recipes worth repeating – biscotti and mostly cocoa brownies

I know, I know, repeats. However, since these recipes were slightly different than the first time I made them, I figured I should share. Plus it’s not like I can make brand new stuff every time! Trust me, I tried. Also, there were a couple of family birthdays, and repeat recipes are always good for that because they’re tried and true. Don’t worry, my boss’s birthday is this week so you’ll be seeing something new for him – the chocaholic.

Back to the family, my uncle loves brownies, and the mostly cocoa ones were the ones I’ve gotten the most compliments on, so when my aunt asked if I’d make him some I turned back to this recipe (mostly). Instead of doubling the recipe, as I had originally to feed the office, I only made 16 brownies.

Then, I really wanted to make hazelnut biscotti for my mom’s birthday, to try something different, so I figured if I replaced hazelnut everywhere “almond” appeared in the recipe, it would be awesome. And you know what? I’m sure it will be, if I get the chance. I didn’t have hazelnuts at home, and they didn’t have them at the food store when I went to check. Since I originally hadn’t planned on buying any new ingredients, thank you food shopping excursion yesterday, and since I already took time out of the day to go to an extra food store and hadn’t started baking yet, I decided it was a sign just to make the (jersey shore) almond biscotti. I’ll get you the hazelnut ones next time, mom! Since it was a little over the top the last time I made the biscotti, in an attempt to double the recipe and then change my mind, I cut the butter and sugar. They are still fantastic, I think you could use even less sugar if you like.

Again, please keep in mind that each of these recipes are not the same as the first time I made them. So they’re kind of new, right?

So, with limited details and photos, here is my 2nd attempt at (mostly) cocoa brownies:

MOSTLY COCOA BROWNIES – Take 2

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup vanilla sugar (ran out of regular, oops)
  • 1 oz unsweetened chocolate
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Line an 8×8″ baking dish or pan with parchment, and leave some overhang to help get the brownies out at the end. I only did this in one direction. Preheat the oven to 325F.

Melt the butter and 1-oz chocolate in a bowl in the microwave. Why did I do that? Because I didn’t feel like cutting into another stick of butter for 2 tablespoons. I figured 2tbsp = 1 ounce, and that could be 1 ounce of anything. And since these aren’t really cocoa brownies anymore… why not some melted chocolate.

Anyway, while that’s melting, combine the cocoa powder, salt, and sugar in a large bowl. Add the melted butter and chocolate and stir until completely incorporated. Then add the vanilla and mix some more. Add the eggs one at a time and make sure they’re completely stirred in. Add the flour and mix only until it’s just completely blended. Then it’s time to add the chocolate chips. Stir them in so they’re evenly distributed.

Spread the mixture evenly into the 8×8 lined dish. Pop in the oven for about 25 mins, and rotate them halfway. I know I said this during the last recipe, but I canNOT reiterate how AMAZING this smells. Really. Even if you’re not eating them, you should bake these just to make yourself swoon! You deserve it.

Cool completely, lift the brownies out of the pan using the parchment, and cut on a cutting board. This worked much easier than trying to cut them in the pan and then fish them out one at a time, like I did last time.

And there you have it, cut them 4×4 and enjoy! Or, ship them to your family in NJ and hear about how awesome they are when they get there 🙂

NOT SO SWEET AND BUTTERY (BUT JUST AS DELICIOUS) BISCOTTI

  • 3/4 cup vanilla sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 1.5 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup ground almonds – I should mention it was 1 cup before I ground them, I ran out. shocking.
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup sliced and toasted almonds
  • 3/4 cup mini chocolate morsels (optional! add more if you want to make it all chocolate chip, I just did half)

Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment.

Cream together the sugar and butter. I figured I’d increase fragrance by using vanilla sugar but not add any extra vanilla in the recipe. They’re yummy so it doesn’t matter you’re missing the extract.

While that’s going, mix all your dry ingredients – flour, salt, baking powder, cornmeal, and ground almonds – together in a medium bowl. Add your eggs, one at a time, to the butter/sugar and mix thoroughly. Add the almond extract and mix some more.

In 2 batches, add your dry ingredients and mix until just incorporated. This batter was pretty thick and sticky. I think it was more runny last time because of all the extra butter. Now, I wanted half chocolate chip and half plain, so when I divided the dough into two logs, I took the plain portion first. Shape it into a log about 14″ long and 3″ wide. (I paid more attention to the 3″ wide, but made them just shorter than the edges of the pan in case they spread, so 14″ is probably not precise.) I didn’t make the mistake of making them super wide again!

Add your mini morsels to the remainder of the batter. It might be easier to knead them in by hand. Take that portion of the dough/batter (which is it? It’s like both!) and shape it into a log on the other half of the sheet, leaving about 3″ between it and the other log.

Bake for half an hour, rotating the sheets halfway through. When they’re done, place them onto a cooling rack, and let cool for half an hour. Turn your oven off. You’ll be baking again shortly, but at a lower temperature. It’ll take no time to reheat, so why waste energy leaving it on?

Look at that, not expanded like… last time. After the logs have cooled, at least half an hour, start your oven back up and set it to 300F. Now it’s time to cut the logs into slices. Remove the ends, and cut about 1″ thick. I got about 12 biscotti from each log. I found this easier by cutting them on a cutting board instead of directly onto the baking sheet which I believe I did last time. (I also bought a bread knife today which made the whole process that much easier. Get a good knife, you’ll be happy you did!)

Line the biscotti up on their sides on baking racks on the baking sheet. This helps both sides of the cookies to cook at once so you don’t have to worry about flipping them midway through! I love saving steps!

I cooked two sheets at a time, and switched them halfway through front to back and top to bottom. Total cook time was 13 minutes.

Let them cool on the racks on the trays for as long as you like. Then it’s time to enjoy!

Thanks for indulging me this second time around. These small changes could be the difference between good biscotti and brownies and your favorite biscotti and brownies, so why not give it a shot?

Happy baking!

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One comment

  1. just thought you should know i’ve been making biscotti with a few of your tips. about 5 minutes away from outta the oven and smelling great!

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