CLICK TO BEGIN PRINTING



DIY: Chocolate Organic Biscotti


For an elegant holiday treat that’s easy to make and economical, try this homemade biscotti recipe


By Joyce H. Newman



Handmade biscotti are a great treat for holiday parties (try dunking them in dessert wine!), and an impressive gift to bring when visiting friends. And no matter what the season, they serve as elegant companions for espresso, cappuccino, latte, or tea. Traditional biscotti in Italy are firm, toast-like biscuits flavored with anise or almond, but there are many other, more decadent, varieties. This double-chocolate recipe featuring chocolate chips has a rich flavor and always gets rave reviews.


These homebaked goodies are also fresher, healthier (no pesticides, preservative, or transfats) and more affordable than what you'll probably find in a café. When we checked the prices of some store-bought biscotti, they ranged from about 40 cents to more than $1 per cookie (Starbucks, for example, charged 99 cents for each individually wrapped chocolate-almond biscotti), and you didn't get a break for buying a bunch. Some organic biscotti we found online cost even more, up to $1.50 per cookie. 

By comparison, the cost of the ingredients in our homemade biscotti, made from USDA Organic and Fair Trade certified products, came to only 45 cents per cookie. The recipe yields about 30 biscotti and the whole preparation and baking time takes less than an hour.

You can make these biscotti way ahead of time and freeze them for weeks, or just keep in an airtight container for several days. For a lovely gift, it’s fun to show off the biscotti in recyclable containers or other packaging that’s eco-friendly, and we’ve included some suggestions.

Below are step-by-step instructions for making biscotti from the greenest ingredients. We chose brands that are widely available. But feel free to use up any baking basics you may already have in the cupboard.

TOOLS

*Large baking sheet

*Parchment paper

*Large mixing bowl (preferably glass or non-reactive material)

*Small mixing bowl

*Cutting board

*Electric mixer (smaller hand mixer is fine, or you can also stir by hand)

*Good cutting knife with serrated edges

*Measuring cups and spoons

INGREDIENTS

*2 cups all-purpose certified organic flour

*/2 cup unsweetened organic, fair trade cocoa powder

*1 teaspoon baking soda

*1 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt

*3/4 stick ( 6 tablespoons) unsalted organic butter (preferably from a local dairy)

*1 cup organic cane sugar

*2 large organic eggs

*1 tablespoon organic brewed coffee (or instant coffee mixed with water)

*3/4 cup organic semisweet chocolate chips

*4 tablespoons organic confectioners’ sugar

DIRECTIONS

1. In a large bowl, beat softened butter and granulated sugar until the butter lightens in color and is fluffy. Add two eggs—one at a time—and beat until thoroughly mixed together.

2. Mix flour, cocoa powder, coffee, salt, and baking soda in small bowl. Do NOT add the powdered sugar. Gradually add flour mixture to contents of large bowl, stirring; it will form a stiff dough. Stir in chocolate chips.

3. With floured hands, take the large ball of dough and divide it into two balls of equal size; on a parchment-paper-covered, or lightly greased and floured baking sheet, shape each ball into a long, flattened log. Each log should be about 10-12 inches long, and about 2 inches wide. Dust each log with confectioners' sugar and place in 350-degree oven to bake for 30-35 minutes, or until slightly firm to the touch.

4. Cool the biscotti on baking sheet for a few minutes and then cut each log diagonally into slices, each about 3/4" wide.

5. Turn each piece cut side down on the baking sheet and bake again for about 10 minutes until crisper.

6. Let biscotti cool. When completely cool, dust again with confectioners' sugar and package in an airtight tin or glass container. (NOTE: If you would like to freeze the biscotti, wrap in waxed paper and foil to fully protect the cookies, and use an airtight freezer container.)

RESOURCES:  ORGANIC, FAIRLY TRADED INGREDIENTS

Whether you shop for ingredients at a conventional market or natural foods store, make sure the product is certified USDA Organic or Fair Trade (for the cocoa, coffee, and chocolate chips), and bears these third-party seals rather than making unverifiable claims. Here are some product brands that we used, which can be found at Whole Foods or regional green supermarkets such as Mrs. Green's.

* Equal Exchange organic and fair trade certified baking cocoa

* Florida Crystals organic cane powdered and granulated sugar. Their granulated sugar is slightly finer and less refined than traditional sugar, but it is a cup-for-cup replacement for white granulated sugar. It's certified Kosher too!

*King Arthur or Arrowhead Mills unbleached, all-purpose, organic white flour (also available at Stop n Shop). Do not use whole wheat or spelt flour for this recipe! Organic Powdered Sugar—Florida Crystals brand 16 oz. $3.19  at Mrs. Green's—ultra fine 10X confectioner's sugar made from organic sugarcane. Non-GMO and also certified Kosher!

*Organic Valley or Horizon organic no-salt butter

*Trader Joe's Medium Roast Organic Fair Trade Coffee (or peruse store shelves for the many companies that bear both seals, like Dean's Beans and Pura Vida (which is also certified shade-grown). 

*SunSpire or Sweet Earth organic/fair trade certified semi-sweet chocolate chips

Eggs that are organic and/ or certified humane, from happier, healthier hens (both kinds of eggs are widely available in conventional as well as natural foods stores)

TIPS FOR GIFT WRAPPING BISCOTTI

Try filling an oversized, reusable coffee mug  with biscotti –a gift within a gift.

Use recycled paper gift bags. It looks great if you stand up each cookie on end in a reusable gift bag. Add a festive touch with “ribbon” made from raffia or hemp twine from the local crafts store. Gaim.com sells Recycled Gift Bags—5 bags on sale for $6.99

Use recycled, but still shiny, aluminum foil to wrap up individual pieces.
Greenfeet.com sells recycled shiny foil. A 50 sq.ft. roll  costs  $5.95

Use 100% Recycled Gift Wrap Paper 
Green Field Paper Company provides a variety of paper designs printed using soy-based inks, instead of conventional petroleum-based inks. Two large sheets in a roll measuring  22" x 33.75" cost $7.95

Other sources of recycled gift wrapping paper include: Papermojo.com, Paporganics.com, and Savitris.com