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Not your ordinary biscotti, these American-style chocolate almond biscotti are the perfect complement to a creamy hot chocolate or a strong, black coffee on a cold winter day!
I don’t know about you, but for us the fall season is peak schedule craziness. The one thing that keeps me going amidst all of it is my coffee breaks. Few things comfort me more than a cup of coffee with something a little sweet on the side. I love biscotti cookies for this.
These chocolate almond biscotti are a small indulgence that doesn’t feel over-the-top, but is just enough to sweeten your day a little.
What is Biscotti?
Biscotti, known in Italy as cantuccini, is a twice-baked Italian cookie that originated in the Tuscan city of Prato. They are typically made with all purpose flour, sugar, eggs, and whole almonds, and may also include other ingredients such as chocolate chips, dried fruit, or nuts.
Biscotti dough is first shaped into a log shape and goes into the oven for the first bake. Then, the loaf is divided into thick slices and baked again until they are dry, crunchy, and golden brown. This double baking process gives biscotti cookies their distinctive texture and long shelf life.
This traditional Italian cookie is often enjoyed as a snack or dessert, and can be dipped in coffee, tea, or other beverages. They are also sometimes used to make trifle or other layered desserts.
Traditional Italian v. American-Style biscotti
I’ve made a lot of biscotti recipes over the years, as I used to make them for a friend’s café. But before I made them at home, I will admit that I was not exactly a biscotti lover.
I was mostly familiar with traditional Italian biscotti, which didn’t really satisfy my extreme sweet tooth. It wasn’t until I tried the decidedly more “cookie-like” American-style biscotti that I fell in love. Here’s a thorough, if somewhat confusing explanation of the difference between American and Italian biscotti.
In essence, traditional Italian biscotti are not made with butter. They are quite hard and lightly sweetened, but they are great for dunking in drinks, keep very well, and are very low-fat.
American-style biscotti are made with butter, more tender, and sweeter. Like Italian biscotti, American biscotti are formed into logs, sliced and twice-baked (the key defining feature of biscotti).
These homemade chocolate almond biscotti are worlds apart from the ones you find in your average coffee shop (which are often disappointing in my experience). I like to drizzle them with some melted chocolate and serve with hot chocolate or a nice cup of coffee.
This chocolate almond biscotti recipe is one of my favorites of all the biscotti recipes I’ve made over the years. I love to gift give them as an edible gift over the holidays, since they can be made well ahead, and keep so well.
Another great biscotti recipe for holiday gifting is these fig and walnut biscotti. The warm flavors in these cookies are super festive and delicious.
I often make biscotti with whatever nut, dried fruit, chocolate, or granola, I have in my pantry. Stored in an airtight container or cookie jar at room temperature, they will keep for weeks. Weeks. Not that they’re around that long.
You can even forget them in the oven for a while and they will still be edible. Biscotti cookies are truly the most easy-going cookies I can think of.
Unsalted butter is the best choice for this recipe because it allows you to control the amount of salt in the biscotti cookies. If you only have salted butter on hand, omit the added salt from the recipe.
Make sure the butter is softened at room temperature.
Granulated sugar is the most common type of sugar used in biscotti recipes. You can also use brown sugar, or if you want to reduce the sugar content of the biscotti, you can use a sugar substitute such as stevia or erythritol.
However, keep in mind that sugar substitutes can alter the taste and texture of cookies.
Vanilla extract adds a delicious flavor to these chocolate almond biscotti. If you don’t have vanilla extract on hand, you can substitute almond extract or another flavor extract of your choice.
Eggs are important for binding the dough together in this recipe. Room temperature eggs will blend more smoothly with the ingredients.
All Purpose Flour
All purpose flour is the best type of flour for this chocolate almond biscotti recipe. You can substitute gluten-free cup-for-cup baking flour for all-purpose flour, but the biscotti may be slightly more crumbly.
A little bit of instant coffee granules or espresso powder add the perfect depth of flavor to these chocolate almond biscotti.
Dutch-processed cocoa powder is a type of cocoa powder that has been treated with an alkali, which gives it a darker color and richer flavor. You can substitute regular unsweetened cocoa powder for Dutch-processed cocoa powder in this recipe if you like.
I usually prefer to toast nuts before adding to baked goods, as I find this enhances their flavor, but it’s an optional step. You can absolutely substitute other nuts, such as walnuts, pecans, or the classic chocolate pairing – hazelnuts – for the almonds.
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How to Make Chocolate Almond Biscotti
1. Preheat your oven to 325F.
2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, or using a hand mixer, cream together the butter, sugar, salt, vanilla extract, and baking powder until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes.
