It snowed in Houston last night! Like actually left a white winter wonderland legit snowed, not just a couple of flurries that we Houstonians wish were snow. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate than to curl up with a mug of hot chocolate and eat these chocolate-orange biscotti all day.
Considering it has taken me a couple of years to find a chocolate biscotti recipe that I’m happy with, the timing for the snow and this blog post seems just perfect.
Snow, soft sweaters, hot chocolate, and chocolate-orange biscotti – this is how I want every weekend to start this winter.
My past attempts at chocolate biscotti have been disappointing because they were either too dry or too much like a cookie. Good biscotti needs to be somewhere in between – crunchy enough to hold up well when dunked in hot chocolate or coffee but still have a little chewiness without being too soft. This recipe from Union Square Cafe hits the sweet spot. These biscotti have the perfect texture and just enough chocolate flavor to complement your favorite coffee.
The original recipe mixes in mini-chocolate chips but I decided to use candied orange peels. The chocolate and orange combination is a classic and the candied orange peels add just enough extra flavor and sweetness that there’s no need for additional glaze or icing on these. I found the candied orange peels at a local restaurant wholesaler but you can also order them on-line from Amazon or King Arthur Flour.
Tips for Making Chocolate Biscotti
This biscotti dough is very sticky and can be hard to work with. I find it easiest to first scoop the dough into 2 long rows on to baking sheets lined with silpat baking mats or parchment paper. Then I use a clean spatula to gently smooth out the dough. You can also use a piece of wax paper to smooth out the logs. However, if you use this method, be careful to not compress the dough or the biscotti won’t rise properly.
Because these biscotti tend to spread quite a bit during the initial baking, I bake the logs on 2 separate baking sheets.
Chewy vs Crunchy Biscotti
The final texture of the biscotti is greatly affected by how long they are baked during the second baking. If you like your biscotti on the slightly chewy side (like a cookie) then bake for around 10 minutes. If you like a more crunchy texture (closer to the texture of a classic Italian biscotti) then bake them for 15-20 minutes.
Candied orange peels add a touch of sweet citrus to these chocolate biscotti.
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 ounces (4 tablespoons) butter, at room temperature
- 1 3/4 cups lightly packed dark brown sugar
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon instant espresso powder, dissolved in 1 teaspoon water
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup chopped candied orange peels
- Prep: Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking liners. Set aside.
- Mix dry ingredients: In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
- Make dough: Using an electric mixer, cream butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar together until fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Add vanilla extract and espresso mixture. Mix for 10 seconds. Add eggs one at a time, mixing for 10 seconds at medium-low speed after each addition. Gradually add the flour mixture, mixing at low speed until dough comes together. Add candied orange peels and mix just until they are evenly mixed in. Dough will be very sticky.
- Shape dough: Divide the dough in half and scoop each half onto the prepared baking sheets in the general shape of a log (See Notes). Using a clean spatula (I use a small off-set spatula but a silicone one would work too), shape each half into a 9 inch long log about 2 inches wide and 1 inch thick. It doesn’t need to be exact or perfectly smooth.
- First baking: Bake the logs until biscotti have spread, have a few cracks on top, and bounce back slightly when pressed with fingertips, 30 to 40 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool until just cool enough to touch, about 5-10 minutes.
- Slice and cool: Working with a sharp serrated knife, cut the logs into 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick slices. Allow the slices to cool completely before continuing, 20-30 minutes.
- Second baking: Heat oven to 325 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking liners. Place the sliced cookies cut side down on the prepared pans. Bake until biscotti are slightly crisp, 10-15 minutes, rotating sheets and flipping biscotti halfway through.
- The dough is very sticky and can be hard to shape into a log. I find that it works best to take each half of the dough and scoop about one third of it out at a time on to the baking sheet. Place the scoops next to each other to create a rough log or row. Then use a spatula to gently smooth out the top.
- Recipe adapted from Union Square Cafe via The New York Times.
Keywords: chocolate biscotti, chocolate orange biscotti
Note: Since first publishing this recipe in 2017, I have learned some better tricks to work with the dough and updated the recipe in 2020.