Absolute dark chocolate fancies with orange flavor and no butter, perfect bite for the tea/coffee time gossips.
Dark chocolates, black coffee, low sugar, I took my liking to all of these unusual flavours early in my life, yes they’d be ‘unusual flavours’ if you were born to an average middle class Indian family in mid 80’s that on holidays did not go to Singapore or Hongkong but rather quite contentedly enjoyed the vacations spanning between Darjeeling to Kerala. So, no global exposure to develop that sort of liking, trust then I cannot align this unusual liking to anything else but to my growing up with a novel in my hand. The concept of black coffee for one must have taken my fancy as my favourite characters would sip trough it while discussing matters of utmost importance. The dark chocolates & low sugar could have come from endless hours on the couch watching my favourite sitcoms on StarWorld (likes of the ‘Friends’ or ‘Wonder Years’), for otherwise in common Indian homes we proudly believe “Meethas mein kami nahin honi chahiye” (there should be no restriction on sweetness).
So while age might have outgrown my ‘wannabe’ years, I have neither really out grown of reading or watching StarWorld, nor their fancies that i’d taken to in a whim. I still experience the raised eyebrow look from the waiter when I often ask for a double espresso at most coffee shops, infact many a times they politely try to explain to me that ‘it is a dark black coffee ma’am’ or even ‘should I bring you milk separately’, and I rather politely tell them ‘thank you but I just want my espresso please’. Not that I don’t like milk with all hot beverages, separate rule apply for tea as I love the spicy Indian masala teas and ‘adrak wali chai’ is my favourite. Although, the surprised look is withdrawing fast, especially as even our Indian middle class is now going global, travelling extensively and enjoying the gastronomic delights form all over.
I need to cut my story right there, for you may think I am about to tell you how to make a black coffee, for it’s rather my favourite accompaniment to the coffee- the Biscotti. Specially, a dark chocolate biscotti with almonds or pecans, since pecans are not a common find here in India, I made mine with only almonds and a controlled amount of non refined sugar, and also no butter. So, these twice baked biscotti, a recipe adapted from one of David Lebovitz’s, is certainly a healthy bite for my evening cravings, dark, intense and crunchy. I cut down the cocoa powder by large and used some fine dark chocolate and infused orange flavourings which I think goes pretty well with dark chocolate. Also since I did not have to worry about ‘rising’, I simply used brown cane sugar to add another dash of health into my dark temptation. The dipping into the chocolate is absolutely optional and I only dipped half of my biscotti strictly for Mr. H, i am sure you won’t believe me when is say I didn’t have any of the chocolate dipped ones.
Ingredients (Makes 20):
- 1 cup plain flour
- 1/4th cup good Cocoa
- ½ tsp baking soda
- a pinch of salt
- ½ cup dark brown sugar
- 1/3rd cup almonds, roasted and finely sliced
- 60 gms good dark chocolate (80%)
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp orange extract
- ½ tsp almond extract
- Optional, approx 30 gms melted milk or dark chocolate to dip.
- Preheat the oven to 180OC.
- Mix the flour, cocoa pwd, salt and baking soda together and keep aside.
- Melt the chocolate using the double boiler method (place a heat proof bowl over a pot of simmering water). Remove from the heat as soon as it melts and allow cooling for 8-10 mins.
- Now beat 2 eggs in a bowl and add 3/4th of it (remaining shall be used up for brushing) to the chocolate along with the brown sugar, orange and almond extracts. Blend well until it combines.
- Gradually stir in the dry mixture and then add the chopped almonds and mix until the dough comes together.
- Now line the baking tray with a parchment paper (I was out of stock on it so just greased a regular butter paper). On a lightly floured surface roll the dough into a log, approx 9-10 inches. Place it on the parchment and flatten the top with a spatula, then generously brush the dough log.
- Sprinkle the top with a little sugar (I used castor and it worked fine with me) and bake for 20 mins or until the top is firm.
- Remove and allow it to cool for approx 15 minutes and then using a serrated bread knife cut it into ½ inch pieces. Place these cookies on the tray again and bake for 20-30 mins until crisp, flip side once in between. Allow to rest for 5-10 minus before grabbing and dunking into the coffee.
- For the extra chocolaty version just melt the chocolate and dip the biscotti and let it cool until the chocolate is set. Store in an airtight container.
Dos and Don’ts:
- Chose nuts and flavours of your choice.
- If diet is not on your mind, adding a little butter to the wet mixture would give you a crumblier texture.
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