Dark Chocolate Almond Biscotti and a Baby Update


I've been inspired by the numerous holiday cookies that have appeared across the blogosphere. Recently I returned from a trip to San Francisco where I encountered a collection of creative gingerbread houses at the Palace Hotel.






Hopefully someday I'll be at a level where I can build a gingerbread house from scratch. In the meantime, I am taking baby steps with this chocolate biscotti, which has been a wonderful accompaniment to my morning beverage. This recipe produces a dark-chocolatey hearty biscotti that is great for dipping into hot chocolate. This recipe was adapted from David Leibovitz. I reduced the amount of flour call for in the original recipe by 1/4 cup because I found the first batch was too dry.


The quality of this biscotti does depend on using high quality chocolate. I used extra dark cocoa powder from Barry Cacao pictured on the left, which as you can see contrasted to the Dutch processed cocoa powder I obtained from Penzey's on the right is much darker. If you had smell-o-vision, you'd be able to inhale the intense, luxurious chocolate aromas from the Barry Cacao cocoa.


Barry Cacao was generously sent to me by El of Fresh New England for a fabulous giveaway I won recently. If you haven't visited El's blog, you're missing out on some of the most gorgeous, exquisite and inspiring desserts on Earth. My big baking project this month will be to tackle El's Ultimate Dark Chocolate Cupcake with Chocolate Ganache. I'm excited!

Dark Chocolate Almond Biscotti
Ingredients
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cups good-quality cocoa powder (I used Barry Cacao)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup almonds, toasted and very coarsely-chopped
3/4 cup chocolate chips

Method 
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a medium sized bowl sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt.
  2. In a large bowl, beat together the room temperature eggs, sugar and vanilla extract. Mix in the flour and cocoa mixture in three parts. When the dough is well mixed, fold in the chopped almonds and chocolate chips until the dough is well integrated. 
  3. Line the baking sheet with a silpat or parchment paper. Divide the dough in half. 
Makes 40 cookies.

Baby Update
This week marks the midpoint of my pregnancy at 20 weeks, which amazes me how it seems like just yesterday I told everyone that I was expecting. So much has grown and developed over that time. It was an incredibly overwhelming experience to see and hear the baby's heart beat for the first time at 8 weeks. I had no idea that all of the organs, arms and legs would be in place by 12 weeks. Interestingly this baby likes hang out on my left side, probably where the placenta implanted. It even kicks mostly to the left, which is why I joke with my husband that the baby is naturally left-leaning. It's been an amazing to experience all of these changes, it truly feels like small miracles are happening week to week.

Boy or Girl?
Next week we'll receive the most comprehensive view of our baby's development to date and hopefully find out the gender. So far the baby is insisting that we respect its privacy, refusing to budge or even give us an inkling of what he/she is during our monthly doctor visits. Although, I don't mind, we'll eventually find out. I'd love to hear your guess on what we might be expecting next May. The guesses among friends and family have been equally split betwen boy and girl. Perhaps the funniest guess came from a trucker when I was walking up Second Avenue in midtown, who as soon as he saw me declared "Hey, you're having a boy! You're the boyyy-type! Watch, the next time I see you, you'll be pushing a stroller with a boouyyee in it!" I had no idea that truckers cared so much.

79 comments:

Fun and Fearless in Beantown said...

I'm going to a gingerbread house making party tomorrow night and its probably the first time I've done this since I was a child. Let's hope my skills have improved!

lisa is cooking said...

Your biscotti look fantastic! I'd love to have one to dunk in a cappuccino right now.

I'm going to guess you're having a girl. Although, it sounds as if the trucker was pretty sure of himself!

alison said...

love your biscotti,looks perfect!
i think you're baby is a boy,pure feminine intuition!:)

My Carolina Kitchen said...

Your trucker story is cute. Someone speaking to a stranger in Manhattan sounds very unusual to me. Maybe he's one of Santa's elves spreading Christmas cheer disguised as a trucker. You never know....you have to believe to receive.

