Saturday, August 18, 2012

Chocolate cherry biscotti good morning.....

sister Sandy's vegetarian Shepherd's pie
Friday nights are deliciously wonderful, firstly because sister Sandy made some really great vegetarian Shepherd's pie (they were lined up like an army, ready to be eaten! Sisters are awesome).

And secondly, Friday nights mean freedom and play.

And experimenting in the kitchen and spending hours web surfing, recipe surfing, food porn surfing.

And having a galloping competition with the dog.

And spending a romantic evening with the boyfriend playing a romantic game called Hedbanz (where you try to identify the object of your card, which is strapped to your forehead, romantically).

So then, after all the play and food, 10 pm rolls around and we're TIRED: 2-2 has settled into her sleepy-time spot, the boyfriend's starting to get droopy-eyed, and I should sleep as well so of course, I go and check my email and start websurfing.

Nothing is more interesting than the internet late on a Friday night, when I can pour over image after image of baguettes, boules, loaves of rye, beautiful pies, tarts, cookies, doggies, roses, microscopic yeasts, raisins, sheep.

And I stumble on this great site that teaches you in simple terms and with great photo examples how to use basic functions on your camera to obtain results you want.

And before I know it, it's half past 1am.

Naturally, my body wants to wake up at a normal time, so it decides to refuse me anymore sleep after a couple of hours of slumber. And then my stomach tells me, I want biscotti. So my stomach and my legs make my brain and arms gather the ingredients for a simple biscotti, all while my brain is still snoozing.

This recipe has been my go-to biscotti recipe for many years, and it is pretty forgiving to flavour modifications such as changing from a chocolatey biscotti to more fruity or nutty biscotti. I used a good quality vanilla extract and chocolate.

1/4 cup light olive oil (or canola or peanut oil, basically any mild flavour oil from low to high smoking point will do because the baking temperature does not exceed 300 F)
1/2 cup packed brown sugar, light or dark
1 tsp Madagascar bourbon vanilla extract
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 eggs
1/4 tsp salt

1 3/4 cup all purpose flour (works with whole wheat all purpose as well)
1 tsp baking powder

100g good quality 65% dark chocolate, chopped
50g dried sour cherries, chopped

Optional: melted chocolate to drizzle on top (or to dip biscotti) - I melted 70% dark with milk chocolate in 1:1 ratio to add more sweetness since the biscotti itself is not very sweet.

Preheat oven to 300 F.

In a bowl combine all the wet ingredients: oil, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, eggs and salt (ok, this isn't wet but I have only coarse salt so I wanted it to dissolve) and mix well.

In a separate bowl, combine dry ingredients: flour and baking powder. Add flour mixture by spoonful into wet mixture and mix until all the flour has been well incorporated. I used my hands for this because the biscotti cookie dough is quite stiff.

Form two logs on a baking sheet about 1 inch in height. Bake for 30 - 30 mins. The colour should not change much and should have a hard texture after the first bake. Take out and cool for 5 to 10 mins or until it has cool enough to handle.

Place on a cutting board and using a sharp vegetable knife, slice into 1 cm thick slabs. The cookies should still be slightly soft. Place them back on the baking sheet and bake for another 8 - 10 mins or under cookies have hardened. Let cool and drizzle with melted chocolate.

Espresso and biscotti was the perfect wake-me-up on a Saturday morning. What are some things you crave for breakfast on a Saturday morning?

(Note: playing with camera settings, props, backgrounds, zoom, food placement, etc. was really fun. Biscotti photos above and below taken by the useful boyfriend.)


  1. This reminds me of the coffee I missed today! I love biscotti! Pinning this on my pinterest board as one of the treats I need to make soon! Thanks for the recipe, Jen!

  2. These look awesome! I too love biscotti. The photos were also great, thanks!

  3. Ahh if only every night could be a Friday night!! And feature these lovely little biscotti too! :D

  4. I love Biscotti!!!
    I will try to make your biscotti recipe this friday
    for a Saturday morning treat with my Illy Espresso.
    Yum! Can't wait!

  5. Your biscotti my friend, looks absolutely fantastic - I can't believe how perfectly cut it is :D

    Choc Chip Uru

  6. Abby: No problem! This is a great recipe to make a huge batch because it'll keep at room temperature for 1 week or so. And if you are like me, I could eat biscotti every morning :)

    Russell: Thanks :) I've still got a lot to learn, but I'm beginning to appreciate all the intricacies that photography involves!

    NQN: Couldn't agree with you more :)

    Gghie: Hope you enjoy!

    CCU: Secret is in using the veggie knife that's freshly sharpened and not letting the log cool completely before it's cut ;) Enjoy!