Extreme Biscotti Action

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These are the biscotti. The ones that launched a thousand coffee shops. The ones that will call your name in the night. The ones that will seduce even those who proclaim, "I’m not into biscotti." These are the biscotti that you will fight and die for.

How can so humble a cookie inspire such rabid praise? Crumbly, cocoa-infused cores studded with nuts and chocolate chips. The faintest hint of almond extract. A thick fudgy glaze that melts upon impact with your tongue. And another thing: these biscotti require no hot liquids for dunking. Once that deep, dark icing hits them, the crispy base absorbs the slightest bit of the frosting’s moisture and the whole thing takes on an indescribable texture. How can a cookie be crunchy and chewy at the same time? Bake and find out…

Chocolate Almond Biscotti
This recipe comes courtesy of my wonderful new Aunt Shelley and her daughter Shelley Jr. Thanks guys!
½ cup (1 Stick) butter or margarine, softened
1 ¼ cup of sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. almond extract
2 ¼ cups of flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
1 cup sliced almonds
Chocolate glaze (recipe follows)

Heat oven to 350 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar until well blended. Add eggs and almond extract; beat until smooth. In separate bowl, stir together flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt. Blend into butter mixture, beating until smooth. The dough will be thick, so don’t be afraid to get in there with your hands. Using wooden spoon, work almonds into dough and divide dough into halves.

With lightly floured hands, shape each half into a rectangular log; the dimensions of the log will determine the width and thickness of your finished cookies. For coffee shop sized cookies, my logs were about an inch thick, with dimensions of twelve inches by six inches. Place logs on a large ungreased cookie sheet, at least 2 inches apart. Bake 30 minutes or until logs are set. Remove from oven; cool on cookie sheets for 15 minutes.

Using serrated knife and a sawing motion cut the logs into half-inch to one inch diagonal slices. Discard end pieces if you wish (but who would!). Arrange slices, cut sides down, close together on cookie sheet. Bake 8-9 minutes. Turn each slice over; bake an additional 8-9 minutes. Remove from oven; cool on cookie sheet on wire rack. Drizzle chocolate glaze over each biscotti or dip end of each cookie into glaze.

Chocolate Glaze:
In small microwave safe bowl, place one cup semi-sweet chocolate chips and 1 tablespoon shortening and microwave at high 1 ½ minutes or until smooth when stirred. If you’re feeling fancy, you could try bittersweet chocolate too!

Makes about 2 dozen small biscotti or 1 dozen big ones.

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