3. Add the eggs and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Continue beating on medium-high speed until combined, another 3-4 minutes.
4. Add the dry ingredients – the all purpose flour, espresso powder, and cocoa powder, mixing on low speed until just combined. Fold in the almonds.
5. Transfer the biscotti dough to parchment-lined baking sheet. For large biscotti, shape the dough into a single log shape, about 9 x 4 inches and 3/4 inch thick. For smaller biscotti, divide dough into two short log shapes, about 9 x 2 inches. Now place the biscotti logs at least 2 inches apart on the baking sheet.
6. Bake the biscotti dough in a preheated oven for 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes. After the first bake, spray the biscotti logs generously with water from a spray bottle (or brush it on with a pastry brush) and let sit for another 5 minutes. This will soften the cookies slightly, making them easier to slice.
7. Now transfer the biscotti logs to a cutting board and slice on the bias with a sharp or serrated knife, into 3/4 inch slices. I get about 12 slices per log.
8. Place the chocolate almond biscotti cookies back on the baking sheet and bake for another 20-25 minutes, or until dry and crunchy.
9. Optionally, drizzle some melted dark chocolate on your biscotti cookies and serve with your favorite beverage. I prefer to temper my chocolate for drizzling so it stays nice and shiny. Here’s my Ultimate Guide to Tempering Chocolate in the Microwave (the easy way)!
Tips to Make the Perfect Biscotti Cookies
1. Don’t overcrowd the baking sheet. Give the biscotti cookies enough space to spread out so that they bake evenly and dry out.
2. Before slicing the biscotti logs, spray or brush them with water and let sit for 5 minutes. This softens the dough just enough to make slicing much easier.
3. I use my stand mixer for this recipe because the dough is quite thick, but a hand mixer can be used instead for creaming the ingredients, and then the dry ingredients can be stirred in by hand if you don’t have a stand mixer.
4. For slicing the biscotti, I find that a swift, straight, downward motion with a sharp knife works best to get clean slices. A sawing motion with a serrated knife works well too.
5. You can let the biscotti log cool a bit before slicing so that you don’t burn your fingers. But they should be still warm.
Let the biscotti cool completely on a wire rack to help them dry out. Transfer them to an airtight container and store in a cool dry place away from direct sunlight. They store perfectly well at room temperature for up at least two weeks.
If you want to store the biscotti for longer, you can freeze them for up to 3 months. To freeze the biscotti, place them in a single layer on a baking sheet and freeze for 1 hour. Once frozen, transfer the biscotti to a freezer-safe bag or container.
To thaw the chocolate almond biscotti, let them sit at room temperature for 1-2 hours.
More Easy Desserts for the Holiday Season
Tell me what you think!
If you try this recipe, l’d be so grateful if you’d leave a comment and a rating in the recipe card. I love to hear your feedback, and your tips can help other readers too!
Almond Chocolate Biscotti
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter softened
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 large eggs
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon espresso powder or instant coffee granules
- 1/4 cup dutch-processed cocoa powder
- 2/3 cup almonds toasted and chopped
- 8 oz semi-sweet chocolate chopped, and melted or tempered (optional)
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F
- In the bowl of a stand mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat together butter, sugar, salt, vanilla extract and baking powder on medium high speed until pale and smooth, about 3-4 minutes.
- Add the eggs, scrape down the sides of the bowl, and continue beating on medium-high speed until combined, another 3-4 minutes.
- Add flour, espresso powder and cocoa powder and mix on low speed until just combined. Add almonds and mix for another 30 seconds, or stir in until evenly distributed.
- Using a bowl scraper or silicone spatula, transfer the dough to a large baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone baking mat. To make 12 large biscotti, shape dough into one log, about 9 x 4 inches (it should be about 3/4 inch thick). To make 24 smaller biscotti, shape into two logs, about 9 x 2 inches. Set the logs at least 2 inches apart because they will spread while baking. I find it helpful to dampen my hands when shaping the dough, since it is very sticky.
- Bake biscotti in preheated oven for 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool for five minutes. Spritz log(s) generously with water and let sit again for 5 minutes. This helps to soften the cookie just enough to make slicing much easier.
- Remove the log(s) to a cutting board and slice on the bias with a sharp knife or a serrated bread knife. A straight down motion, or a sawing motion with the serrrated knife works well. Place the cookies back on the baking sheet with space between them, and bake for another 20-25 minutes (smaller cookies will need a little less time), until they feel quite dry.
- Cool biscotti completely on the baking sheet and dip or drizzle with melted or tempered chocolate once cooled.