New Traditions and Cacao Nib Chocolate Biscotti

Can I make a chocolate confession? I tend not to swoon over it. It can be a bit overdone: the red rose of desserts. And yet here I am, about to add another sin to my recipe box.

I promise you, these studded chocolate biscotti will have very few enemies at the table. Or wherever you chose to eat them. At whatever time of day. With whatever beverage of your choosing. That's the thing about a chocolate biscuit: it's pretty easy going, and it pairs as well with red wine as it does with your morning coffee.

Taza's chocolate covered cacao nibs in the recipe also add a little intrigue. The small pieces of cacao bean, which Taza describes as "light" and "fruity," are roasted and covered in chocolate. Made right here in Somerville, MA. This is a chocolate I can get behind.

Nibs aside, biscotti purists (are there such people?) may scoff at the butter in this recipe, as traditional biscotti is said to forgo it. Which begs the question: what does traditional really mean? I imagine butter might have been omitted because it was hard to come by, no? Is a recipe coming from an octogenarian Italian grandmother not tradition enough? We are talking cookies here-and we are lucky enough to have butter regularly available-let's not take ourselves too seriously, shall we?

It is worth noting that this recipe is from my grandmother, not only because she is a great cook, but because my grandfather-her husband-turned ninety on Sunday. Yes, ninety. And if you are looking for someone to swoon over sweets, he is your man. When I called on Sunday, my grandmother was preparing their traditional Sunday macaroni dinner with apple pie for my grandfather for dessert. "We eat pie instead of cake on our birthdays," she said, when I asked what they were having to celebrate.

Traditionally, it is thought that women adore chocolate and red roses. Conventionally, cake is consumed on your birthday. Apparently, my ninety year old grandfather prefers apple pie. So maybe the secret to long life is butter in the biscotti and pie on your birthday.

Or perhaps it's making your own traditions. To which I say, the hell with convention: leave the red rose, bring the chocolate biscotti.

Cacao Nib Chocolate Biscotti
2 cups all purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp kosher salt
6 tbsp butter, plus extra for greasing
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
3/4 cups chocolate covered cacao nibs (or chocolate morsels)
1 tbsp powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a cookie sheet with butter and then dust with flour, shaking off extra flour. In a bowl, combine flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. In another bowl (or mixer bowl), beat butter and sugar until lightly fluffy; add eggs and continue to beat until well combined. Stir flour mixture into butter mixture until it forms a stiff dough; mix in walnuts and cacao nibs.

With floured hands, form dough into 2 logs (about 10 inches long and 2 inches wide) and place on greased cookie sheet; flatten logs slightly with your hand and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Bake about 35 minutes or until slightly firm to the touch. Cool logs on baking sheet for about 5-10 minutes. On a cutting board, cut biscotti diagonally and bake until crisp (about 10-20 minutes more). Let cool. They'll keep for at least a week.

Makes about 20

-There is nothing like the sound of crisp homemade biscotti hitting your plate.

-This weekend Taza and local ice cream hero Batch will be pairing up to make ice cream sundaes at Taza's factory store in Somerville. Go and get your nib on.


  1. The "red rose of desserts?" I may have to steal that turn of phrase for later use.(I'll give credit for it, I promise.)

    I've been looking for a good biscotti recipe, and this looks like just what I've been after. Bookmarked!

  2. I'm with you and tend to shy away from chocolate desserts but these biscotti look tempting!

  3. I love the idea of pie instead of cake for a birthday, so comforting..the red rose of desserts..very true, but chocolate is easy to work with and easily blends with any flavor..love cacao nibs, but have not tried chocolate covered, yummy recipe!!


  4. I've heard a lot about cacao nibs but haven't found them in my area yet. From what I understand, they add a nice crunchy texture to things.

  5. biscotti has never been my thing, mostly because they're meant to be dipped in coffee and i like to keep my coffee unadulterated. if i'm gonna eat biscotti, though, you'd better believe chocolate will be involved. :)

  6. The biscotti sounds wonderful! I love that you used the taza nibs. I will put this on my list of recipes to try!

  7. Despite my love for them, I've never tried making biscotti... I think that will have to change.