Believe me—give these deliciously spicy cookies a try and expand your palate a bit. Chocolate and chiles are old friends, and the cherries add sweet contrast. Candidates for dipping include full-bodied wines like Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon, port and espresso.
Servings: Makes about 28 biscotti
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter , at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • Grated zest of 1 large orange
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups plus 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons pure ground ancho chile powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 1/2 ounces coarsely chopped semisweet or bittersweet chocolate
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) coarsely chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 cup (3 ounces) dried cherries
  • Directions
    Position the racks in the top third and center of the oven and preheat to 350°F.

    Using a hand-held electric mixer set at high speed, beat the butter, sugar and orange zest in a large bowl until well combined, about 3 minutes. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then the vanilla.

    In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, chile powder and salt to combine. Using a wooden spoon, gradually beat in the butter mixture. Work in the chocolate, walnuts and cherries.

    Divide the dough in half. Using lightly floured hands on a floured work surface, form the dough into two 10 x 2-inch logs. Place the logs on an ungreased large baking sheet, at least 2 inches apart. Bake on the center rack until set and golden brown, about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool on the baking sheet for 20 minutes.

    Using a serrated knife and a sawing motion, carefully cut the logs into diagonal slices about 1/2 inch wide. Place the slices on ungreased baking sheets. Bake until the undersides of the biscotti are beginning to brown at the edges, about 8 minutes. Turn the biscotti over. Switch the positions of the baking sheets from top to bottom and front to back. Continue baking until lightly browned on the other side, about 8 minutes more. Cool completely on baking sheets. (The biscotti can be prepared up to 1 week ahead, cooled, and tightly covered in an airtight container at room temperature.)

    Recommended ingredients: Ancho chile powder can be found in Latin or specialty markets or from:

    Kitchen Food Shop
    218 Eighth Avenue
    New York, New York 10011


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