Chocolate biscotti were always included in nonna Eva’s holiday gift tins. She wrapped the biscotti dough around a whole candied cherry, rolled the dough into balls and frosted this delicious cookie with a light glaze and sprinkles.
The dry ingredients
1 cup sifted cocoa, unsweetened
3 cups unbleached white flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
The wet ingredients
1 cup sweet unsalted butter, cut into pieces
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1 tablespoon vanilla
1/2 to 3/4 cup water*
Candied, dried, or 1 jar of Maraschino cherries, optional
To make the cookie dough
In a large mixing bowl whisk the cocoa, flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, and sugar until well combined. Drop the butter into the dry ingredients and use a pastry cutter, potato masher or your hands to blend the butter into the flour mixture until all crumbs are evenly formed.
Whisk the eggs and the water until foamy. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler or the microwave for about one minute thirty seconds.
Make a hole in the center of the flour mixture. Add the eggs, melted chocolate, vanilla, and water. Mix carefully folding the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Knead the dough into a ball mixing until the dough is not sticky. Leave the dry crumbs on the bottom of the bowl. Splash in a few drops of water if necessary to form the dough into a ball.
To shape the cookies
Option 1: Roll the dough into balls about 2 inches in diameter. Place a cherry in the center of the ball, optional. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate overnight or at least 4 hours.
Option 2: Cover the kitchen counter with a sheet of parchment paper and sprinkle with flour. Drop the dough on the parchment paper and divide into thirds. Roll into a log about the length of a baking sheet. Wrap each log in plastic and refrigerate overnight or at least 4 hours.
To bake the cookies
Heat the oven to 350° F. and slide the oven rack to the middle of the oven. Line 2 shallow baking sheets with parchment paper.
Remove dough from plastic and place inches apart on a baking sheet. Bake about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool.
For the log-shaped biscotti, reduce oven heat to 300° F. and slice the cookies on the diagonal with a sharp bread knife or electric carving knife. Cook again for about 10 minutes. Cool then store in an air-tight container.
For the glaze
1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
2 tablespoons vanilla
1/4 cup of water
Place the powdered sugar and vanilla in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Stir the powdered sugar and vanilla together. Gradually add the water and continue stirring until the lumps disappear. Dip the cooled cookies into the glaze, place the cookies on a cooling rack and shake on the sprinkles.
Chocolate biscotti can be made in a food processor or an electric mixer however this classic Italian hand-made technique is my favorite and I think this method tastes best.
*If using a blender, leave the water out of the wet ingredients. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients then blend. Sprinkle in the water gradually until the dough forms into a ball.
- Shape into logs and bake as other biscotti recipes.
- Shape into balls: place one candied, dried or Maraschino cherry into a small ball of dough and roll between your palms until round. Place 2-inches apart on a baking sheet.
- Add 1 cup of raisins or 1 cup walnuts
- Dip into chocolate frosting.
Butter instead of Crisco, liquor instead of milk.