I haven't made biscotti in years. I'm not much of a baker but it was one of the few things that turned out looking just like the picture. I love the idea of using chocolate.

Last year a gingerbread house fashioned after a friend of ours fairy tale castle in the mountains won first place in the teen division of the Gingerbread House Contest at the Grove Park Inn in Asheville. How nice that you are looking forward to having the time to make one.
Sam

Belinda @zomppa said...

How did you refrain from eating the house?

Did you try the ring test yet? Tie your wedding band on a string and have someone hold it still over your belly. It'll start moving...I promise it does!

Zomppa Leva has some news too!

Ravenous Couple said...

omg, that is so exciting!! hopefully we can see you in all your motherhood glory in feb!

Fresh Local and Best said...

Ravenous couple - I'd love to see you guys in February! Please keep me updated on travel plans!

Sherry said...

Hi Christine, great trucker story! I'm definitely putting my vote in the hat for a boy!

Cool Lassi(e) said...

Hey,
Congrats dear! How is the pregnancy coming along? I missed that post and a few others following it. Looking forward to hearing about the sex of the baby soon. Love the biscotti! Bookmarking it!

From the Kitchen said...

Ah sweet memories of the gingerbread houses I used to make with my little boys (not so little any more)! Biscotti with a latte is my idea of a well-balanced meal and I'm happy to have a new chocolate recipe. My present one is a little on the dry side but good for dipping. I'm anxious to try yours. And, thanks for the baby update--boy or girl, it wonderous!

Best,
Bonnie

Momgateway said...

Congratulations on your pregnancy...So happy for you!

Pam said...

Your biscotti looks great and I'd love to have a sample now. Cute story with the trucker. I think it's a boy for you! My first grandbaby is due Feb. 14th-a perfect Valentine's gift! It took 2 visits for my DIL before he finally stretched out to be seen. He likes to lay low! Here's wishing you the best with your precious baby! It's a wonderful amazing thing!!!

lululu said...

That truck driver was really funny!
I would say you are having a girl. Can't wait to find it out!

5 Star Foodie said...

wow, 20 weeks already, hope you get to find out the gender soon, very exciting! Those biscotti look terrific for sure, and I love your shot of the chocolate, neat!

Mari said...

Wonderful gingerbread houses. I finally did one this year, it is pretty simple but the experience was fantastic. I love biscotti, I will try your recipe.

I guess you are having a GIRL!

Hugs

Sara said...

Hi Christine! So glad to hear all is going well with you and baby. You know my guess...GIRL. But I'm not great at guessing these things. I can't wait to find out! So excited and happy for you!

White Hot Oven said...

Oh my goodness - the trucker comment had me in stitches! HA! The things that come out of some people :)

I can picture you with an adorable little girl. Definitely. So that she can play dress up in all your things. Either way it will be a beautiful baby!

Can't wait to hear more updates.

xoox

A Year on the Grill said...

I see a left leaning upper west side metro sexual (in 30 years) boy in your future

SavoringTime in the Kitchen said...

Perhaps a star pitcher for the Yankees? It is such an exciting time. No matter what the gender, I know this will be a good looking baby ;)

I love biscotti and I love chocolate so I'm so excited to try these. I'll have to see if I can find Barry's cocoa.

Megan said...

The story about the trucker is hysterical. It seems like a good bet to side with him. :)

The biscotti looks really good. I always think the quality of the chocolate can make or break something.

Claudia said...

I love truckers in NYC! (When they're fun...) When I carried my son - I was straight out- and everyone told me it was a boy. I carried Kirsten in the back and everyone told me it was a girl... "everyone" was right! Now as for Lefty, I am stumped!

The dark chocolate really rings to me - I've never seen such a deep biscotti. Will have to try. And I have some nice cocoa.

Never did the gingerbread thing from scratch. It's a "one-day" when someone else wants to keep me company! I am inspired by the absolutely lovely creations and wish I had the talent. Will visit any blog that has decadent desserts.

Kim said...

