I Really Was Going to Write About Sedum, but . . .

I really was going to write about sedum today, because they come into their own this time of the year, with their lovely velvety-looking flowerheads, etc. but I kept thinking about the dessert I made yesterday for a  party Jim and I were invited to, and before you know it, I’m blogging about chocolate-dipped biscotti. How did that happen?  Jim is part of an artists’ group called the Water Street Studios, in Batavia. They were having a catered fundraiser, and asked studio members to bring chocolate desserts. Me being asked to make a chocolate dessert is liking waving a red flag in front of a bull–I start snorting and stamping and am ready to charge! But I had to think a bit. I didn’t know what they were serving for dinner, and nowadays everyone is on a diet. To me, chocolate cheesecakes are almost inedible they are so rich, and no one wants to cut a cake. Most cookies didn’t seem fancy enough, and I was too lazy to make cookies that were fancy enough. But lately I’ve been browsing through my stash of old Chocolatier magazines, and I thought I had seen a picture of chocolate-dipped biscotti. It sounded perfect, and for those people who couldn’t quite commit to a biscotti, I decided to dip strawberries in chocolate, as well.

As it turned out, this was a great combination. You could use any biscotti recipe, though I will give the one I used here, which is soft and buttery, not traditional and hard. And you would use a variety of fruits, including orange slices. It’s also quite inexpensive, as I purchased strawberries at Aldis for $1.99, and an inexpensive bar of Choceur Milk Chocolate with Almonds there as well. (Aldis chocolate is wonderful.)

Dipping both biscotti and fruit is simple. I just melted the chocolate bar in a Pyrex pie dish in the microwave, and dipped the bottom of the biscotti in the melted chocolate. If you liked playing with mud pies as a kid, you will enjoy this. Have a large baking sheet covered with waxed paper ready, and as you dip the biscotti, place them on the baking sheet. If you are in a hurry, place them in the refrigerator and they will harden in about 15 minutes. As for the strawberries, I washed them very thoroughly, and dried them very thoroughly, and dipped them in a bar of bittersweet chocolate that I had on hand.  The resulting dessert was a luxurious-looking presentation that was both easy to make and inexpensive.

Almond Biscotti dipped in Chocolate

8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
2-1/2 cups sifted flour
1/2 teaspoon almond or vanilla extract
1 cup coarsely chopped almonds (about 5 ounces)
4 to 5 ounces of  chocolate of your choice for dipping
 
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees, and grease and flour a baking sheet.

Cream the butter and sugar. One at a time, add the eggs, mixing well after each addition. Stir in the lemon zest, flour, extract, and chopped almonds. Divide the dough into thirds, and form each into a 6- to- 7-inch cylinder. Wrap each roll in waxed paper and refrigerate for one hour.

Unwrap the cookie rolls, and place them on the baking sheet with three inches of space between them. Bake about 15 to 20 minutes, until firm and lightly golden. Remove from the oven and cool 15 minutes. Turn up the oven temperature to 350 degrees. Slice the rolls into 1/2 inch slices. Bake the slices for about 10 to 15 minutes, or until the edges start to become golden. Remove from the oven and cool.

Dip in chocolate as mentioned above–melting the chocolate in a Pyrex pie dish in the microwave. The chocolate “lumps” you can see on the biscotti in the picture above are the crispy almonds in the milk chocolate with almonds I used. Really good!

Does your cat do this? Rocket loves being up in this basket on top of the kitchen cabinets, and stayed there while I was baking. He's practicing for Halloween.
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