chips into the dough, which would probably work just fine if, you know, you like to actually follow recipes to the letter. But where's the fun in that?