Chocolate Almond Bark and Mosaic Biscottis

As I mentioned in my previous post, my mom and her college roommate get together every year for an all-day baking day. It started by making pepper jelly and it has morphed into much more. They make everything from pepper jelly, bark, toffee, etc. Since I moved home from college, I've been helping them each year and have added a biscotti recipe to the mix, which has become a staple recipe! It's such a fun tradition and I really enjoy baking with them. 


This year, we tried a new recipe, Chocolate Almond Bark with Sea Salt, which was phenomenal! The bark was really easy to make and absolutely delicious, which makes for the perfect homemade gift. Here's how to make it:

Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups roasted Marcona almonds (not in oil)
  • 1 pound good-quality dark chocolate (62%–70% cacao), finely chopped (we use Trader Joe's chocolate)
  • Coarse sea salt (for sprinkling)
Directions: 
  1. Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or foil. 
  2. Combine sugar with 2 Tbsp. water in a small saucepan. Stir over medium-low heat until sugar dissolves. Bring to a boil and cook, occasionally swirling pan and brushing down sides with a wet pastry brush, until caramel is dark amber, about 5 minutes. 
  3. Remove from heat. Immediately add butter; whisk until melted. Add almonds; stir until well coated. 
  4. Transfer to baking sheet, spreading out to separate nuts. Let cool. Break up any large clumps of nuts. Set aside 1/4 of nuts. 
  5. Stir chocolate in a medium bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water until melted. 
  6. Remove from heat, add nuts from baking sheet, and stir quickly to combine. Spread chocolate-nut mixture on same baking sheet, keeping nuts in a single layer. Top with the reserved nuts; sprinkle with salt. Chill until chocolate is set, about 3 hours. 
  7. Break bark into pieces and store between layers of parchment or waxed paper. You can make the bark up to 1 week ahead so long as you keep it chilled.
In addition to making the pepper jelly, we have added biscottis to the list for the past 5 years. A coworker of mine attended a baking class where she got this great biscotti recipe and passed it along to me a while back. These biscottis are so good and compliment any cup of coffee or tea and make great gifts for Christmas! If you have any questions about this recipe, don't hesitate to email me :)


Ingredients:
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature 
  • 2 egg yolks at room temperature - save your egg whites for the glaze 
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3.5 cups unbleached all-purpose flour 
  • 1 tsp baking powder 
  • 1 tsp kosher salt  
  • 2 cups of pistachio, coarsely chopped 
  • 2 cups of hazelnuts, corsely chopped  
  • 12 oz semisweet or bittersweet chocolate (We use about 1.5 cups of chocolate chips)  
  • 1 tsp granulated sugar for glaze 
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 325F. Line two large baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside. 
  2. In a bowl of electric mixer fitted with whisk attachment, beat the 4 whole eggs, 2 egg yolks and granulated sugar until the mixture holds a ribbon-like trail on the surface for a few seconds when you raise the whisk. 
  3. In a separate bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, and salt and set this mixture aside.
  4. Switch your mixture to the paddle attachment. With mixer on low speed, add the vanilla extract and the flour mixture. When it's well combined, add in the nuts and chocolate and stir by hand, using a large spatula or wooden spoon. 
  5. Using the spatula as a guide, drop the dough by spoonful into a 2.5-inches wide and 18-inches long log directly onto the parchment paper. We usually make 3 small logs because we like the biscottis smaller. 
  6. Slightly flatten it to 1/2-inch thick. Leave 2 inches space between logs
  7. Brush eggwash over logs. Sprinkle with 1 tsp. granulated sugar,  
  8. Bake, rotating pan halfway through, until logs are just firm to the touch, 20-24 minutes. 
  9. Transfer baking sheets to a wire rack to cool completely, about 40 minutes. 
  10. Lower the oven temperature to 200F. We sometimes aren't patient and crank the oven up to 300 degrees so the biscottis dry faster. 
  11. When the logs are cool enough to handle, use a serrated knife to cut biscotti log on the diagonal, into 1/4-inch thick, or if you like, 3/4-inch thick  
  12. Arrange slices on the baking sheet and bake until biscottis are firm to the touch and completely dry - 10 to 12 minutes. 
  13. Carefully turn the biscottis to the other side and bake for another 10 to 12 minutes, or until dry. 
  14. Remove pans from the oven; let biscottis cool completely on the rack. They can be kept in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.  
  15. This recipe makes at least 4 dozen biscottis

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