Are you Team Chocolate or Team Vanilla? Now you don’t have to choose as both flavors come together as one in this Brownie Biscotti recipe with vanilla bean glaze.
Did you drink your morning coffee yet? Good because today we’re going to talk about food science. I know. You thought you were done with science once you graduated school. Don’t freak out though – I promise this science lesson is more fun than learning the chemical formula for sucrose. Have you ever wondered why you add certain ingredients like salt or vanilla to recipes that are neither salty nor vanilla-y? I once had a friend ask why is she adding salt to sugar cookies; after all, she’s making sugar cookies and not salt cookies. That’s because salt acts more like a flavor enhancer; you don’t notice its effect until it’s not there. Have you ever tasted a sauce, realized something was missing so you added salt? That doesn’t necessarily make the sauce salty; if you don’t overdo it, you won’t notice the salt at all. Want to know the secret to making the best sausage gravy for biscuits? Add salt. It’s almost unbelievable how much difference 1/2 teaspoon salt can make.
Vanilla works the same way as salt. Most of the time, you don’t notice it’s there until you don’t use it. At my previous job, one coworker brought in his hand crank ice cream machine so we could churn fresh peanut butter ice cream at lunch. One time he accidentally forgot to add vanilla extract, and we could tell our batch just wasn’t the same; it really brought out the peanut butter flavor. The same goes when baking with vanilla. Looking at my recipe notes, it’s very rare that I bake without vanilla extract, especially when using chocolate. Chocolate and vanilla may naturally seem like opposites, but really they go hand in hand like peanut butter and jelly. Show me a chocolate recipe without vanilla, and I’ll tell you it’ll fall flat of expectations before you even measure your flour. Take these Brownie Biscotti for example. Everything about them screams chocolate – the name, the cocoa powder, the chocolate chips. However, they don’t truly sing without vanilla backing them up. To bring out the vanilla flavor even more, I drizzled them with a vanilla bean glaze. It’s like the yin and yang of the biscotti world.
Biscotti, meaning twice-cooked, are known for being so hard, they may almost break your teeth. That’s why they are often served with coffee for dunking. These brownie biscotti are not like that; they are still crunchy without feeling like you need to see a dentist afterwards. They also taste like brownies in crunchy cookie form (hence the name). I threw in chocolate chips to add even more chocolate in each bite.
The key to baking is using good vanilla extract; none of that imitation vanilla stuff. The vanilla brand I trust in my kitchen is Nielsen-Massey Vanillas, who have been in operation since 1907. I used both their vanilla extract and Madagascar Bourbon vanilla beans for my biscotti. If you don’t have any vanilla beans on hand, you can also use their vanilla bean paste. If you really wanted to go all out, you can also use their vanilla sugar. With these brownie biscotti, there is no such thing as too much vanilla. For more information on Nielsen-Massey, check out their website and say hello on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.
Vanilla Bean Glaze
More Biscotti Recipes
Banana Walnut Biscotti
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Biscotti
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Nielsen-Massey Vanillas. Thank you for supporting me and the companies I work with as sponsored posts help pay for the costs of running Chocolate Moosey, including website hosting and groceries for recipe development.