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Recipe: chocolate pistachio biscotti

There is much to catch up on, but now I can finally catch up!

I saw my honey off yesterday at noon (conference), and then had a lovely and relaxing lunch with my friend in Boulder at Sushi Zanmai while it was freezing ass cold outside (1°F – you could call it a little cold snap) before sending her on her way to the airport. Despite the 51 hour visit, we packed a lot in and had a grand time of it! It snowed Saturday night, so we had fresh powder on the hill Sunday morning. It was also 0°F in the parking lot.



cuddling with kaweah to warm up

It was Kaweah’s birthday on Sunday! Our girl turned 10, so we had a special little plate for her. It was nothing so insane as last year (I had a lot of time on my hands after surgery). Happy birthday, puppy girl!

apple, cheese, vanilla ice cream, peanut butter, and sprinkles

when she wants something, but has to wait for a photo, she won’t look at it

Sunday evening, we drove down to Boulder (which was colder than our place thanks to an inversion) and treated our friend to dinner at L’Atelier, one of our favorite restaurants in town. We even ordered some bubbly.

a toast to the end of 2008

my moules with thai basil appetizer

oven-roasted grouper

we three shared a chocolate bag for dessert

It was a very special weekend to spend time together, ski, eat, play with puppy, walk, and talk talk talk talk. You would be hard-pressed to find a better friend in a better human being – she is a really good person.

Although I don’t normally like to post so many sweet recipes in a row, it is likely to be more helpful for those who want to do holiday baking. I personally wouldn’t object to receiving grilled prosciutto-wrapped asparagus instead of chocolate truffles, but that’s me and probably not most of you…

a cocoa powder-based dough

One of the new recipes I tried this season was Martha Stewart’s chocolate pistachio biscotti. I had never made biscotti before, but everyone says it is so easy. Regular readers already know that I have an obsession with pistachios and chocolate. Aside from the terrific combination of flavors, I think the green and dark brown look so spankingly beautiful together.

start with butter, sugar, and eggs

It’s true. Biscotti are very easy to make. Except someone on Martha’s team is smoking crack, because the amount of pistachios and chocolate chips was more than what the dough could hold. I had to press chocolate chips and nuts into the dough only to have two or three others fall off elsewhere. What is up with that?

chocolate chips and pistachio – perhaps too much

That’s why forming the dough into the flattened prehistoric walking fish shape was difficult. Every time I pressed it down, more nuts or chips would pop off. It wouldn’t have been a problem except that when I make food, I also like for the food to be pretty. Hence, I fret.

making this shape was a lot of work

When the dough came out of the oven, I let it cool a little and then began slicing with my uber-sharp serrated knife. The biscotti crumbled apart a lot and I am pretty sure it is because it was overstuffed with pistachios and chocolate chips – rendering the matrix somewhat incompetent (think sedimentary conglomerates). Cussing ensued.

slicing after the first bake

I manhandled the pieces back together for the second baking. Since I made a double batch – I double checked that I had measured everything correctly because I thought it might be *my* fault instead of one of Martha’s lackeys. I’m blaming the lackey and I’ve made a note in my book to reduce the amount of “stuff” in the biscotti recipe.

ready for the second bake

The double batch yielded 24 biscotti (they are sliced large, and I dare anyone to try and slice them thinner than 1-inch wide – not possible) of which 18 met my standards for gifting. Jeremy got to nibble on the ends and broken rejects. Over the truffles, the orangettes, the caramels, the espresso shortbreads, he kept going back for the biscotti with a cup of good french roast coffee in the other hand. A keeper, with minor mods.

these biscotti are screaming for some coffee

Chocolate Pistachio Biscotti
[print recipe]
modified from Martha Stewart’s Cookies

