Double chocolate walnut biscotti recipe
OK, I know you Heritage recipe purist may not think of biscotti as a true American Heritage recipe but you’re wrong… For those who still disagree, you may want to hold off until you taste these before condemning me to dangle from the hanging tree.
Biscotti comes from the two Italian words bis and cotti, which means twice or two times baked in Old West lingo. In Roman times biscotti lacked some of the flavorings of today’s biscotti but remarkably it remains similar to today’s biscotti.
Since refrigeration was virtually nonexistent in Roman times or in the days of the Old West, drying foods was a common practice. Twice drying foods could be made so hard that even long voyages at sea couldn’t soften them. I bet you didn’t know that Sailors and American pioneers on the trail alike made biscotti to take on their long journeys did you? A recipe from the early 1800’s was found even calling for almonds to be added. Since then bakers seemed to find no end to what could be included in them.
In Roman times, biscotti was popular by dipping it in wine to soften it up, by the time it arrived over here, Arbuckles coffee* was the dippers choice. Biscotti to the pioneer was like hard tack to the early day sailors…minus the weevils! So, go make up a batch, grab a cup of coffee, rent a Clint Eastwood Spaghetti Western movie and enjoy a true Americana Heritage cookie!
This recipe will make between 30 and 40 biscotti and can be topped with powdered sugar or dipped in a chocolate coating.
For the larger amount of biscotti, use the amounts featured within the ( ) symbols.
2 (3) cups of all unbleached purpose flour
1/2 (3/4) cups of unsweetened cocoa powder
1 (1 ½) teaspoon baking soda
1/2 (3/4) teaspoon of salt
1 (1½) teaspoon vanilla
2 (3) teaspoons of instant espresso coffee
3/4 (1) stick of butter, softened (not melted)
1 (1 ½) cups of granulated sugar
2 (3) large eggs
1 (1 ½) cups of chopped walnuts or a nut of your choice
3/4 (1) cup of semi sweet dark chocolate morsels
Chocolate dip coating – follow your morsel companies directions on making a dipping chocolate. I normally use Hershey’s dark morsels. For each 12 oz package I melt and mix into it 1 heaping Tablespoon of shortening…DO NOT USE OIL OR BUTTER! The water in these will ruin your chocolate.
Directions- read thoroughly before starting
Preheat oven to 350°F. butter and flour a large baking sheet or use parchment paper.
In a bowl whisk together flour, cocoa powder, espresso powder, baking soda, and salt. In another bowl with an electric mixer beat together butter and granulated sugar. Add eggs and vanilla then beat until combined well, continue until light and fluffy. Stir in flour mixture until it forms a stiff dough. Stir in walnuts and chocolate chips.
On your prepared baking sheet with floured hands form the dough into two slightly flattened logs, each 12 inches long and 2 inches wide, and sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar or wait until they are completed and coat with chocolate dip coating . If you are using the larger recipe make logs 3” wide. Bake logs 35 minutes, or until slightly firm to the touch. Cool biscotti on baking sheet for 5 minutes until able to touch.
On a cutting board cut biscotti perpendicular to the log into 3/4 to1 inch slices. Arrange biscotti, cut sides down, on baking sheet and bake until crisp, about 10 minutes. Cool biscotti to room temperature on a rack before eating or dip coating. If dip coating, transfer biscotti afterward to refrigerator until the chocolate dip coating hardens.
Arbuckles’ Coffee began in the post Civil War Era of the 19th Century. Two brothers, John and Charles Arbuckle, initiated a new concept in the coffee industry; selling roasted coffee in one pound packages. Until that time, coffee was sold green and had to be roasted in a skillet over a fire or in a wood stove. You can imagine the inconsistency of the coffee. One burned bean ruined the whole batch. The Arbuckle Brothers were able to roast a coffee that was of consistently fine quality and the first to be packaged in one pound bags. They also discovered that by coating the beans in an egg wash, the beans could be preserved for long periods of time without rotting.
Needless to say, Arbuckles’ Coffee caught on like wild fire. It was soon able to be shipped around the United States and became a favorite in the Old West. In fact, Arbuckles’ Ariosa Blend became so popular in the Old West that most cowboys didn’t even know that there was any other. While a company has rejuvenated the Arbuckles brand the only surviving direct relation today to Arbuckles coffee is the Yuban brand.
Arbuckles coffee was a very strong coffee and to tame the bitterness egg shells were added to the pot during brewing. I myself do the same… with a modern twist. I bake my egg shells, crush them fine them store them in a container. Each batch of coffee gets a teaspoon of the crushed shells in the grounds. The calcium carbonate in the shells act like Tums to the coffee, removing much of the acid. JW