I always enjoyed biscotti, but never made them for some reason. Then, on one of my daily trips to Starbucks, barista Gabe asked if I had ever made biscotti. “Could you make some? And they have to be pecan biscotti because I don’t like almonds”. Hmmm…I love a recipe challenge, so set off to find the best biscotti recipe I could. I’d never baked with pecans before but now that I have, I see what all the fuss is about. Pecans are rich and have a deep, nutty flavor all their own. They are one of the softer textured nuts, so are super easy to work with when it comes to chopping.
Then I thought, “If plain biscotti is good, chocolate dipped might be even better”. So that’s how we ended up where we are today. I hope you enjoy these pecan biscotti dipped in chocolate, and then dipped again in more pecans if you choose. They are crispy on the outside, and just a little softer on the inside. Eat them as-is, or for a special treat, dunk them in your favorite coffee. The texture changes immediately, and they become soft and melt-in-your-mouth delicious in a matter of seconds. Either way or both – your choice.
Since I’m there every day, I’ve been able to make friends with many of those hard-working young men and women that perfectly make my special order (5-shot Grande Americano with 1-inch of room). These guys are amazing. They work in perfect synchronization in a very small space, handling hundreds of customers and never lose their cool. They are polite, kind, and always show a personal interest in how your day is going. They are often working many hours and going to school at the same time, and I have never, ever heard one of them complain about anything. When I bring my 90-year-old mom, Neeners, in with me, most of them will turn and holler “NEENERS!!” at the top of their lungs and she is thrilled. She starts dancing around in there and acting like a movie star….and if the music is turned up, she keeps dancing (all the while peeking around to see if anybody is looking). Neeners has always been a total drama queen. Hey Cornelius Starbucks – these pecan biscotti are for you. xoxo
Let’s begin this discussion with undipped pecan biscotti…Here you can get a good look at him. Biscotti means ‘twice baked’, and the way it works is that you form the dough into about 12 inch logs and bake 20 minutes or just until set. Then out they come for a 30 minute rest, then get sliced and popped back into the oven for another 20 minutes or so. The end result is a nice crisp outside and and inside that is just a little bit softer. These guys are crisp, but not to the point of damaging your dental work so have no fear. Pecans are chopped large enough so you can get a good piece of one in every bite.
There is cornmeal in this recipe, which also adds to the crunch factor. You can see the little flecks of corn in each slice.
Here comes the chocolate, and look how much fun you can have! You can dip each in half, you can dip in half and add chopped pecans, you can dip the whole bottom in chocolate so you get some in every bite, and after that you can add chopped pecans. Lots of possibilities which means you’ll have to try each one to see which pecan biscotti you like best.
Personally? I’m still deciding…but leaning toward the whole works!!
Thanks so much for reading today – I know you have limited free time, and am so thankful you spent some with me. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do, and would love to hear from you with any comments, questions or suggestions you may have. Just send me a note to firstname.lastname@example.org I promise to reply to each and every one. Take care and I wish you all a happy and peaceful spring!! xoxoxo
- FOR THE BISCOTTI
- 2 sticks of butter, room temperature
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup cornmeal
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 ½ cups toasted and roughly chopped pecan halves
- FOR THE CHOCOLATE DIP
- 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
- ½ cup toasted and chopped pecan halves
- Approximately 2 tablespoons canola or other neutral oil
- FOR THE TOASTED PECANS
- Note: For the entire recipe it’s a good idea to start with about 2 ½ cups of pecan halves. You will most likely need more than what the recipe calls for once the nuts are chopped, so best to be on the safe side.
- Spread the pecans in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Toast in the oven at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes or until they start to turn a darker shade of brown and you can smell the toasted aroma. Remove from oven and cool to room temperature.
- When pecans are cooled, chop them into small pieces. One thing to consider is that the pecans used in the biscotti can be roughly chopped because it’s nice to get a nice bite of the nuts in there. For the pecans you want to use after biscotti are dipped in chocolate, they should be a little smaller.
- Set aside.
- FOR THE BISCOTTI
- In a mixer, combine the butter and sugar. Beat until well blended and fluffy.
- Add the eggs one at a time, pausing 1 minute between adding each egg to make sure they are emulsified properly.
- Reduce the speed of the mixer to low and add the vanilla.
- On low speed, add the baking powder, and salt. Then add the flour, one cup at a time, and mix until blended.
- Add the cornmeal, Mix just until blended.
- Finally, still on how speed, add the chopped pecans.
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
- Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat baking mat.
- Remove the dough from the mixing bowl and divide into four equal parts.
- Take two of the pieces of dough and arrange on the cookie sheet. Shape each piece of dough into a log that is about 12 inches long and 1 ½ inches wide. These guys are going to spread, so keep them as far apart as you can, assuming they will end up being about 4 inches wide or when they are finished baking. While not the end of the world, it would be better if they didn’t run together while baking.
- Bake for about 15 minutes, or until they start to turn golden brown and look set.
- Allow to cool for 30 minutes.
- Remove the partially baked biscotti to a cutting board and slice into about ¾ inch slices. Put them back on the cookie sheet, standing them flat, thin side down and bake for about 15 minutes, or until they are golden brown and firm. It’s better to over bake these guys than to underbake them – the idea is to be crispy on the outside and softer on the inside.
- Remove from the oven and after about 10 minutes, place the biscotti on a cooling rack and allow to cool to room temperature before the chocolate dipping begins.
- Repeat the same process of baking with the remaining two pieces of dough.
- FOR THE CHOCOLATE DIP
- Here’s how we’ll get started with the end result of minimal mess involved:
- Place a sheet of wax paper or parchment paper under a cooling rack (this will prevent drip issues with the warm chocolate)
- Measure the 2 cups of chocolate chips into a glass measuring cup. Add the canola oil and stir so the oil is evenly distributed.
- Microwave in 20 second intervals, stirring after each 20 seconds (I like to use a chopstick for this endeavor). Repeat until chocolate chips are nearly all melted, then remove the measuring cup from the microwave and stir the chocolate until the remaining small pieces of chocolate are melted. You really don’t want to over-melt this chocolate or it may seize up and the whole works will be wrecked, and you’ll have to start over – and we really don’t want that to happen.
- TO DIP
- Here’s where you can have a lot of fun, and experiment with different ways to dip. I like to end up with some that are not dipped at all, some that are dipped halfway, and others that are dipped along the whole bottom of the biscotti. Sometimes I sprinkle them with nuts, and others just have chocolate. See what I mean? Something for every mood!
- The easiest way I’ve found to handle for the biscotti dipped halfway is just to dunk each halfway into the melted chocolate. If I want to add nuts, I just rotate the dipped half and sprinkle with nuts, then place on the cooling rack. Otherwise, just place on the rack after dipping in chocolate.
- If you want to dip the entire bottom of the biscotti in chocolate, I pour the melted chocolate into a long, shallow bowl that is big enough to fit an entire biscotti, then dunk the bottom on the cookie right in there. If you want to add nuts, just sprinkle on the chocolate. I have found that his ends up being a better idea than dipping the dripping chocolate into nuts, then getting the remaining nuts full of chocolate. When your dipping is done and your biscotti are looking all beautiful, place the entire rack into the refrigerator to set up. If you don’t do this, the chocolate just seems to stay in a soft, melted state.
- After the chocolate has set up, you’ll want to store your cookies in a covered container in the refrigerator until you want to stuff yourself.