The intense flavor of imperial or chocolate stout is a natural fit for these biscotti, where, despite being packed with lots of cocoa powder, pistachios, and dried cherries, its flavor still comes through. Forget about forming tedious logs for these biscotti; the dough here is more akin to that of a brownie batter and gets poured into a pan and baked up as one big slab. After it’s done, the slab gets turned out and sliced for these tile-like rectangular cookies. Don’t skip the white chocolate dip: It gives the green sprinkles something to stick to and offers much needed sweetness and richness to these lean, crumbly cookies.
1 1/2 cups imperial stout (one 12-ounce bottle)
Butter, for greasing pan
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pan
1 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder, sifted
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 cups shelled pistachios (7 ounces)
1 cup dried cherries (4 3/4 ounces)
2 cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 large eggs
1 pound white chocolate
Green sprinkles, to garnish
1. Pour the beer into a small saucepan, and bring to a boil over high heat (see *Note). Cook, stirring occasionally, until reduced to 1/2 cup, about 8 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and let the beer cool completely, about 30 minutes.
Note: Beer foams up wildly when it first starts to boil. Avoid stirring the beer until the foam subsides on its own, after about 4 minutes, or else you run the risk of the foam bubbling over the side of the pot. You can either skim off the foam from the bubbling beer or not; it doesn’t make a difference in the final taste of the beer in the cookie.
2. Heat the oven to 375°F. Grease and flour a 9-by-13-inch jelly roll pan; set aside.
3. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt until evenly combined. Add the pistachios and cherries and toss to coat in the flour. In another large bowl, whisk together the reduced beer, sugar, vanilla, and eggs until smooth. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, and use a large rubber spatula to mix the two together until just combined; the mixture will have the consistency of brownie batter.
4. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake until dry to the touch and a toothpick inserted in the center come out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Transfer the baking sheet to a wire rack and reduce the oven temperature to 325°F. Let the biscotti sheet cool for 10 minutes. Invert the cooled biscotti sheet onto a cutting board and let cool for 5 minutes more.
5. Using a serrated knife, cut the sheet lengthwise, then cut crosswise into 3/4-inch thick strips; you should get at least 32 strips.
6. Arrange the cookie strips, cut side down, to two parchment paper-lined baking sheets, spacing them evenly apart. Bake, rotating the baking sheets front to back and top to bottom halfway through cookie, until dried and crisp, 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer the baking sheets to wire racks and let the bisotti cool completely.
7. Meanwhile, place the white chocolate in a glass bowl and set the bowl over a pan of simmering water, making sure the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the water. Stir the chocolate until it just melts, then remove it from the pan and continue stirring until completely smooth. Place the sanding sugar in a second bowl.
8. Working one at a time, dip half the biscotti in the white chocolate, letting the excess drip back in the bowl, then press the chocolate-covered end in the sanding sugar to coat one side. Return the biscotti to the baking sheet and repeat with the remaining biscotti. Let the biscotti cool until the chocolate sets before serving, about 10 minutes.
Makes 32 cookies
Also, obviously, beer is bitter and cookies are sweet. To help counteract any imbalance of flavors in these cookies that can happen by adding such a highly concentrated dose of bitterness, I use finishing/decorating sugars for all these cookies. They not only make the final cookies look better, but add another layer of raw sugar sweetness that works with these pleasantly bitter cookies. Look for them at baking supply stores in your area or Amazon.com.
Photo by Liz Clayman.