2 cups flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda (I reduced to 1/2 tsp for my elevation)
1/4 tsp salt
6 tbsps unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup shelled pistachios (try 3/4 cup)
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips (just under)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside. Beat the butter and sugar together on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add eggs, beating on low speed until well combined. Scrape the sides of the bowl if necessary. Add the flour mixture and beat to form a stiff dough. Mix in the pistachios and chocolate chips until just combined. Transfer the dough to the parchment paper and form into a slightly flattened log, about 12×4 inches. Bake until slightly firm, about 25 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes. Reduce the oven to 300°F. On a cutting board, with a sharp serrated knife, cut the biscotti diagonally into 1-inch thick slices. Arrange the cookies cut side down on the baking sheet. Bake until crisp but slightly soft in the center, about 8 minutes. Move to a wire rack and cool completely. Store in a container at room temperature up to 1 week. Makes 1 dozen.

39 nibbles at “breather”

  1. Caitlin says:

    One thing I found really helped with cutting biscotti after the first bake – let them cool ~10 minutes, then spritz them with water. Let them sit another 10 min, and then slice. They’ll be a bit softer and easier to slice without the crumbliness. King Arthur Flour sometimes comes up with the most brilliant solutions! And lucky you – it was -8 this morning in Wisconsin, but no snow :( I want to ski too!

  2. Whitney says:

    I made some cranberry and pistachios biscotti the other day but these look like the next kinda I need to try. They really would be perfect with a nice mug of coffee.

  3. Tartelette says:

    I want winter!!! It’s 80F here…
    I love those biscotti!! I know I would have more than my share!!

    Happy B-day to Kaweah!!
    Bailey thinks older ladies are cuter!

  4. dawn says:

    Ohh I’m not a winter person, even though I live in new england I miss the warm summer nights. I made some homemade cheese crackers and had to mold them, like you did with the biscotti. The molding can be tough as you say. I just love your dog, what a cutie to wait.

  5. Maya says:

    I just made these the other day except it was not Martha’s recipe. I made her chocolate gingerbread and it was yummy. Happy Birthday to Kaweah!!!!! She is such a darling…I should stop..I have puppy envy!

  6. Bridget says:

    Yeah, that final photo shows a crazy amount of pistachios. But other than that, they look great. I’ve never made chocolate biscotti, but it’s been in the back of my mind to try it.

  7. Christina says:

    That biscotti is loaded! The green of the pistachios contrasts nicely against the chocolate dough.

    What a cool treat for Kaweah!

  8. Ginny says:

    I always look at all you create pictures and I’m just thinking…You sure know how to eat!!!! :) Looks great! as always! :)

  9. marti says:

    What are biscotti like if you eat them before the second bake? I’ve never heard and I don’t drink coffee, so I’m left to wonder if they might be tasty and great without a second bake? Unheard of?

  10. Nate says:

    Oh my gosh, those biscotti look to die for! Beautiful pics.

    Happy Birthday, Kaweah!

  11. Manisha says:

    Happy Birthday, Kaweah!

    I’ve been wanting to try my hand at those chocolate bags for a couple of years now – just haven’t dared!

  12. Stacey Snacks says:

    Your landscape photographs are FANTASTIC!
    and your choc pistachio biscotti ain’t too bad either!

    Stacey Snacks
    PS thanks for letting me know about the Nikon camera!

  13. Olga says:

    wow, the biscotti look amazing! I’m totally book-marking this page.

  14. Sam says:

    That is really nice to read, thank you :)

    I had *such* a good time…. though I really am waddling around the house from all the food you made for me!!! The asparagus turned out ok tonight (not as good as yours, but Dan still liked them)!

  15. Mollie says:

    Mmmmmmm baking with pistachios again…. they look amazing. I’m craving your blondies right now… and we had your stir fried beef for dinner. We love that stuff – and it’s even easy and fast enough for a work night. My hubs was loving you (and me!) big time for it tonight.

    Yay for Sam! Love the picture of her and K. Our K does the “don’t look at it…. dooonnnnn’t look at it!” thing when he has to wait too. Priceless.

