Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Chocolate Italian Cookies (Biscottini Glassati al Cioccolato)

I have always loved cooking shows. As a small child, I enjoyed watching Julia Child's show on reruns. I watched a show called the Galloping Gourmet, starring Graham Kerr. As I got older I became obsessed with shows like The Frugal Gourmet, Yan Can Cook, Justin Wilson, and Jacques Pepin. Of course, this was before channels like The Food Network. These shows were usually on local channels or PBS. In the 90's, I fell in love with Mary Ann Esposito of the show Ciao Italia, America's longest running cooking show.. Her down-to-earth approach to making Italian food reminded me of family. Her cookbook, Nella Cucina, has become a treasured keeper in my home. I think I have tried every recipe in the book. 

Christmas would not be Christmas without her cookie and bread recipes. Today I am sharing one of my favorites, Biscottini Glassati al Cioccolato (chocolate-glazed little cookies). These buttery chocolate cookies are spread on the bottom with melted chocolate and topped with a little powdered sugar. They can be made ahead of time and frozen as long as you do not add the chocolate glaze and powdered sugar until defrosted and ready to serve. Add the biscottini (small cookie) to your Christmas cookie assortment. Easy, impressive, delicious. You will love them.

Note: I have followed Mary Ann's ingredient list exactly but made a few changes to her instructions. I pulse the flour/butter mixture using a food processor because I think it is easier. Mary Ann uses her fingers. Also, I melt the chocolate glaze in the microwave while she uses a double boiler. Either way works, so go with what makes you comfortable.

Chocolate Italian Cookies (Biscottini Glassati al Cioccolato)
(makes 3 dozen)

2 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, cut in small pieces
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup baking cocoa
1/3 cup finely chopped almonds
1 extra-large egg (or 2 medium), beaten
1/4 cup water (if needed)
2 ounces semisweet chocolate
2 1/2 tablespoons confectioner's sugar

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

Add the flour and salt to a food processor. Pulse 2 times. Add the cold butter pieces and pulse 10 times or until it resembles coarse granules.

Pour the flour mixture into a large mixing bowl. Add the granulated sugar, cocoa, almonds, and egg. Using your hands, mix the ingredients together until a dough forms. Add the water, a little at a time, if the dough seems dry.

Form 1 inch balls from the dough and place on prepared baking sheets. Space the balls 1 inch apart. Bake for 13-15 minutes, or until firm to the touch. Remove from the oven and, using a spatula, place cookies on racks to cool. Continue until all cookies are baked.

When cookies have cooled, melt the chocolate in the microwave by heating in 1-minute increments until chocolate has softened and is beginning to melt. Stir with a spoon until the chocolate is smooth. With a small spoon, glaze the bottom of each cookie with chocolate and let dry glaze side up. When glaze is dry, turn cookies over and dust with powdered sugar.

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Here are some more cookie recipes for your Holiday cookie platter:

It is "Holiday Cookies" week at Food Network's Fall Fest roundup. Do you have a favorite cookie recipe? Share in the comments section and/or link to your blog if you have one. Be sure to check out the delicious sounding recipes from my blogger friends and from Food Network. 

Feed Me Phoebe: Gluten-Free Ginger Cookies
5 Must-Bake Holiday Cookies
Jeanette's Healthy Living: 
Toasted Coconut Chocolate Chip Oat Sorghum Cookies
Dishin & Dishes: 
Dark Chocolate and White Chocolate Peppermint Bark Bites
Daisy at Home
Eggnog Cookies
Napa Farmhouse 1885: 
Chocolate Italian Cookies (Biscottini Glassati al Cioccolato)
Red or Green: 
Biscochitos (New Mexico State Cookie)
Swing Eats: 
Florentines (gluten-free)
Virtually Homemade: 
Soft Sugar Cookies (gluten free)
Molasses Roll Out Cookies
Dishing With Divya: 
Eggless Coconut Cookies
Taste with the Eyes: 
Heavenly Fried Cookies with Ginger, Honey, Pine Nuts
The Cultural Dish: 
A Taste of Tradition: Italian Pizzelle Cookies
Elephants and the Coconut Trees: 
5 Favorite Holiday Cookies
The Mom 100: 
Crystallized Ginger Shortbread
The Wimpy Vegetarian: 
Rugelach - Your New Go-To Holiday Cookie
FN Dish: 
10 Recipes to Win Your Holiday Cookie Swap


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