{Baking} CHOCOLATE ALMOND BISCOTTI … the fuss about Valrhona

“There’s nothing better than a good friend, except a good friend with CHOCOLATE!”
Linda Grayson, “The Pickwick Papers”
Sometimes life springs wonderful surprises, and I sit back reminiscing about how far I’ve come in the past couple of years, and more often than never, the connections boil down to twitter. I have met so many great folk here, all like minded, food at the centre of our universe, and vibes that make everyday HAPPY! Amazing!!
One such tweep is the fun and very talented girl Shayma who blogs at The Spice Spoon. Have you met her? She writes evocatively, a food blog with plenty of connect, inspired by her heritage. We share a sense of infectious enthusiasm, and enjoy endless banter, often in direct messages. She sweetly sent me a bag of her favourite cocoa a few days ago, Valrhona. I’ve heard plenty about it but never figured out what the fuss and hoo-haa was all about. Googling for recipes led me to one of my fave food blogs, David Lebovitz.  David recommends the use of superior cocoa in his biscotti recipe, and Valrhona was the one he used. I didn’t have to Google any more!
While I was Googling and deep in Valrhona type thoughts, Mr PAB gave me strangely quizzed looks. … so much excitement over cocoa. I had some proving to do, to me and to him as well. Just mixing the dry ingredients of the biscotti into the wet were enough to make me eat my words. Gosh, the depth, the colour and the flavour of adding superior quality cocoa were already stepping out of the bowl. The first bake and slicing later, it was impossible not to grab a few crumbs. DELICIOUS and oh-so-chocolatey! I couldn’t slice them as thin and neatly as David did his. I think it may be the variety of flour, the temperature, the  slight deviation from his recipe etc, but the chunky cookie makes for a fab mouthful. Love how rustic and delicious the sliced biscotti looks.
… Eating my words now, with some delicious crumbs from the first round of baking the biscotti with the cocoa powder in question – Valrhona! Gosh … the biscotti is awesome, and I am pretty sure it had a lot to do with the quality of cocoa. I did add some olive oil to the dough since the eggs I used were small. I could have added another egg, but a sweet lady from the Spanish major Borges was coming over to visit me. I thought she might enjoy the use of olive oil  this way, especially since I have been using Borges for a short while.

Sharon visited on behalf of Borges who recently announced it’s entry in the Indian market with the launch of its flagship product Olive Oil. It launched 3 variants – Extra Virgin, Extra Light and Pure Olive Oil. I missed the launch since I was out of town, and the lovely lady came by so see me with a bag of the different variants. Olive oil has seen an upsurge in the Indian market of late, and  there have been hectic promotions on many fronts, including this one at the European Art of Taste. {I was mildly surprised to hear exclamations at EAT when I said I use olive oil in desserts and baking.} A lot of folk here don’t associate olive oil with desserts / sweet stuff, but I’ve made Cocoa Cherry Dessert Brownies, Pistachio Olive Oil Brownies, Orange and Olive Oil Cake, Chocolate Buckwheat Lime Tart among other things. 

I have been using Borges Olive Oil for a short while now, mainly the extra virgin and extra light varieties. The Extra Light variety has been developed keeping in mind Indian cooking, and has a higher heating point to allow sautéing on high heat, deep frying etc. It has a mild flavour that doesn’t overpower the flavour of the food, but compliments the dish lending it the health benefits associated with olive oil. I am looking forward to using the extra virgin and the balsamic soon. You should see more olive oil recipes popping here now & then as I love using it!

