Chocolate Almond Biscotti – A Recipe Swap!

Toll House Chocolate Almond Biscotti

It’s Burwell General Store Recipe Swap time again! And a holiday swap at that!

Quick catch-up for newcomers: About 13 months ago Christianna over at Burwell General Store started a recipe swap with Lindsay of Rosemarried, where she gives a recipe to a group of bloggers and we all change at least 3 things about the recipe.  With the coming of the second year we’re now a group of about 25 bloggers and just changed over to our second book, “The Second Ford Treasury of Favorite Recipes from Famous Eating Places”.  While I’ve cherished “All Day Singin and Dinner on the Ground”, there’s something momentous about changing books.  The swap has been one of my favorite discoveries since starting this blog, and I look forward every month to seeing what the group has come up with, as well as connecting regularly on what’s inspiring us in and out of the kitchen.  Check out their posts on the little frog link below, and my Recipe Swap category for more!

New year, new book!

This month, with the craziness of the holidays, Christianna gave us something classic: the Toll House Cookie.  I got all mushy and sentimental when I saw the recipe.  Because for as long as my little dusty heart can remember my mother has kept her recipes, in bits and pieces, in a Toll House recipe book.  Its plastic brown cover contains so many recipes that we played with over the years, and many that are still favorites in our family.  Before the internet food world, before this blog, before I knew of single-origin chocolates, the science of baking gluten free, and became what some people might call a “food snob”, there was that book.

December's recipe: look at the adorable bit of history!

One of my favorites as a youngster was my momma’s biscotti.  Crisp and full of mini chips, she made several variations for her abundant plate of holiday cookies.  As I had to gluten free myself, she started adapting some of the recipes.  Or, at least, she tried.  It was sort of a running joke for a while between my siblings and I that she would attempt to make foods that I could eat, and then upon running down a list of ingredients she’d slap her head and go, “ah, sh*t!”.  Including the first time or two she made me “gluten and dairy free” biscotti; then realized she used regular chocolate chips.

But, as I did, she practiced and learned.  And now hers is one of the few houses I can go to and know I will eat, and I will eat well.

Mom and the Dusty sibs, Christmas 2009

So I wanted to take this classic Toll House Cookie recipe and make it into a biscotti.  And while no other biscotti will ever give me the same satisfaction as one made by my mom, these are pretty perfect.  Crispy, flavored with almond, perfect for dunking in sweet wine (an Italian recently told me that’s the way to do it), coffee or a glass of chilled almond milk (or cow, for you lucky dairy people!).

Happy Holidays, Swappers.  And, thanks, mom.  I love ya more than my luggage (10 cookies if you name that movie).

Mom and me at the end of the Twin Cities Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure!

Oh, and mom, if you read this… Christmas is coming… hint hint.  And yours, please, not mine.

- Jacqueline, The DB

Chocolate Almond Biscotti

Makes 18, Adapted from the Toll House Cookie and Toll House Biscotti recipes, with some dusty love.

Notes: I grew up with denser, harder biscotti, so to replicate that I baked the roll until it was slightly underdone, then cut and toasted it.  If you want yours crispier and a bit drier, bake completely before toasting.  I’ve made this recipe both ways with success.  Also, you can swap so many things in and out of this recipes: try cranberries, dried fruits, other nuts, go wild!

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups starch-heavy gluten free flour (mine was 1 cup brown rice and 1/3 cup millet and 2/3 cup arrowroot)
  • 2 Tbsp Sweet Rice Flour, plus more if the dough seems sticky
  • 1 tsp xanthan gum (or 1 Tbsp flax seed if you’re avoiding xanthan)
  • 1 Tbsp Mesquite flour (totally optional)
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, soft
  • 5 Tbsp white sugar
  • 5 Tbsp light brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 1/2 cup ground almonds
  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Method:

Preheat oven to 325°. Line a baking sheet with parchment or Silpat, or lightly grease.

Pour almonds on a second, dry, sheet and toast in the oven while preparing the biscotti.  Check occasionally so they don’t burn, and remove when slightly golden in color. (They will look all pale one second and like Troy after the horse in the next, so keep a close eye. A toaster oven works too.)

In a medium bowl combine flours, gum, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of a mixer with the whisk attachment, beat butter and sugars until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes, scraping down the bowl occasionally.  Add eggs one at a time, beat to incorporate.  Beat in vanilla and almond extracts.  With the mixer on slow, add flour and beat to combine, increasing speed to incorporate.  Mix in nuts and chocolate chips.

With floured hands, roll into a 12-inch log and place on prepared sheet (or longer if you want smaller cookies).  Round top slightly.  Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until cracked on top and slightly firm.  It shouldn’t be cooked completely, so the center should seem a tad underdone.

Remove to cooling rack and cool for at least 10 minutes.  Slice into into 1/2 inch slices and gently slide onto cookie sheet, cut side down.  They will be a bit crumbly, so use a spatula to gently flip them on the sheet.  Bake for another 15-20 minutes or until crisp and brown.  Cool completely before serving.

Enjoy with or give to someone you love!

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51 Comments

  1. Paula says:

    I love the look of your biscotti but I love this post about your mom and her biscotti and her adaptions of it even more.

    • Thanks, I love my mom too. She’s so special, and has been so supportive through my years of illness and health, coming to doctor’s appointments with me, cooking healing foods, taking on the Breast Cancer 3-Day with me all over the country for 7 years now… a really special lady, I’m lucky.

    • Thanks CM! And thank you so much for including me – it really is one of my most cherished blogging experiences, and I feel so in love with this group of people I’ve never met, and so thankful to get to participate!