  16. Manggy says:

    HA HA HA! I love the idea that someone on the Martha team was on crack. Maybe they all are. No matter, those look awesome and strangely fudgey in the center! Enough to make me turn around on my opinion on biscotti (hard, dry, no fun to eat)! Deeelicious.
    If it’s freaking cold for Jennifer Yu, then I’d probably die in that weather! :P

  17. Pearl says:

    Wow! That looks amazing! I think I’ll use that to make my first ever batch of biscotti! Thank you for sharing :)

  18. Passionate Eater says:

    I think that Martha Stewart is wholly to blame for any botching in the biscotti. I am glad that you celebrated K’s b-day in style (aka, sprinkles).

  19. Rosa says:

    Happy belated birthday Kaweah! I love her dish :-D… A sweet dog!

    These biscotti look incredibly scrumptious! Yummy!



  20. bookaholic_au says:

    Yum. My Mum cooks a lot of biscotti, and it may be your mixture, but I think she usually cooks it more on the first baking, which makes it easier to slice. She uses a cooks knife rather than a serrated one, and generally makes her logs narrow. I noticed that all of these are different to how you did it, and wondered if there could be a link between that and your difficulties slicing.

    Pistachios rule. We once had a pistachio eating contest (we all used different bowls, and the one with the most shells was the biggest pig). My youngest sister thrashed my younger sister and I so bad, her bowl of shells was more than both of ours put together.

    I went to Istanbul last year and at the spice market (or Egyptian Baazar) the first stall from the door offered us ‘unique’ honey and pistachio turkish delight. So did the next bloke. In fact, most stallholders were selling honey and pistachio turkish delight. Despite the repetitiveness, it still ruled.

  21. Maja says:

    Happy bday, Kaweah! Normally i wouldn’t go for dog food, but that birthday treat of yours looks yummy … can i have some? :)
    I have nothing to offer on biscotti cutting, but if i’ll ever finish this writing of mine and will have time to bake some cookies for gifts before new year’s come, i’ll listen to people in the comments and tell you if it worked. :)

  22. Kate says:

    Kaweah is 10 and not a hint of grey hair! Amazing. She is quite the beauty.

    Thanks for the recipe idea. I was getting desperate for something different to make for a Winter Solstice brunch on Sunday.

  23. Graeme says:

    No such thing as too many Pistachios. No. Such. Thing.

  24. Rookie Cookie says:

    Gorgeous pictures, gorgeous biscotti.

  25. Jess says:

    Jen, I discovered you a few weeks ago and it’s safe to say at this point that I’m addicted. Everything looks so beautiful and fresh and delicious! Always looking forward to what’s next.

  26. jamie says:

    your blog is grea. Loved the post about the biscotti.
    It so obvious how much you love your husband.
    Brings a smile to my face

  27. Mrs Ergül says:

    These biscotti looks great! It makes me miss those pistachios our friend brought back Turkey… They were so yummy! jen, take care!

  28. Mary Coleman says:

    This is IT. I have been searching for the perfect present to take to a party this weekend. You did it.
    Merry Merry to you, Jeremy and that faboo dog!

  29. Isa says:

    OMG. I looooooooooooooooooove thar dessert!
    Seems like your friend had a great time.
    And thar biscotti looks amazing!

  30. Justine says:

    just came across your blog from Foodgawker. Lovin it! Great pics!!!

  31. Heather...Crumbs and Pixels says:

    These look too good! Love the last picture!

  32. Chiara says:

    Jen, I sell biscotti on the side… I find it easier to slice using a straight-edged knife (I have a Henckels carving knife) :) My fillings tend to fall apart too :P But yours look awesome!!!

  33. peabody says:

    Happy birthday to your pup! You did go all out last year, I remember that.
    Your biscotti sounds like a great flavor combo.
    What a nice dinner you had with your friend.

