Chocolate Chai Biscotti

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.

Chocolate Chai Biscotti {Pedantic Foodie}

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. 

Chocolate Chai Biscotti {Pedantic Foodie}

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. 

Chocolate Chai Biscotti {Pedantic Foodie}

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.  

Chocolate Chai Biscotti {Pedantic Foodie}

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. 

Chocolate Chai Biscotti {Pedantic Foodie}

This biscotti derives its chai flavor from both strongly brewed tea, and a collection of rich spices. 

Chocolate Chai Biscotti {Pedantic Foodie}

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.

Chocolate Chai Biscotti {Pedantic Foodie}

This "cookie" follows the pattern of muffins more closely than it does cookies.  But the final texture could not be more different. 

Chocolate Chai Biscotti {Pedantic Foodie}

After the initial bake, your cookie logs will be soft and still chewy.  This is how my mama likes to enjoy her biscotti. 

Chocolate Chai Biscotti {Pedantic Foodie}

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.  

Chocolate Chai Biscotti {Pedantic Foodie}

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!

Chocolate Chai Biscotti {Pedantic Foodie}

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.)

Chocolate Chai Biscotti {Pedantic Foodie}

Invite your neighbor over for morning coffee and biscotti, or share them with your grateful father.

Chocolate Chai Biscotti {Pedantic Foodie}

Things this wonderful just beg to be shared. 

Chocolate Chai Biscotti {Pedantic Foodie}

Though the flavors of this biscotti are beyond scrumptious, the memories are even sweeter. 

Chocolate Chai Biscotti {Pedantic Foodie}

Happy dunking! 

Sincerely, 

Pedantic Foodie


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! 


One Month...

It's real.  For the first time, it feels like this great, fast-approaching event, that has been nearly a year in the making, might be more than just a dream with a Pinterest board.  Yesterday, as I bid my last goodbyes to summer, we hit the one month mark.  

One Month {Pedantic Foodie}

Over the weekend, my dear aunt helped us assemble the first of our major decorations and my heart took a deep sigh of relief when it really did look beautiful.  Up until now, we have had flowers, sequins, and candlesticks scattered about and I have held my breath and hoped that it would all come together in a seamless, cohesive design. 

Now, I sit at my computer flipping through tab after tab of wedding programs.  Literally hundreds of them.  Yet somehow, I still have not found exactly what I had envisioned.  Whyyyyy?  I think I'm a little picky. 

This week, I shot my last pre-wedding recipe with my mother.  It's a very special recipe, with very special memories and I cannot wait to share it with you.  The coming six-week hiatus of testing, baking, and photographing has been months in the making, but now it's done.  Mind you, I still have so many pictures to edit, posts to write, and recipes to type up, but the most daunting portion of the task is done.  And I already miss it.  

My fiancé might finally have his outfit figured out.  Who knew it would take eleven months to find a dusty-blue bow tie?

I do not know what's happening.  Some mornings I wake up and gaze across the room to my little wedding countdown and it feels real.  I know and believe that so much of the reality that I have known for the past twenty-one years will be turned upside-down, and yet so much will stay the same.  Other mornings I wake thinking that I have not woken at all, but am still heavily immersed in the most wonderful of impossible dreams.  It's all very bizarre in the happiest of ways.

I want to soak up these last four weeks, but at the same time I cannot wait for the day to finally arrive.  I'm filled with excitement as my fingers bounce about this keyboard like timid feet across hot coals.  One month.  ONE MONTH!  

I'm a very lucky lady. 

Sincerely, 

Pedantic Foodie

My Favorite Bread & Butter Pickles from Food in Jars

My family moved to the house they live in now when I was ten.  On one action-packed day in May we went from a small house with a backyard that was parallel to a major road in bustling suburbia, to a home with no streetlights in sight and a yard that seemed to go on for ages, at least in the eyes of a ten-year-old. 

My Favorite Bread & Butter Pickles {Pedantic Foodie}

The following summer we planted a garden, with no comprehension of just how prolific cucumber plants could be.  When we reached the point of having one-hundred cucumbers in our refrigerator at one time, my mother decided that it was time for intervention.  My grandmother came up to rescue us and our over plentiful garden, and that day I sliced cucumbers for what felt like forever.  Together, we three ladies made jar after jar of sweet, bread and butter pickles. 

Since that warm, summer afternoon, I have loved bread and butter pickles piled high on hot dogs - my personal favorite, or stacked atop sandwiches. Their flavors are so familiar and comforting.

My Favorite Bread and Butter Pickles {Pedantic Foodie}

 My fiancé brought me a dozen cucumbers several weeks ago and I knew exactly what I wanted to do with them. 