Christine - So funny that you are carrying a "lefty". I carried my daughter on the left side too (it made for some rather strange stretch marks). Good luck finding out the gender. That is such an exciting event!

I am a firm believer that a good quality cocoa makes all the difference. Your biscotti look delicious.

Victoria said...

Haha! That trucker is hilarious!! Um, I'm gonna guess girl, but I'm usually wrong about these things, so then boy it is :) Great seeing you the other night!

Julia said...

Christine, that is so funny!! I love NYC truckers. Good for you for having so much fun with it. And thanks for the update. (And the biscotti recipe!)

Anncoo said...

Congratulations on your pregnancy :)
Love those gingerbread house pictures, very beautiful and your almond biscotti looks so perfect, I would like to try some :))
Merry Christmas (Hug)

Simply Life said...

Oh what a fun update and delicious biscotti!

Dinners and Dreams said...

Christine, I didn't know you were pregnant. Congratulations!! This is an exciting time of your life. Enjoy!!

Nisrine

Lori said...

I just love seeing gingerbread houses. I always have these visions and ideas in my head of making one myself, but have never given it a try. I do, however, love biscotti and that I have made. This recipe sounds great. Congrats on the progress. Sounds like the pregnancy is going well!

Gloria said...

Christine I adore biscottis and this look delicious. Your ginger house pictures are wonderful! x gloria

Gloria said...

I congrats by your preganacy! Is absolutely nice! x gloria

sweetlife said...

20 weeks already, wow how time has flown? Oh I love the pic of the tree, beautiful!! a perfect treat for you to indulge, I ate alot of biscotti when I was expecting but I dipped them in ice crea, lol!! I'm going with the truckers guess, how cute..I laughed when you tweeted me this...good luck on your next visit...take care and rest!
sweetlife

Sook said...

Christine - The biscotti look so good! I'd have them on Christmas eve with my favorite hot chocolate! Yum yum!

A Canadian Foodie said...

Great recipe - and a very exciting time in your life, Christine. I miss your visits...
:)
Valerie

baby video monitor said...

The dark chocolate almond biscotti is nice and is always my favorite.

Barbara said...

I went to a gingerbread-house decorating event last week, but still have not made one from scratch. I can barely get them decorated properly! :)

Love the dark chocolate biscotti! YUM!


When I was young, there was no test for sex of the baby. We didn't mind. I remember at a shower someone held some sort of locket over my tummy which was suppose to indicate sex in some way. Never worked.
A girl first, is what I hope for you.

Trix said...

Ha, my money is on the trucker!!!
Awesome story.

That Christmas tree photo is stunning - almost puts me in a holiday mood, thank you! ; )

tasteofbeirut said...

I used to make biscottis all the time! Yours is one I would like to start making again. Love that chocolat and no butter idea. Good luck with baby, it is very exciting!

OysterCulture said...

Your biscotti recipe sounds just delicious. I have not made them in a long time, and now I feel the need. This cold damp weather is perfect for cookies and a hot bevie

Love the truck driver story. He obviously knows his stuff - I 'm going with him!

Fuji Mama said...

Mmmmmm...all this talk of chocolate has me needing some urgently...and it's only 7:10 am!! The biscotti look fantastic--a perfect treat for a gloomy SoCal Friday I think!

Ok, I've obviously been totally out of touch with the blogosphere, because I didn't know you were expecting!! CONGRATS! The way I carry, people ALWAYS guessed I was having a boy. Well, I have 2 girls. My guess is a girl, since the baby is being so modest. Boys usually like to flaunt it... ;)

Heavenly Housewife said...

So happy to hear that everything is progressing nso well with the baby. Whatever it is, boy or girl, its going to be perfect :)
Speaking of perfect, those cookies look amazing :). I wish i could come over and snatch one (or two).
Have a very happy holidays.
*kisses* HH

high low said...

You must have been reading my mind Christine because I was thinking about making my first biscotti this weekend! So great seeing you recently and can't wait to hear if it's a little girl or boy! See you soon when we're back in NYC!

lostpastremembered said...

