Double-Chocolate Roasted Walnut Biscotti

After a few days of summer-like weather with temperatures in the high 70s here in Boston, we’ve finally returned to true March weather.  Today was windy and cold, low 40s.  It was a perfect afternoon for a steaming cup of coffee, tea, or hot chocolate.  However, I was also craving something sweet.  Biscotti seemed like a good idea.

I’ve made these biscotti a few times and they come out very nicely.  The nice thing about these biscotti is that they’re not too sweet, making them perfect for dunking in your morning (or afternoon) coffee.

The term “biscotti” means “twice-baked.”  However, before the second baking, you can dust the individual biscotti with confectioners sugar for a touch of added sweetness if you’d like.

You can also easily modify the recipe to suit your taste.  Almonds or hazelnuts could be substituted for the walnuts, as can pretty much any other nut. They’d also make nice gifts if dipped in dark chocolate.

They are also wonderful as is!

When making the biscotti, the dough should be very stiff, almost dry.  I also highly recommend toasting whatever nuts you use in order to bring out stronger flavors.

Double-Chocolate Roasted Walnut Biscotti
(about 25 cookies)
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Place walnuts on rimmed baking sheet and toast for 8 minutes, or until you can smell them.  Remove from oven and cool.

Lower oven temperature to 350 degrees.  Place parchment paper on baking sheet.

In a bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. In another larger bowl, beat together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs and beat until combined well.  Add the vanilla. Stir in flour mixture to form a stiff dough. Stir in toasted walnuts and chocolate chips.

On the baking sheet with floured hands, form the dough into two slightly flattened logs, each 12 inches long and 2 inches wide. Bake for 35 minutes, or until slightly firm to the touch. Cool biscotti on baking sheet for 5 minutes.

On a cutting board, cut the biscotti diagonally into 3/4-inch slices. Arrange the biscotti, cut sides down, on the baking sheet and bake until crisp, about 10-15 minutes. Cool on a rack.

Biscotti keep in airtight containers 1 week and frozen, 1 month.


I Love Cardamom

I love cardamom. Have I told you that? It’s my new favorite spice in the kitchen. I first began using this spice about a year ago when I made a dish of Afghan dumplings with lamb kofta. I decided to just toss a bit in there and was amazed at the aroma and the sweet flavor that it infused throughout the dish. Since then, I’ve used it wherever possible in cakes, breads, etc., as well as in recipes calling for ground meat.

Cardamom comes from the ginger family and has a really intense, fragrant, sweet flavor. In India, it’s traditionally used in curries; and in Scandinavian countries, where it is more popular than cinnamon, it is commonly added to breads. However, most of the world’s cardamom is used in Arabic countries as a flavoring for coffee.

A small amount of cardamom adds a lot of flavor, so I’d start with 1/4 tsp and add from there.

Because I’m still pretty limited in activity due to my ankle surgery, I was home all afternoon. I was in the mood to bake so I looked in my cabinets and came up with this recipe for spiced cookies.


Spiced Date Almond Cookies
Makes about 3 dozen cookies

  • 2 sticks butter, softened
  • 1 1/4 cup sugar (half white, half brown)
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tbsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp allspice
  • 1/4 tsp cardamom
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tsp water
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped dates
  • 1 cup sliced almonds

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment.

Cream together the butter and sugars. Add eggs, one at a time. Sift together all of the dry ingredients: the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, allspice, and cardamom and add slowly to the butter mixture. Add the vanilla.

In a separate bowl, mix together the dates and water. Add, along with the almonds, to the rest of the batter.

Very gently, roll tablespoon-sized amounts of batter into a ball and place on baking sheet, leaving about two inches between cookies. Using the back of a spoon gently flatten the cookies slightly. (Hint: wet the spoon so it doesn’t stick to the batter.) Bake for 10-12 minutes. Let the cookies cook slightly for five minutes on the baking sheets and then place on a rack until fully cooled.

Do not overbake.