Chocolate & Black Pepper Biscotti and Ethiopian Tea

OKAY, so I am sharing this news a little late, but my blog was featured in Fork Magazine in their July issue. Its a UK based food magazine and since I currently live in India, I couldn’t  get a copy of the magazine here ( I got a copy delivered at my sis in law’s place – she lives in London). SO, I never really saw the article, just knew that Veggie Zest was featured. Today I was going through one of my favorite blogger’s posts and came across this It turns out, we were featured in the same issue along with two other very talented bloggers and I actually found an image of THE article that she had posted on her blog. I am so excited to unexpectedly stumble upon this image….sharing it with you guys!

About the recipe – If you just gave a reaction that said WHAT?!? or something similar…then let me just tell you that flavor of black pepper goes really well with chocolate – at least in this recipe! This biscotti has dense flavors of dark chocolate, molasses and black pepper. The flavor of black pepper is not in-your-face but you feel its presence after a few seconds…more like a subtle aftertaste.

I used half parts brown sugar for this biscotti and felt that it really intensified the flavor of chocolate. You can rub some vanilla beans into the brown sugar as well. The recipe calls for double chocolate (even better) and some freshly ground pepper. Some toasted chopped almonds would be a great addition to this recipe as well. In the past I have had a lemon, black pepper and almond biscotti which was very nice too. You can cut the biscotti as thin or as thick as you like, I have had and liked both versions but with this recipe – I prefer the regular 1/2 to 3/4 inch wide cookies.

These biscottis pair really well with the Ethiopian Tea. I first had it at Blue Nile (an Ethiopian restaurant in Ann Arbor, Michigan) a few years back and since it was winters, I kept asking them to refill my mug. It was so delicious!

The tea is a beautiful blend of cinnamon, cloves & cardamon….all three of them are good for warming up the body from inside. The spices are brewed in a mild tea and mixed with honey to form a subtle, sweet liquid.

For Ethiopian Tea

makes two cups

2 cardamom pods

1 stick cinnamon

4 cloves

2 tsp green tea

2 tsp honey

2 cups hot water

Pour the hot water in a kettle and add all the ingredients. Let it sit for 4 to 5 minutes, strain into cups and serve. Adjust the sweetness according to your taste.

For the Biscotti

makes around 24 cookies

1/2 cup butter, softened

1/2 cup white sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

2 tsp baking powder

2 eggs

1 1/2 cup all purpose flour

1 tbs ground black pepper

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 tsp instant coffee powder

1/4 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven at 350F. Sift together flour, cocoa and baking powder. Keep aside. Take 1 tbs of the flour mixture, add to the chocolate chips and mix till the chips are coated well in the flour. Keep aside. In a large bowl cream butter and sugar till the mixture turns pale. Add eggs (one at a time) and mix well. Add vanilla & coffee and mix some more. Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture and mix with a spatula till it comes together as a sticky dough. Mix in the chocolate chips and black pepper. Turn the dough out on a floured surface and using your hands form it into a ball. Divide the ball into two equal parts and transfer onto an oiled and dusted baking sheet. Keep them at-least 4 inch apart. Shape each dough into a 6 inch log shape, flatten the top with your hand and sprinkle some sugar on the top. Bake the logs for 20 to 25 minutes, check if its cooked completely by inserting a toothpick in the center (it should come out clean). The logs will crack slightly on its surface – its okay. Let the logs cool completely on a rack. Cut each loaf into 1/2 inch slice and bake again (on the same baking sheet) for 10 minutes turning the the baking sheet midway. Cool the biscotti completely before serving. It will stay in an airtight container for upto a week.