Congrats on the good news and NYC truck drivers are almost as wise as NYC kids... scary how smart and savvy they are. You go with that biscotti... I think children should love chocolate from conception... it's that good for you!

El said...

Sooo glad everyone is healthy! That's wonderful. What will the baby be? NO idea but I'll bet they'll be a cultured eater. I'm very happy for you!!

The biscotti look fantastic and thanks for the mention. I hope to meet some of your blog friends too!

Andrea@WellnessNotes said...

The biscotti look great!

Half way there! :-) Enjoy the rest of this very special time! The truck driver story is funny! I hope the baby cooperates next week during the ultrasound!

Elpi said...

The cocoa reminds me on how I screwed up our family's hot chocolate drink.

Debinhawaii said...

Such gorgeous gingerbread house pictures and the biscotti looks so chocolaty and good. Can't wait to hear whether you are having a boy or girl--I am happy it is all going so well. ;-)

Penny said...

I have been wanting to make biscotti and this sounds like the place to start. If I saw you I might be able to tell what you are going to have. They say that boys are all out front and girls curl around the middle. Old wive's tale I am sure. But the trucker may be onto something.

bunkycooks said...

The biscotti looks perfect now! We are also going to be seeing some gingerbread houses this weekend. The level of detail people get into with these is just jaw dropping! Congrats on making it half way through your pregnancy. That is very exciting news. :)

Sacha said...

Hello Christine
Thank you for your visit and nice comment, they gave me really want to discover you and your blog .... which is wonderful, it is with great pleasure that I will flip through the pages a lot of nice surprises are filed for us ... This post is especially magical! thank you
Good weekend
A + + Sacha

Magic of Spice said...

Wow I can't believe it is 20 weeks already...funny about guessing, everyone though both of mine would be girls, but boys they are :)
I am having my morning coffee and would so love to have one of your biscotti, they look fantastic!

Cathy said...

Your yummy dark chocolate biscotti really appeals to me because I don't care for overly sweet cookies. I'm looking forward to having several with a rich cup of espresso.

I'm happy to read that your pregnancy is going well. This is such a special exciting time in your lives.

Happy Holiday!

UrMomCooks said...

Your biscotti look delicious! Really enjoyed the pics of the gingerbread houses...Stay happy and healthy!

T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types said...

I always enjoy making biscotti, much more than the typical cookie. Last week, I made a batch of anisette biscotti, but all this chocolate looks really enticing!

nancy at good food matters said...

It's hard to believe that you've passed the halfway point. I'm happy that you are progressing so well, with a left-leaning baby! I made a gingerbread house once, many years ago---such hard work. Your biscotti look delicious. Best wishes to you and yours this holiday season. ps--the NYC truckers must have good intuition.

girlichef said...

How wonderful, Christine! I'm sorry, I must have missed that post so a very belated CONGRATULATIONS to you! :D And the biscotti sounds divine.

Velva said...

I am smiling! Great post. I am going with the truckers prediction that it is a boy. If a trucker stops you on 2nd ave and yells it's a boy, I am putting my money with him.

I have not tackled biscotti. However, I do love purchasing it and dipping it into my coffee.

Thanks for keeping us posted on the baby front.

Happy Holidays.

Velva

Jean said...

Your comment about the trucker made me smile. :-) Glad that your pregnancy is going so well. Can't wait until you share your first pictures (if you plan to, that is). Boy or girl, not sure. Adorable...for sure!

~Lisa~ said...

Christine how exciting! Whether a boy or girl, you're life will be filled with so much joy. I'm so glad that all is going well. Your biscotti looks amazing. I never use dutch processed cocoa powder so good choice.

redmenace said...

The biscotti looks lovely, but I'm even more excited abou the baby! I vote for a girl. People routinely pointed at my belly and called out, "boy!" So, because they were wrong I feel they're probably wrong in your case too. Besides, girls (so I hear) are super fun to dress! Ruffles! xoxo Can't wait to hear!

Bridgett said...

