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Mocha Walnut Soft Biscotti

May 1, 2013

I have a tendency to stick newspaper recipe clippings in cookbooks as bookmarks. Do you do this too? If I’m being efficient, I even stick the recipe in between the pages of something similar. This is how I happened upon a recipe copied by me on particularly lovely note paper. And the memory came rushing back. Wow! Twenty-five years ago? I was a special education teacher then, working with hearing-impaired toddlers and their parents. We had pot lucks all the time. I mean ALL the time. Any excuse that we teachers could think of. New baby? Definitely! New boyfriend? Why not? New pair of boots? Just checking if you’re with me!

A co-worker’s husband had a favorite biscotti recipe. The source? Who knows. It was for a chocolate-walnut biscotti of the traditional hard variety.

Back to the present. I looked at the recipe. I thought about it. It looked good but I have a fondness for a softer biscotti. I did a little research. Without even heading toward the internet, and before I knew it, I had a half-dozen cookbooks open in front of me, with that little note paper in the center.

 I added some coffee – instant espresso powder -to be exact- to create a delicious chocolate coffee flavor.

Mocha – here we come!

A bit more baking powder into the flour.

flour and baking powder

I added more chocolate chunks… found the perfect thing in my pantry – mini chocolate chunks. Alternately, roughly chopped semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate would be excellent.

mini chocolate  chunks

Toasted walnuts is always nice for added crunch and flavor.

toasted chopped walnuts

 I significantly brought down the sugar, swapped the butter for safflower oil, and added more vanilla.

logs of biscotti

and Poof! A new soft biscotti cobbled together from an amalgam of sources. It’s a low-sugar, low-fat, dairy-free biscotti and it’s oh-so-good!

baked biscotti

sliced biscotti

cool biscotti


1/2 c.  (120 ml.) safflower or canola oil
1/2 c. (110 g.) sugar
2 eggs
1 t. (5 ml.) vanilla
2 c. (450 g.)  flour
1 t. (5 ml.) baking powder
1/2 t. (2.5 g.) salt
1 T. (14 g.) instant espresso powder
2 T. (30 ml.) boiling water
6 oz. (170 g.) chopped semi-sweet chocolate or bittersweet chocolate chunks
1 c.  (180 g.) chopped walnuts


Heat oven to 350°F (180°C).

Beat oil and sugar together in large bowl. Add eggs one at a time and beat well. Add vanilla.

Combine  espresso powder with boiling water in small cup and stir vigorously to cool a bit. Once cooled, add a bit of the oil, sugar, egg mixture to it and stir well. Add coffee mixture to large bowl and mix well.

Lightly toast the chopped walnuts in a dry saute pan over medium heat for 2 minutes or until fragrant. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt.

Mix flour, baking powder and salt into the sugar/egg/coffee mixture. Just before all the flour is incorporated, add walnuts and chocolate.

Line a large jellyroll pan with parchment paper. Oil your hands and shape dough into three slightly flattened logs, each about 3 1/2″ or 8 cm. wide , leaving space between each log.

Bake for 25 minutes or until lightly browned.

Cool for 5 minutes and cut each log into 12-14 diagonal slices, each about 3 1/2″  (8cm.) wide and 3/4″ (2 cm.) thick.

Reduce oven temperature to 325°F ( 170°C). Place slices in oven to bake for 10 more minutes. Remove from oven and cool on wire racks.

Makes about 3 dozen. Keeps very well in freezer.

Mocha Walnut Soft Biscotti

  1. Laurel permalink

    Dear Judith, These look delicious, and biscotti brings back memories for me also. One year I saw wonderful reviews for Maida Heater’s cookie cookbook and I did something unusual for me, I went out and bought it new. When I saw that she had a whole chapter of biscotti recipes, I had to try a few and started making batches of biscotti as gifts. My parents were always very hard to buy for because they worried about money, and home made biscotti turned out to be the most successful gift I ever gave them.

    There seem to be two schools of biscotti philosophy-with or without shortening-Maida Heater’s are, for the most part, without shortening, so that’s what I’m used to. They come out very hard. You have to slice them very thin, so they have a nice crunch without breaking your teeth-all that very thin slicing is a pain in the neck though, which is maybe why I haven’t made them in so long.

    I’m definitely going to give these a try the next time I need an elegent little cookie to serve with ice cream. Yum.

  2. Hannah, Israel permalink

    Oh, Judy, I have yellow stickies all over my cookbooks. And I never remember which recipe in which book I was planning to try first. So I keep looking at new ones.
    I loved the soft biscotti – I too prefer soft to crunchy. I hope Ill get to trying them soon.
    Congratulations for joining Pinterest and Facebook – going to check you out there.

  3. Lynn Stevens permalink

    Yum! Love the mocha twist in this recipe! I’m a big fan of “Jewish biscotti”. I’ll definitely bake these up and – they do keep very well in the freezer. I like to freeze them in small quantities to take out and serve with other desserts. Thanks again for your bountiful blogging!

  4. Judy – finally made them – they were devoured in no time!
    I substituted half a cup of flour with whole wheat flour (illusion of healthiness) and the walnuts with cocoa nibs, as they go well with the coffee flavor.

    And a friend from my kosher forum taught me a great tip – rather than dealing with sticky bisccotti dough while forming logs, bake them on baking parchment in two loaf pans – if you’re using reusebale parchment paper, keep it whole (it will flow over the tins). After the first baking in the tins you get 2 perfectly shaped loafs. Slice them and then re-bake on one of the used parchment paper sheets in a cooie baking pan.
    I took a picture but have no way of showing you here..

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