Writing a book on baking and not including a recipe for chocolate biscuits would be almost sacrilegious, regardless of whether they are typically French or not. Personally, I like my chocolate biscuits crunchy on the outside with a soft, chewy centre and, of course, with pistachios. I have developed a reputation for overdoing the pistachios a bit, but I really can’t imagine a world without this amazing nut. Whether just for their colour sprinkled on a plate to create a beautiful contrast with red cherries or chocolate or for their texture or subtle sweetness, I have used pistachios for over thirty years, across every possible range of products, from breads to brioches and cakes. In this recipe, the pistachios add an additional layer of texture and a stunning contrast of colour but, of course, if you don’t love them like I do, replace them with any other type of nut, such as macadamias, walnuts or peanuts.
- Yield: 45
- 4½ oz (125 g) blanched almonds
- 4¼ oz (120 g) pistachios
- 7¾ oz (220 g) dark chocolate (60–70% cocoa solids), chopped
- 5½ oz (150 g) unsalted butter, chopped
- 8 oz (225 g) plain (all-purpose) flour
- ½ teaspoon fine salt
- 1/8 oz (5 g) baking powder
- 7¾ oz (220 g) caster (superfine) sugar
- 2¾ oz (75 g) eggs (lightly beat 2 eggs together, then measure)
- Preheat the oven to 175°C (345°F). Put the almonds on a baking tray and roast for about 10 minutes, or until golden. Remove from the oven and cool. Put the almonds and pistachios in a food processor and process until coarsely chopped, then set aside.
- Melt the chocolate and butter in a bain-marie. When melted, remove the bowl from the heat and cool to room temperature.
- Line two baking trays with baking paper or a silicone mat.
- Sift the flour, salt and baking powder into a bowl and set aside. Put the sugar and eggs in a large bowl. Using a hand-held whisk, whisk the sugar and eggs until thick and pale, then add the cooled chocolate mixture and fold in well with a wooden spoon. Make sure your eggs are at room temperature, as cold eggs may cause your chocolate to crystallise and form hard lumps. Fold in the sifted flour mixture, then add the crushed nuts and combine well.
- Shape level tablespoons of the mixture into balls and place onto the lined trays, spacing them about 5 cm (2 in) apart, then flatten the balls with the palm of your hand to about 5 cm (2 in) in diameter. Bake for about 10 minutes, or until you can see well-defined cracks all the way to the centre of the biscuit. Cool on a wire rack, then store in an airtight container for up to 7 days.