Perfect for dunking into a cup of espresso (or a glass of milk), these Orange, Chocolate Chip and Almond Biscotti make a great gift packed into a big mug and tied up with a bow. The piano teacher will be very impressed.
1 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 tbsp grated orange zest, (orange part only, no white)
1 tbsp vanilla
1/4 cup orange juice
6 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
2 cups sliced blanched almonds
1 cup chocolate chips
In a large mixing bowl, combine the vegetable oil, sugar, orange peel and vanilla.
Beat with an electric mixer until creamy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then add the orange juice and mix until well blended.
Meanwhile, in another bowl, have your young assistant stir together the flour and the baking powder. Add to the egg mixture, a cup at a time, stirring until smooth. Measure in the almonds and the chocolate chips, and stir until evenly mixed.
Now, divide the dough roughly into four pieces. Working with one quarter at a time, place it on a floured surface and gently pat it into a log shape — about 3 in. (8 cm) wide and 12 in. (30 cm) long. Place it carefully (maybe you'd better do this yourself) on a well-greased cookie sheet. Repeat with the rest of the dough. Bake at 350°F (180°C) for 40 to 45 minutes - until lightly browned. Allow the logs to cool for at least 30 minutes, then cut each one into 1/2 in. (1 cm) slices. Place each slice, cut side down, back onto the cookie sheet. Bake for 5 to 10 minutes, until the bottom is lightly browned, turn the slices over, and bake for another 5 to 10 minutes. Let cool completely.
At this point you are faced with a rather difficult choice. Do you simply leave these tasty biscotti the way they are? Or do you go that extra step and dip them in chocolate? You can probably guess what we, here at Chocoholics Central, would do: Melt 1 cup (250 ml) chocolate chips with 1 tbsp. (15 ml) solid vegetable shortening (not butter or margarine). Holding the biscotti by one end, dip the other end into the melted chocolate - just enough to cover about 1/3 of the length. Place the dipped biscotti on a waxed-paper lined cookie sheet and let cool.
Are we trendy or what?
Note: This recipe can be made without almonds - just add an extra 1/2 to 1 cup (125 to 250 ml) flour to the dry ingredients so the dough doesn't turn out too soft.