Jane’s Sweets & Baking Journal -- janessweets.blogspot.com -- November 2012

(This recipe is adapted from David Lebovitz’s book, Ready for Dessert; Ten Speed Press, 2010.)

Dark Chocolate Cherry Biscotti

Yield: Two loaves of biscotti, each loaf sliced into about 14 half-inch thick pieces

Spread parchment over two regular size baking sheets, or one large sheet.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

(No electric mixer needed for this recipe.)

Ingredients:

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

3/4 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder (You don't have to use Dutch, but I think it's the best for something like this; I used Penzeys brand.)

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon (I used fine sea salt.)

3 large eggs, at room temperature

1 cup granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/3 cup dark chocolate, chopped small (I used Guittard disks, 60+ percent cacao.)

3/4 cup dried cherries, cut in half if they're large

2 tablespoons Chambord (or any similar fruity liqueur that you really like)

To brush/sprinkle on the dough before baking:

1 egg, beaten

2 tablespoons sanding/coarse white sugar, or turbinado or Demarara sugar

To make the biscotti:

In a small bowl, drizzle the Chambord over the cherries; let them sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes or so.

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt.

In a large bowl, completely whisk together the three large eggs, the granulated sugar, and the vanilla extract. Into that, gradually add the sifted ingredients. The dough will be very dry and thick. Dump the dried cherries with all of their liquid into the bowl and stir that in. Add in the chocolate pieces and stir to combine as best you can. The dough will be extremely thick and pretty sticky.

Plop all of the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and divide it in half. Lightly flour your hands.

Roll each dough-half into a long log, a few inches shorter than the length of your baking sheet (the dough spreads out quite a bit in all directions). Place each log onto a parchment covered baking sheet (or put both on one large sheet). Dampen your palms with cold water and pat the top of the loaves. Gently press down on the top of each log so it's slightly flattened.

Using a pastry brush, liberally coat each loaf with beaten egg; do this twice to each log. Sprinkle sanding/coarse sugar (or whatever kind you've chosen to use) atop the length of each loaf.

Bake the loaves for 25 minutes in a preheated 350 degree oven, reversing the pan(s) in the oven halfway through the baking time. Remove them from the oven; lower the oven temperature to 300 degrees. Leaving the loaves on the baking sheets, let them cool for up to 15 minutes.

Move the loaves, on their parchment, to a cutting surface. Using a sharp serrated knife (a bread knife), cut each loaf, on the diagonal, into slices that are about 1/2" thick (I think mine were actually a little thicken than that).

Lay all of the biscotti pieces, cut sides down, back onto parchment-covered baking sheets. Continue to bake for 20 to 30 minutes, flipping the pieces over halfway through, and reversing the direction of the baking sheet in the oven. If you want the cookies to be really hard and crunchy, bake them for the maximum amount of time, and check to see that they're pretty firm before you take them out of the oven.

When they're done, let them cool completely on the baking sheet. Store them well covered. They'll be good for about a week. (And, of course, if you're dying to dip them in melted chocolate, follow your dream!)