Most of the people that would make adamant comments about the sex of my children were usually right. It kind of freaked me out! I look forward to hearing about what you will be expecting soon enough. The biscotti look and sound fabulous. Perfect for the season. Wishing you and yours a wonderful holiday.

Diana Bauman said...

Hi Christine. The biscotti looks divine and that cacao looks decadent. As delicious as this post is... I am rather anxious for the gender... lol! Merry Christmas to you and your family :D

Erica said...

Those look delicious! I am having a boy on March!!! Happy holidays to you and your husband! I can't wait to know the baby gender :)

Stella said...

Hey Christine, your biscotti looks wonderful. In fact, I'm going to make some. I love biscotti. Oh, and I'm still waiting on gingerbread house building skills to hit me too;-)
Hmm...I'd have to know how you're feeling to guess the gender. Boys are generally harder to carry due to hormones that kick in to make the baby a boy. They cause quite a bit of nausea...!

Esme said...

Those gingerbread houses look lovely. What were you doing in SF?

I did not realize that truckers cared about baby gender.

Joanne said...

These biscotti sound lovely! I bet they taste exactly the way Christmas feels.

You know, if you need any help eating those chocolate cupcakes...I'm just a subway ride away...

Exciting about the baby! I can't wait to hear whether it's a boy or a girl!

Juliana said...

Christine, the biscotti looks perfect...love the idea of mixing the chocolates :-) Congratulations...boy or girl!

Skip to Malou said...

i think it's a boy.. the dark chocolate in the biscotti gave it away.. . or probably because of the adorable trucker who cares to give amusing comment such as his...
merry christmas christine!

Chiara said...

dear Christine, your post is full of sweetness ! I wish you a very merry Christmas...A hug from Italy

Chubby Chinese Girl said...

Christine,
A very Merry Christmas to you guys!!! I hope the baby is a girl, so she can be named "May" =)

♥Sugar♥Plum♥Fairy♥ said...

Evrything is so fresh , exciting and Christmacy here!
am loving evry bit and looking forward to the exciting news too!
Happy hols with love and Merry Christmas too!

My Carolina Kitchen said...

Christine, I'm back to wish you a very merry Christmas filled with wonderful food, family and friends. Happy holidays to you and your family.
Sam

Baby said...

how many eggs should i use if i don't have large eggs?

Chef E said...

I guess you would have said so, but I am getting the feeling its twins, and one of each...maybe you will have one of each, girl first...

Happy Holidays girl, one day we will meet...

Eddie@CulinaryStudio said...

I can't wait to find out the answer to the big question!

As for the biscotti, you've given me the perfect idea for a not too sinful treat to make as I tone down my post-holiday sweets intake.

baking.serendipity said...

I love the gingerbread houses and that giant Christmas tree! Hope you had a great holiday and are still enjoying the Christmas season :)

Chuzai Living said...

Wow, the photo of the Christmas tree and ginger bread houses are amazing!! Great job on the photos! Thanks for the Christmas wishes on my blog! It was so nice to see you there! We didn't find out the sex of our baby during both pregnancies. It was really fun to let people guess which we were having. Both pregnancies, 90% of the times people guessed that we were having a BOY! Then we have girls both times. Both times because people guessed that we were having a boy, I made myself believe that we were having a boy, so both times it was a surprise! Anyways, I have no idea which one you're having! I cannot wait to find out though!! I'm glad you're enjoying your pregnancy. Happy Holidays to you and yours!! I look forward to learning more about your life next year!!! Hugs, Kaho

Fresh Local and Best said...

Thanks for your kind comments everyone!

Baby - If you do not have large eggs, use four small eggs.

Kim - Liv Life said...

Gorgeous photos! Being from San Francisco originally, you've made me a teeny bit homesick. Congratulations on the baby... we have a neighbor who was due yesterday who does not know the gender. We are all waited excitedly!
Your biscotti is just lovely... I'm partial to biscotti and have not made it for a while, I'm feeling inspired!

The Food Hunter said...

those biscotti look so good.