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Chocolate-almond biscotti

Biba Caggiano
Biba Restaurant, Sacramento

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1/4 lb. whole almonds with their skins, or blanched almonds
1/4 lb. semisweet chocolate, finely diced
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tbsp. dry yeast
1/2 tbsp. salt
5 large eggs, lightly beaten in a small bowl
Butter for the cookie sheet
Flour for the cookie sheet
1 egg, lightly beaten with 1 tsp. water in a small bowl


Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Put the almonds on a cookie sheet and bake for four to five minutes, until they are lightly golden brown. Put the almonds in a food processor and pulse the machine on and off until they are ground into very small pieces. (Do not process the almonds into powder.)

In a large bowl, combine almonds, chocolate, sugar, flour, yeast and salt and mix well. Add the eggs and mix with a wooden spoon or your hands to incorporate into a soft paste. Put the mixture onto a working surface and shape it into a ball. Sprinkle the dough with a bit of flour if it sticks heavily to the board and to your hands. (Keep in mind, however, that the dough should be just a bit sticky.)

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Divide the dough into three or four pieces. Flour your hands lightly and shape each piece of dough into a roll about the thickness of a sausage. Place the rolls on the cookie sheet, making sure they do not touch each other, and brush them lightly with the beaten egg. Bake 15 to 20 minutes, or until the rolls have a nice golden color.

Remove rolls from the oven and, as soon as they are cool enough to handle, cut them diagonally into 4-inch pieces. Place the pieces back on the cookie sheet and bake 10 minutes longer. Cool completely before serving. Biscotti can be stored in an airtight container for several days.

Makes about 30 biscotti.

"These almond-chocolate biscotti are a variation of the famous Tuscan biscotti. They have a marvelous crunchy consistency and a not too sweet taste. (If you prefer softer cookies, bake them as instructed, but do not put them back into the oven to dry.) I love to serve biscotti at the end of a meal, dunked in a nice glass of Vin Santo, port, sherry or dry marsala wine."--Biba Caggiano

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