We have just begun our first full week of autumn and it feels so good. I have missed its foggy mornings, stormy days, and warm, spicy lattes. Contemplation comes naturally on these slow, blustery afternoons and there are few things I enjoy as much as musing over a cup of steaming cider.
I have a really, really special family. Though I am not always mindful of the immense thankfulness my heart truly holds for these people, I continue to become increasingly aware of just what a blessing it is to have a family that you can genuinely enjoy.
Some of my favorite memories have been made with my mother's sisters - my aunts, who purposely and intentionally made time for their niece long before I could understand just how precious those hours were.
I do not remember how many years ago it was, but when my interest for the world of food was just budding, and my passion for chai tea lattes was at its peak, my aunt pulled a recipe from one of her magazines and suggested that we make it together. The title of the recipe read "chai chocolate chip biscotti." We knew it could be nothing but wonderful.
Biscotti has always been one of my father's favorite treats. My caring mama has made him countless batches of those angled, cherry-almond cookies since I have been alive, and my appreciative father has delightfully dunked them into cups of hot tea, coffee, or sometimes just boiling water - though I fail to see the appeal there.
This biscotti is deeply evocative of autumn, and you will be filled with the vigor of this golden season as the fragrance of chai spices waft from your kitchen.
Though these flavors and fragrances are certainly full of autumnal charm, this recipe has a deeper hold upon my heart. In one tiny cookie, there is the comforting memory of baking with my Aunt Meredith - something that we still do on occasion, but less often as life has evolved for both of us. It pulls the faint, picturesque scene of my father dunking away from a back shelf of my mind. And, it awakens once again my devotion for chai lattes shared with my equally chai-obsessed sister.
This biscotti derives its chai flavor from both strongly brewed tea, and a collection of rich spices.
If you do not yet own a spice grinder, this might be the perfect opportunity to add to your kitchen armory. Fresh spices make a huge difference in baking, and it's also helpful to have an extra grinder on hand for making super fine salt for your Friday night popcorn dinners.
This biscotti breaks all cookie rules. You will not find any butter in the ingredients list, and there's no creaming required. I know, I know, but I promise it works.
This "cookie" follows the pattern of muffins more closely than it does cookies. But the final texture could not be more different.
After the initial bake, your cookie logs will be soft and still chewy. This is how my mama likes to enjoy her biscotti.
The second bake, is where our cookies truly become the crisp, dunking cookies we know and adore.
Do not be self-conscious about the crunching. It will happen, and you might not be able to hear yourself talk for a few minutes. It's all good, I get you.
Their color is as striking as the turning leaves, and their fragrance is full of spice.
You do not necessarily have to dip your biscotti in chocolate, but I am really not sure why you would not want to... it's extra chocolate after all!
A novel in hand, a steaming cup of tea, sweet memories, familiar flavors... All is well.
I love that this recipe makes a large batch of cookies, because these are the perfect treats for sharing.
(Or, for hoarding and consuming in embarrassingly large quantities. Oops.)
Invite your neighbor over for morning coffee and biscotti, or share them with your grateful father.
Things this wonderful just beg to be shared.
Though the flavors of this biscotti are beyond scrumptious, the memories are even sweeter.
Chocolate Chai Biscotti
recipe adapted from Taste of Home / makes about thirty cookies
1/4 cup boiling water
2 chai tea bags
2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 whole egg + 1 egg white
1 tablespoon whole milk
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips, divided
1 tablespoon coconut oil
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Brew the tea by placing both tea bags into the boiling water. Allow to steep for about 10 minutes, until the tea is dark and quite strong. Remove the bags and allow the tea to cool to room temperature.
In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, spices, leavening, and salt; whisk to combine. Pour the eggs, tea, and whole milk into the center of the flour mixture. Whisk to form into a rough dough.
Use a spatula to fold 1/2 cup chocolate chips into the dough. Divide the dough in half and shape the halves into two 2x10-inch logs. Use the palm of your hand to flatten the surface of the logs.
Bake for 20-25 minutes; until golden brown. Allow the logs to cool for 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a cutting board. Slice the biscotti, on an angle, into 3/4-inch slices. Place the pieces cut-side down on the baking sheet and bake for 6-8 minutes. Flip the biscotti and bake for an additional 6-8 minutes on the opposite side.
Allow the biscotti to cool on cooling racks while you prepare the dipping chocolate.
In a microwave-safe bowl, combine the remaining 1/2 cup chocolate chips and the coconut oil. Microwave at thirty second increments, stirring after each, until the chocolate is fully melted.
Dip each biscotti halfway into the melted chocolate and place on a clean baking sheet lined with parchment. Place in the freezer for ten minutes to allow the chocolate to set.
Store in airtight containers and serve with large cups of coffee. Enjoy!