Chocolate Almond Biscotti
Adapted minimally from David Lebovitz
30-35 cookies
Use a good-quality cocoa powder. You can use natural or Dutch-process for these, whichever one you like. Just remember that the chocolate flavor of the finished cookies is dependent on the quality of cocoa powder you use…. read more
2 cups flour
3/4 cups top-quality cocoa powder {I used Valrhona}
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 small eggs, at room temperature
1/8cup olive oil {I used Borges}
1 cup vanilla sugar, or plain granulated
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 vanilla bean, scraped {optional}
1 cup almonds, toasted and very coarsely-chopped
3/4 cups chocolate chips {I used dark}
For the glaze
1 egg white
1 sachet vanilla sugar

Preheat the oven to 180C. Bake a cookie sheet with baking parchment.
Sift the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt in a bowl.
In a large bowl, beat together eggs, olive oil, vanilla beans, vanilla extract and almond essence if using.
Fold the dry ingredients, chopped almonds and chocolate chips in the wet mix till well incorporated, and the cookie dough comes together.
Divide the dough into half, and form into logs using slightly damp hands. Brush with egg white and sprinkle with vanilla sugar. bake for 25 minutes or until the dough feels firm. Remove from oven and cool for 15 minutes.

Slice and place sides down on the cookie sheet and bake for 20 to 30 minutes, turning the baking sheet midway during baking, until the cookies feel mostly firm. Cool completely and store in an airtight box.
Davids’ notes : Once baked, cool the cookies completely then store in an airtight container for up to two weeks. If you wish, the cookies can be half-dipped in melted chocolate, then cooled until the chocolate hardens.
♥ Thank you for stopping by ♥

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Also find me on The Rabid Baker, The Times of India

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About me: I am a freelance food writer, recipe developer and photographer. Food is my passion - baking, cooking, developing recipes, making recipes healthier, using fresh seasonal produce and local products, keeping a check on my carbon footprint and being a responsible foodie! I enjoy food styling, food photography, recipe development and product reviews. I express this through my food photographs which I style and the recipes I blog. My strength lies in 'Doing Food From Scratch'; it must taste as good as it looks, and be healthy too. Baking in India, often my biggest challenge is the non-availability of baking ingredients, and this has now become a platform to get creative on. I enjoy cooking immensely as well.


  1. Pavithra says:

    OMg that looks truly tempting..i am simply drooling over the chocolate biscotti before going to sleep..

  2. Chetana Suvarna Ganatra says:

    Now tat is truely chocolatey…agree wit u, good quality ingredients can do wonders to the final product..

  3. These looks see..riously tempting and inviting!! And so so chocolaty!

  4. Pavithra Srihari says:

    I am dumb struck with the pictures.. awesome …

  5. Rosa's Yummy Yums says:

    Those biscotti look awesome! Good cacao makes all the difference…



  6. jelena says:

    Deeba, these look so good. I love Davids recipes too. Such fantastic photography!

  7. Honey @ honeyandsoy says:

    If you saw my last attempt at slicing biscotti, you will think that yours are fabulous! Well, I think they are.. and haha I totally empathise with getting excited over Valrhona!

  8. arundati says:

    i want to grab a few of those on this very rainy afternoon… i'll even settle for coffee!

  9. The Cooking Ninja says:

    Love your biscuits – very lovely chocolate colour. Cooking and baking in S'pore is starting to hurt my pocket – everything is so expensive here, well except the local products. Recently our eyes bulged at the price tag of emmental cheese & pepperoni here.

  10. Bergamot says:

    Deeba, the biscotti looks delicious. Sometime back I posted a biscotti recipe based on your earlier post on biscotti. I must say the recipe you posted is a winner.
    Thanks for sharing such a wonderful recipe.

  11. Twinsy Rachel says:

    Awesome biscotti!! The color is quite tempting for a chocolate lover like me :)Bookmarked it :) Yes, even I have used olive oil to bakes n desserts n have used home-made virgin coconut oil too.

  12. Jessica @ How Sweet says:

    Delicious! Looks absolutely incredible.

  13. Oooh, they look amazing and rich Deeba. And what fun to get a visit from a lady bearing gifts :)

  14. Barbara Bakes says:

    I'm not usually a fan of biscotti, but this one looks impossible to resist. I'm going to have to look for some Valrhona.

  15. Asha @ FSK says:

    :) good chocolate does make a difference, doesn't it! :))
    Like that you used olive oil in the recipe. So many times, I'd much rather use that than butter especially in cakes. They come out so much more moister and if you use the regular EV variety, there is little other evidence of it!