  34. diva says:

    beautiful photos and your dog is just gorgeous!! :) that plate of apples is giving me some ideas for my own troop of dogs – a little christmas treat, i suppose. wow, i’m liking the chocolate bag. it’s so cool and looks absolutely scrumptious. x

  35. Madam Chow says:

    The biscotti look great and I love your dog! As an aside, I see you have discovered what I call “The Martha Effect.” In my experience, so many of her baking recipes are just a teensy bit off, enough to drive one insane.

  36. jenyu says:

    Caitlin – that is fantastic advice. Thanks and I’ll try it next time! I think by now you guys must have some snow.

    Whitney – Jeremy agrees!

    Tartelette – Perhaps if I sent Kaweah over to your house, then Bailey would stop putting holes in the walls? :)

    Dawn – thanks!

    Maya – :)

    Bridget – it’s pretty straightforward. I doubt you’d have any problems (just don’t go psycho with the pistachios like Martha).

    Christina – the amazing thing is that Kaweah gets just as excited if you put dog food in front of her!

    Ginny – luckily, I am not eating the biscotti :) I gave those all away!

    Marti – they’re pretty soft, actually. I don’t drink coffee either – but I imagine they’d taste fine. I like the twice-baked version though b/c it’s easier to ship and they probably don’t go stale as quickly.

    Nate – thank you!!

    Manisha – Looks fun, doesn’t it? I am guessing you melt chocolate, pour or paint (thickly) into a waxed bag and then peel the bag away when it is done? Neat to try :)

    Stacey – thanks!

    Olga – thank you.

    Sam – you’re supposed to put it on your blog, woman! :)

    Mollie – I’m going to have to come up with some more winning beef recipes for you guys ;) Pups are such dorks – furry, lovable, cute dorks.

    Manggy – yeah, a little too fudgy – too many chocolate chips. Ugh. If it’s ever that cold here when you visit, then I will wrap you in one of the NSF-issued down jumpsuits for Antarctic scientists :)

    Pearl – you’re welcome!

    Passionate Eater – ha ha ha!

    Rosa – thanks, love. Kaweah sends wags to your kitty.

    BA – the mix is fine, it’s just got too much crap in it.

    Maja – thanks, hon!

    Kate – just a leetle bit of gray on her chinny chin chin :) Cool idea for a Solstice brunch!

    Graeme – yes sir! I’ll keep that in mind, sir! :)

    Rookie Cookie – thank you.

    Jess – you’re very sweet to say so and welcome to URB (aka Jen’s world of Crazy).

    Jamie – awww, that’s so nice of you!

    Mrs E – I know! After hearing about them, I’m wishing *I* had friends who went to Turkey :)

    Mary – thanks!

    Isa – she did, and it was a great weekend. Thanks!

    Justine – thank you!

    Heather – they’re great for any chocoholic in your life.

    Chiara – Oooh, I have Henckels too (great minds…) Thanks for the tip!

    Peabody – thanks sweetie :) Pup sends wags to your pupper and bunny!

    Diva – chocolate bags are neat because of what you can put IN them, hee hee!

    Madam Chow – ha ha! I never thought of it that way. I’ve only made a handful of her recipes. I must admit though, most of them have been quite wonderful :)

  37. Mary-Ann K says:

    These are, by far, one of the BEST biscotti I have ever made! I first found them in a 2000(?) issue of Martha Stewart Christmas Baking. They were a HUGE hit with family and friends. I still get requests to make them. I used only the finest quality chocolate – I feel that is the key, especially when it comes to baking with chocolate. Chopping the chocolate just a bit made the chips easier to incorporate and I added a teaspoon of pure vanilla to bring out the flavors.
    They are a bit of work and worth the effort!

  38. May says:

    The pictures you take are the absolute best!
    I was wondering, if i were to omit the chocolate chips, would the taste be any different? or would the chocolate chips be an absolute must?

  39. jenyu says:

    May – you can certainly omit the chocolate chips. The taste would be different – as in there wouldn’t be any chocolate – but the biscotti should be fine.

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