Sunday, November 24, 2013

Chocolate Chili Biscotti (Mandelbread)

Chocolate Chili Biscotti....or ....Molé Mandelbread.....

Mole Sauce, which originated in Mexico and is most commonly served as an accompaniment to meat, comes in several variants; the common ingredients to all versions are chili, chocolate and ground nuts. At GoldStone Farms we have lots of chilis and Fred makes a hot/complex chili powder in the fall. We turn up at people's homes with small bottles of his special chili mix (and the amazing BBQ rub he creates using his chili powder) with regularity. 

This twice-baked cookie makes use of  the mole basics: chili, chocolate and ground nuts. You can vary the amount of chili powder to adjust to your taste.  The use of slightly bitter unsweetened cocoa powder and a lower proportion of sugar creates a more "adult" cookie. They are slightly more crumbly than more typical biscotti/mandelbread.  Adult or not, the cookies are very good with a cup of hot chocolate or a glass of milk..........


Choreography:
This is a twice baked cookie, mixed with a spoon in a mixing bowl. No small kitchen appliance is necessary!  The ingredients are mixed, flattened logs are formed on cookie sheets, the logs are partially baked, sliced while on the cookie sheet and baked again. The cookies are left in the oven, on the cookie sheet, to completely cooled. This biscotti variant is more fragile than regular biscotti, don't remove them from the cookie sheet before they are completely cooled. The chili taste mellows as the cookie cools. Store in a closed container for up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator.  Wrap the container and freeze for longer storage. 

Equipment:
Mixing bowl
Mixing spoon
Measuring cups, spoons, kitchen scale 
Baking sheet lined with parchment paper (a good quality baking pan is an investment, your cookies won't burn and parchment aids in quick clean up)
Sharp knife for cutting cookie slices 



Ingredients:
** Use a scale for measuring if you have one, you'll get more consistent results.
1 1/4 c neutral vegetable oil (e.g.canola, corn)
5 oz (3/4c) granulated sugar
4 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract (try to use "real" vanilla rather than artificial, it will make a difference in the final baked product)
1 tsp kosher salt
2 oz (1/2c ground nuts- walnuts or almonds work well)
1/2 c unsweetened cocoa powder
20 oz (4 1/3 c) all purpose flour
1 heaping tsp baking powder 
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp chili (you can adjust up or down to taste)
3 oz (1/2 c) semi sweet chocolate chips 


Procedure: 
1. Measure all of the ingredients, this short step will help you when you mix the ingredients and will improve the final product.
2. Stir all of the flour, baking powder and spices together making sure to disperse the baking powder throughout the flour mixture. 




3. Beat the eggs, oil and sugar together in a large mixing bowl. The mixture will look very yellow and thick. 



4. Add the flour mixture, cocoa, vanilla, nuts into the egg mixture. Mix well. Add the chocolate chips and mix. 




5. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 

6. Gather the dough and form 4 logs (about 6-7 inches long, 1.5-2 inches wide, slightly flattened on the top) on a parchment lined baking sheet. Use a good quality baking pan, chocolate tends to burn and you want to protect the bottom of the cookie. 

6. Slip the baking sheet into the oven and LOWER the oven to 340 degrees. Bake for 25-30 minutes. The logs will be soft, yet set.  Remove the baking sheet from the oven. 

7. Leaving the logs on the baking sheet, being careful not to burn yourself,  use a small sharp knife and slice the cookie logs, creating slices that are about 1/2 inch thick. Separate the slices, but refrain from handling the slices too much (they are fragile and may break). 

8. Slip the baking sheet back into the oven. Lower the temperature to 325 degrees and bake for another 20 minutes.  Turn the oven off, leave the baking sheet in the oven to cool. 

9. Once the cookie slices are completely cooled, store in a closed container.