  2. Hi Jacqueline. I was particularly interested in your recipe as I have my grandmother’s biscotti recipe which I have not endeavored GF. I will now give it a try. I think something is missing in your sixth ingredient (’2 cups ???’). Would love to know what that is. Thanks for sharing your sweet memories and recipe.

    • Thank you! You were right – missed out some typing. Thanks lady :) Biscotti is so personal and sweet in our family, and it’s actually an easier one to adapt GF, especially with the chocolate helping to bind it together. Can’t wait to see your recipe! xoxo

  3. Caffay Way says:

    Steel Magnolias :-)
    You made me laugh… my kiddo doesn’t do well with dairy and I do the same thing as your mom from time to time … AH CR**P! I’m SO SORRY I missed that one. Getting there tough… Great post and I am very glad to have met you thru the swap.

    • I LOVE that you got that! One of my favorite quotes ever :) And that’s all really funny and lovely – I cherish my mom just for trying as so few people can cook / bake for me or even attempt. And seeing how much she’s learned in the 18 years I’ve been dealing with this is so amazing and special and appreciated, as I’m sure your kiddo appreciates / will learn to :) And I’m so happy I met you through this swap too!!

  4. Alli says:

    What a great spin on the recipe…I always think of biscotti during the holidays. They are such a great present to give out. And really good to know that it is possible to make them GF!

    • Thanks! It was a yearly classic with my mom, and as she doesn’t make gluten free cookies often throughout the year, it’s one I’ve come to cherish. And now I have my recipe!

  5. Kim Bee says:

    I was so hoping someone would do a biscotti. I’ve never tried making my own but think I must try this holiday season. I love how close you are to your Mom. I miss mine every day so I always gets sentimental during these kinds of posts. I am going to try this recipe out. Simply delicious and making me crave biscotti.

    • Thanks :) I get to see my mom a few times a month but love channeling her in my kitchen, and as I’d never made these before it was a special swap for me. I LOVED that Toll House book… Happy Holidays!

  6. Kiri W. says:

    Looks amazing, and I love the swap! I have a friend who can’t have gluten, and I’ve been looking for the perfect holiday treat to make for her. Thanks for the inspirations!

  7. rosemarried says:

    This is so great. I love the tribute to your mom and the heart that went into this post. Plus, the biscotti look fabulous! Wonderful swap all around!

  8. Anonymous says:

    Weezy in Steel Magnolias! ( Love that woman, especially with her doG!)

    Thanks Jax and will attempt these this Christmas
    And as for the book, only the favorites makie it to that cover!, the rest are kept in a box on my refrigerator!

  9. Ooo I love biscotti. Yours look fabulous, but it’s true, nothing is ever as good as when someone you love makes them for you. I hope your mom takes the very subtle hint you dropped.

  10. Rachel says:

    Mom’s are the best! Cookie-baking is probably one of the most important things we learn from them. I can really see how close you are with your mom from this post. Her recipe book clearly holds special meaning for you that all the internet recipes can never replace.
    Your biscotti look fabulous! I’ve never actually made biscotti before…maybe because my mom never did! Perhaps my Christmas cookie plate should have a gluten-free option this year.

  11. chefdennis says:

    I love biscotti and never thought they could be gluten free! Wow, what a delicious recipe! what would we do with out mothers…..the world would be an awfully cold world without them, thanks for sharing some of the memories of yours with us.
    cheers
    Dennis

  12. Mary says:

    This is beautiful biscotti! Did you use 1 cup brown rice flour? or is there a different brown flour that you used? I’d love to surprise my GF best friend with something like this for Christmas.

    I love the story of your mom learning to cook GF for you as well. I can picture you and your siblings subtly rolling your eyes at the initial attempts. hee hee

    • Hahaha… we did roll our eyes quite a bit, and laugh at her good intentions. She was always so excited and then SO disappointed. I love her to death! Yes, I used brown rice flour. White rice would work as well. Just make sure you have enough starch and gum to pull it together, as they’re a little hard to slice before toasting. Let me know how they come out!

  13. claire says:

    Hi Jacqueline, these look just lovely and remind me of happy days in sunny Italy – a welcome memory in a snowy Scotland! They’d make a great Christmas gift too!

  14. Lana says:

    We don’t have biscotti in Serbia and when I was in Italy I never tried them:( And now, more then ever, I would love to try your mom’s recipe, original and with substitutions (our youngest is Type 1 diabetic and Celiac disease sometimes comes along, just for fun).
    I love the photo of your mom with her kids – to me it looks like she is the middle of a flower, while the four of you are petals:)

    • Aw, thanks :) I love that photo too, one of my favorites, and she just looks so happy! She sometimes omits chocolate chips and uses orange juice for sweetening and for moisture, which is also very Italian. Please let me know what you do to adapt – I’d love a lower-sugar version.

  15. Shumaila says:

    I loved reading this post. I think thats the best part of sharing recipes- you also get to share some beautiful memories that each dish has along with the recipe! Love the photo of your mom and the dusty sibs! And the chocolate almond biscotti sounds divine! Have never made a biscotti before but its been on my list of things to make.

  16. Ooooooh, biscotti! These look so lovely, and I am in total awe of your gluten-free wizardry! Your site is wonderful– I come from a theater background myself, so I really appreciate the way you combine the performing arts and the culinary arts in such a fun format!

    • Why thank you! I find that food, performing and writing all work out together quite nicely. I’m working on two projects to incorporate them together even more :)

  17. Jamie says:

    I have yet to make biscotti myself – this looks like a great recipe (minus the almonds because of my nut allergy)! My grandma used to love biscotti, I should try my hand at it – thanks for the inspiration!

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