My Favorite Bread & Butter Pickles {Pedantic Foodie}

I had made Marisa's bread and butter pickles two summer’s ago and they were without a doubt the very best I had ever tasted.  Sadly, they did not last as long as I had hoped, so this year I made a double batch. 

My Favorite Bread and Butter Pickles {Pedantic Foodie}

If you are going to attempt pickle-making, which you definitely should, you are going to want a mandoline slicer.  Unless of course you would like to slice twelve cucumbers by hand…but I would not recommend it.  

My Favorite Bread and Butter Pickles {Pedantic Foodie}

Just be very careful using the mandoline.  My mom lost a finger tip once… Everyone at church the next day thought she destroyed her finger playing an instrument.  Why do they call them mandolines anyways?  Her children (including myself) still wonder if it was all a devious ploy to escape dishes for several weeks.

My Favorite Bread & Butter Pickles {Pedantic Foodie}

But back to the pickles!  The pickling process begins with salt.  A lot of salt. 

The cucumbers, onions, and peppers are sprinkled generously with pickling salt and then allowed to sit in the refrigerator overnight.  The salt will draw much of the water out of the vegetables to make room for the delicious brine that we are going to soak them in. 

My Favorite Bread & Butter Pickles {Pedantic Foodie}

The pickling liquid is made with a combination of apple cider vinegar, sugar, mustard seed, celery seed, red pepper flakes, and ground cloves.

Now here is when you have to have your grandmother on standby and your fingers ready to be burnt, because that’s just part of the process. 

My Favorite Bread & Butter Pickles {Pedantic Foodie}

Place all your jars in a large pot and cover with water.  The jars need to be sterilized before we can fill them with our pretty pickles. 

The lids and rings will need to simmer in a smaller pot.  The key is to keep everything hot in order to avoid any icky bacteria from creeping into our sterilized jars. 

My Favorite Bread & Butter Pickles {Pedantic Foodie}

As soon as the pickles have finished steeping in the brine, you can fill the jars.  You’ll need a wide-mouthed funnel, a pair of jar tongs, and some paper towels for this process.  It sounds scary and complicated, but the more you do it, the easier and less intimidating it gets.  Believe me.  

My Favorite Bread & Butter Pickles {Pedantic Foodie}

I still have to mentally prepare myself for a day of canning, but it’s so worth it. 

My Favorite Bread & Butter Pickles {Pedantic Foodie}

We might have just begun our diy Christmas gifts! 

Sincerely, 

Pedantic Foodie


My Favorite Bread and Butter Pickles

makes six 1-pint jars / recipe adapted from Food in Jars

- 12 cups cucumbers in 1/8-inch slices (pickling cucumbers are best, if you can find them)

- 4 cups sliced sweet peppers (I like the mini peppers but bell peppers work great too)

- 4 cups sliced sweet onion (about 2 large onions)

- 1/2 cup pickling salt

- 4 cups apple cider vinegar 

- 3 cups granulated sugar

 - 1/4 cup mustard seed 

- 4 teaspoons celery seed

- 2 teaspoons red pepper flakes

- 1 teaspoon ground cloves 

Slice cucumbers, using a sharp mandoline and combine with sliced peppers, onions.  Sprinkle with pickling sauce and toss to coat.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for four hours, or overnight.  This will draw much of the water out of the cucumbers so that they can soak up all of the delicious pickling liquid later on! 

Rinse and drain the vegetables thoroughly, then prepare the brine. 

Place your jars in a very large pot and cover with water.  Bring to a boil and allow to boil until you have finished the pickles.  Place the lids and rings in a small saucepan of water and simmer over low heat.

Prepare the pickling liquid by combining the vinegar and sugar in a large pot.  Place over medium heat and stir until the liquid has heated through and all the sugar has dissolved.  Add spices and increase the heat to bring the mixture to a boil.  

Add the drained vegetables to the boiling brine and stir to combine.  Cook for 5-10 minutes, until all the vegetables are fully heated through and have begun to soften. 

Line your countertop with a heavy dish towel.  Remove the jars from the boiling water (jar tongs are very helpful for this), one at a time and fit with a wide-mouthed funnel.  Use tongs to fill the jars with the pickles.  Ladle in the brine until the jar has only 1/2-inch of headspace.  Gently tap the jars on the towel to remove any air pockets.  Dip a paper towel into the boiling water and carefully clean the edges of the jar before fitting with the lids and rings.  Repeat with each jar until all the jars are filled.  Then, return to the pot of boiling water and boil for ten minutes.  Remove from water and return to the dish towel to cure for at least two days before opening and enjoying.  The pickles will get better and better the longer they sit.

Enjoy, and be proud, you just made your own pickles!