Chocolate Almond Biscotti

My life has been full of simple pleasures lately. Dunking a few Oreos in my weekend cup of freshly ground coffee. A night spent out at the movies, stashing a small snack in my coat pocket (don't pretend you haven't done it). An expensive plate of sushi because life is too short not to enjoy good food. A bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon to accompany a simple spaghetti weeknight dinner.

The pleasures may be small, but together they form a contented moment in time.

As a first year teacher, I don't have a lot of time to myself. My days are filled with teaching, my afternoons with grading, and my evenings with lesson planning. In the last few months, I have spent most of my time cooped up in my apartment, partly due to the workload, partly due to the frigid, unforgiving weather. These simple pleasures often provide a bright spot of light to an otherwise normal day. Simple, yes, but they add the right level of spice.

Treating yourself comes in many forms. How have you treated yourself today?

Chocolate Almond Biscotti is one of the small pleasures I enjoyed last weekend. Biscotti is a simple dessert, though it often appears more complex than it is. The word "biscotti" means twice cooked and that is precisely what these cookies are. Cookies are baked up as a "loaf" before they are sliced, laid on their sides, and baked once more. As the baker, you have the control over how soft or crisp these cookies become, adapting them precisely to your taste.

Dipped in coffee, tea, or a large glass of milk, these cookies are happiness in its pure and simple form.

Chocolate Almond Biscotti are crisp and best enjoy while dunked into your favorite beverage. Cocoa powder provides a deep chocolate flavor to the cookies while toasted almonds give them their crunch. A light chocolate drizzle helps to set the cookies off, providing just the right amount of decadence. Whether enjoyed during a stolen moment in the morning or as an afternoon snack, these biscotti bring about a sweet moment to be savored.

One Year Ago: Pomegranate White Wine Panna Cotta and Toasted Almond Cookies with Dried Fig Filling
Two Years Ago: BBQ Bacon Wrapped Water Chestnuts, Beer Bread, and Baked Corn Tortilla Chips
Three Years Ago: Cocoa Almond Meringues, Banana Bread Oatmeal, and BBQ Mini Sausages

Chocolate Almond Biscotti

Yields about 1 dozen

1/4 cup (57 grams) butter, room temperature
3/4 cup (150 grams) granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup (45 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups (190 grams) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 ounces (115 grams) slivered almonds, toasted
1/4 cup (80 grams) semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 ounce (28 grams) semi-sweet chocolate, melted (for drizzle)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C).

In a large mixing bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Mix in the vanilla extract. Gradually add the cocoa powder, flour, baking powder, and salt, mixing until uniform. Stir in the almonds and chocolate chips. The dough should be relatively dry to the touch.

On a baking sheet, form dough into a log 12-inches long by 3-inches wide. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the dough cracks on top and just begins to brown. Allow to cool on the cookie sheet for ten minutes, or until the dough is cool enough to handle. Using a serrated knife, cut the log into 1/2-inch slices. Place the slices cut side down onto the baking sheet. Bake for an additional 8-10 minutes, or until the biscotti slices are lightly browned for a softer texture. For a crunchier texture, flip the biscotti over and bake for another 8-10 minutes.

Place the melted chocolate into a plastic bag and snip off the corner. Drizzle the chocolate over the biscotti. Allow to dry completely before storing.

Serve with coffee, black tea, or a large glass of milk.