  16. bellini valli says:

    Chocolate, olive oil, what's not to love Deeba!When and if I bake I often use olive oil in my baking sice I usually only have olive and grapeseed oils in my cupboards. I love what they do to a cake's texture and flavour.

  17. Kaitlin says:

    Lovely, lovely photos! I have always wanted to figure out all the fuss about Vahlrona, but I can't bring myself to buy it.

    You're tempting me though!

    These look SOOOO tasty!

  18. Great looking biscotti. They are beautiful.

  19. Xiaolu @ 6 Bittersweets says:

    I left my job for school recently and one of the random small things I miss is stopping by the bookstore/cafe for a crunchy biscotti and large cuppa coffee. These look perfect.

  20. Avanika [YumsiliciousBakes] says:

    Oh I can totally understand the fuss about Valrhona, even though I haven't had the chance to try them ever!

  21. Kamalika says:

    Looks so heavenly….fallen aback by the snaps…those are just awesome…

  22. Perfect!! I heart biscotti

  23. Akila says:

    really a tempting biscuits…


  24. Shabs.. says:

    this was in my mind ever sinc ei saw it at david leite….nice one deeba.

  25. Sharmilee! :) says:

    Chocolates and almonds yum combo..ur clicks are wonderful

  26. RamblingTart says:

    I love that you use olive oil in your baking, Deeba! That is intriguing to me, and something I will need to experiment with. :-) Hope you have a gorgeous day! :-)

  27. Anna Johnston says:

    I adore Biscotti. My brother is also a Chef and a fabulous Biscotti (amongst other morsels) cook, so I'm off now to visit him armed with your recipe so see if he knows anything about this Valrhona as it looks absolutely wonderful. Must have.
    I've been using Olive Oil in cakes now for sometime (well., some cakes…., sometimes nothing but butter will do :) – its really good isn't it.

  28. Sanjeeta kk says:

    A real chocolaty treat Deeba!! Excellent clicks.

  29. Seattle Pastry Girl says:

    Your blog is always so fantastic. I want to be just like you when I grow up ! Seriously-this is a great recipe and you make it even more delicious ! Beautiful..

  30. meeso says:

    Chocolate almond is a favorite ice-cream flavor so I know this would be perfectly delicious! Yum :)

  31. Gloria says:

    Dear Deeba, lovely biscotti!! gloria

  32. The Urban Baker says:

    I have made these, they are delish! I love most things, David Lebovitz! I have not made biscotti in a while….hmmm, may be on the agenda tomorrow. yours look lovely!

  33. MeetaK says:

    good chocolate makes all the difference that is for sure. i love shyama too and she's a star to send you a bag – what you created is awesome!

  34. Zahra says:

    mmm this looks really good! But I, of course, dont have any fancy coco powder :p

    hopefully it'll taste good without?

  35. shayma says:

    Thanks, Deeba for the 'honourable mention' a star pastry chef like you has to try Valrhona- how could you not? The biscotti look scrummy- would love one with a cup of chai this morning. xxx
    @Meeta Love ya' back. x shayma

  36. Hanaâ says:

    I love the dark color of your biscotti. Even if you didn't know there was Vahlrona cocoa in it, you can tell it's going to be chocolaty :o) I like your use of olive oil in the biscotti.

  37. Hi Deeba, I have been following your blog for a couple of months and have the entire office drooling over your yummy pictured. I made these yesterday and they were yum. I have been making a mental note of all the recipes i have to try and i guess this one cam up first.I made them with good old cadbury's and they were pretty awesum so i can imagine wat and good quality cocoa must be doing to it.

    thanks a ton

  38. Sophia says:

    Awesome job. Great pictures too. I love biscotti, and my favorite recipe for it is Brownie Biscotti. Thanks for sharing!

  39. Rashi says:

    When you say cup size in your recipes what size are we using? Is it a 200ml cup that you are using or bigger.

  40. Asha Joseph says:

    when should we add the 1 cup sugar ..?is tat used for sprinkling or do i need to add with the egg and beat?

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